Applications. allocations. transfer and exchanges
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Ms A complained about the Council’s management of her housing application and its decision to offer her 2 properties which were unsuitable despite being aware of her partner’s ill health. Ms A also complained about the discriminatory nature of the Council’s new Allocations Policy where local connection based on a parent, sibling or child relationship and not other family unit types. She said this had led to her being placed for a time in a lower housing band than she should have been. Ms A also referred to communication and other failings by the Council’s Housing staff which she said caused her to miss out on being shortlisted for properties.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found a number of administrative failings on the part of the Council which meant it had not acted in accordance with its statutory duties or given due consideration to pertinent aspects of the national Code of Guidance (“the Code”) governing housing allocations. The Ombudsman also found evidence of communication failings by the Council. He upheld these aspects Ms A’s complaint.
The Ombudsman did not find the Council’s Allocations Policy to be “discriminatory” and on the evidence considered he concluded that Ms A had not missed out on any allocations following the introduction of the new policy. He was also satisfied that the Council had put in place measures to prevent further offers of unsuitable properties. These parts of Ms A’s complaint were not upheld.
The Ombudsman’s recommendations centred on the following. The Council’s Chief Executive should apologise to Ms A and her partner for the failings identified, and Housing staff should be reminded of the importance of making enquiries to satisfy themselves that applicants’ housing applications are correct. Finally, the Ombudsman recommended that the Council review its implementation and procedures to ensure it was compliant with its statutory duties and took into account the Code.