Council reviews temporary accommodation process after local government ombudsman upholds complaint

Josh Salisbury (19 December, 2018) Housing

However it did not find any fault in how the council assessed her housing priority or needs

17989Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing

The Local Government Ombudsman has upheld a complaint against Southwark Council after finding it was at fault for not formally offering a resident temporary accommodation.

The resident, named as Ms B, had lodged a complaint with the watchdog alleging it had not allocated her proper temporary accommodation, and had not assessed her housing priority and needs properly.

The Southwark resident had asked for temporary accommodation in August 2017 after her mother asked her to leave her house along with her adult son.

She rejected two offers over the phone as not being suitable for her medical needs, but the ombudsman ruled the council should have made a formal written offer.

The council had made her two offers of temporary accommodation over the telephone but were unable to provide evidence of the offers to the ombudsman, it said.

However, the ombudsman did not find any fault in how the council had assessed her housing needs or her housing priority.

In a report published last week, an inspector for the local government watchdog said: “There was fault by the Council in not making a formal offer of temporary accommodation to Ms B.

“The Council will, within a month of this decision, apologise and make an offer of temporary accommodation to Ms B.”

The ombudsman rejected the complainant’s claims that she was living in statutorily overcrowded conditions, finding the council was right to assess the living room of her mother’s house as counting towards the number of people the property can accommodate.

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing and modernisation, said: “The council made the right decision in its assessment of the needs of this person, but we were unable to provide the evidence of the offers we made to the ombudsman.

“We always strive for excellent customer service; this process has been reviewed and we will ensure the issues raised are addressed in future.”

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