Councils urged to review homelessness procedures

By William Eichler | 17 August 2017

Councils have been urged to ensure their homelessness procedures are ‘fit for purpose’ after faults were found with the treatment of a disabled woman.

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Kettering BC had not offered or even made a woman aware of the legal right to have a review of her temporary accommodation.

Ombudsman Michael King said: ‘People in temporary accommodation have a legal right to a review of that accommodation, and, ultimately, to have that review considered by the courts, but they can only follow this process if councils tell them about their rights in a timely manner, as statutory guidance dictates.’

A council spokesman said: ‘We accept the findings of the Ombudsman’s report and, in doing so, has formally apologised to the customer and paid the suggested compensation sum of £500.

‘The council has also reviewed its procedures and standard documentation for the management of applications from homeless households to ensure that the procedural errors that have been identified in the report are not repeated.’

Mr King added: ‘While I am pleased Kettering BC has already amended its letters to residents I would urge other authorities to look at their correspondence to ensure people’s review rights are made clear.

‘Complaints are a learning opportunity for councils and this is one all councils in England can learn from to improve their services.’

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Legal Homelessness Ombudsman