London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Annual statistics ?Find out more about annual statistics

Annual letters

We write to councils each year to give a summary of the complaint statistics we record about them,
and their performance in responding to our investigations.

Annual letter archive

Public reports ?Find out more about public reports

In the last five years, the Ombudsman has published the following public interest reports against London Borough of Tower Hamlets

A young boy with autism, and his family, were denied a parking bay outside their house by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, despite him receiving the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance for his mobility, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

A pregnant woman, who approached Tower Hamlets council for help when she was made homeless, was left in an unfurnished flat, miles from her support network, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

A family and friends foster carer who took on three vulnerable children after their mother was unable to care for them, failed to get council support for the arrangement for six years.

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Public reports for London Borough of Tower Hamlets

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Service improvements ?Find out more about service improvements

Since April 2018, the Council has agreed to make the following improvements to its services following an investigation by the Ombudsman:

Case reference: 20 002 305

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Safeguarding

  • The Council has agreed to confirm the steps taken to ensure relevant parties have been reminded of the need to inform the Care Quality Commission and the Data Barring Service in appropriate circumstances; to confirm all relevant staff have been reminded of the requirements of the complaints procedure; and to identify and progress any training needs in this regard.

Case reference: 20 002 262

Category: Environment and regulation

Sub Category: Refuse and recycling

  • The Council will review how it carries out agreed actions from investigations by the Ombudsman to ensure these are completed on time.

Case reference: 19 020 804

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Homelessness

  • The Council has agreed to remind officers that, even in cases where interim accommodation has been provided, they should aim to meet the recommended timescales for reaching decisions on applications; prepare a personal housing plan; and refer to the relief / prevention duties, as appropriate, so that applicants can understand the Council’s duties towards them.

Case reference: 19 016 128

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Homelessness

  • The Council will make changes (or advise the Ombudsman of any changes it has already made) to its procedures to ensure delays such as those found here do not occur in future.
  • The Council will offer its staff refresher training so staff can properly consider if interim accommodation is suitable for the individual applicant’s needs and feel confident and supported to make decisions on priority need where this disagrees with the advice of its independent medical adviser;

Case reference: 19 014 085

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Homelessness

  • The Council has agreed to remind its staff of the Council’s duty to provide information and advice on the rights of persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, and the duties of the authority.

Case reference: 19 013 947

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Allocations

  • The Council will review its assessment processes to ensure: it requests all the information it needs to consider an application at the earliest possible stage to avoid delays in the assessment process; it makes its own decision on medical priority, based on all available evidence, including its medical adviser's views; and it properly explains its reasons for deciding not to award medical priority.

Case reference: 19 012 853

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council should: a) Complete a review of what happened in this case. The Council should address any learning points and provide a copy of the review to the Ombudsman and to Mrs X and Miss T.
  • b) Provide training to the occupational health, CWD and Adult Social Care teams regarding transition between teams and effective coordinated planning for those with complex needs. The Council should provide evidence it has completed all of the above to the Ombudsman.

Case reference: 19 012 831

Category: Environment and regulation

Sub Category: Refuse and recycling

  • The Council will monitor all the waste collections at the complainant's address and keep an accurate record detailing when collections were made, any problems found and the action taken to resolve them including dated timed photographic evidence of any issues that may arise.
  • The Council will review its communications to ensure it is providing consistent information about the collection schedule for the complainant's road.
  • The Council will review whether residents should be able to use the app to report missed waste collections and ensure it provides consistent advice about this in future. If the app can continue to be used, ensure these reports are properly recorded as missed collections and actioned accordingly.

Case reference: 19 010 312

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Allocations

  • The Council agreed to review the way housing allocations and medical priority decision letters are produced to ensure decisions are clearly explained to applicants.

Case reference: 17 012 634

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • Within three months of our final decision, the Council should send evidence to the Ombudsmen of steps already taken, or a plan of action for changes, to prevent a recurrence of the faults we have identified.

Case reference: 19 008 359

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Charging

  • The Council will review its procedures for considering requests for DREs to ensure officers give adequate consideration to requests, including promptly seeking any additional information required, to avoid the delays experienced by Ms X. The Council should also ensure it keeps proper records of its decisions on DREs and reasons for those decisions. The Council should inform the Ombudsman of the action taken to improve its practice in this area.

Case reference: 19 003 989

Category: Transport and highways

Sub Category: Parking and other penalties

  • The Council will issue a reminder to staff dealing with complaints to ensure complaints about the conduct of bailiff’s acting on the Council’s behalf are responded to under the Council’s complaint procedure.
  • The Council will provide details of the date and content of the refresher training provided to the bailiff.
  • The Council will review the training provided to bailiffs acting on its behalf about vulnerable debtors and reach a view if this is enough to ensure good practice and provide details of the review and outcome to the Ombudsman.

Case reference: 19 001 625

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Homelessness

  • The Council has agreed to remind: • Housing officers of the importance of passing on statutory review requests to the reviewing officer(s) as soon as possible. • All relevant officers about how the suitability of interim accommodation can still be informally reviewed by a housing officer, even though no statutory review right exists.
  • The Council has agreed to revise the wording in its Section 184 letters, to provide a direct email or postal address for where to send suitability review requests, as opposed to a job title alone.

Case reference: 18 019 607

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Council house sales and leaseholders

  • The Council will share the decision with its staff and remind them that letters should be dated accurately and it should follow its complaints process.

Case reference: 18 015 880

Category: Other Categories

Sub Category: Land

  • The council will formulate new procedures to ensure similar fault does not occur in future; and inform the Ombudsman of the result.

Case reference: 18 009 601

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Allocations

  • Within 4 weeks of the final decision, the Council will take steps to ensure support set out in personal housing plans is provided and evidenced in the future

Case reference: 18 008 509

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Allocations

  • The Council has agreed to arrange a briefing session within one month for officers in the Lettings team and officers who handle complaints to ensure they properly understand the criteria in its housing allocations scheme for referrals to the Housing Management Panel in cases where the applicant is in fear of violence.

Case reference: 17 017 439

Category: Housing

Sub Category: Homelessness

  • The Council will check the homelessness services generic email inbox for June 2017 and if possible identify anyone else whose application may have been overlooked and if so deal with it urgently.
  • The Council will provide confirmation it has reviewed procedures to ensure the homelessness generic email box is monitored.

Case reference: 17 000 244

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Looked after children

  • I recommend the Council considers a review of its processes to ensure: • s17 assessments are carried out in a timely way; and • Initial Child Protection Conferences are held within the required timescales. The Council should provide evidence to the Ombudsmen that it has considered this recommendation and of any action it decides to take, within two months of my final decision.
  • I recommend the Council reviews its EHC Plan processes to ensure that all Plans are completed within the statutory timescales set out in the 2014 SEN Code of Practice. The Council should provide evidence of its actions to the Ombudsmen within two months of my final decision.

Case reference: 16 018 125

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Safeguarding

  • The Council has agreed to remind staff within the complaints department of the importance of acknowledging complaints within a timely manner and providing periodic updates throughout.
  • The Council will review the procedure through which Court of Protection deputyship orders are processed, particularly where the request for a deputyship has come from the Court of Protection. It has agreed to provide us with the outcome of the review and a copy of any action plan that may be developed as a result.
  • The Council has agreed to share the lessons learned with all relevant staff within the Council and remind them of the role of the Clients Financial Affairs team (CFA) in managing deputyships, and to contact the CFA if there is any uncertainty around a deputyship.

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Service improvements agreed by London Borough of Tower Hamlets

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Last updated: 4 April 2015

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