National & International

Buckinghamshire Council told to pay mother thousands over housing blunder

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The woman said the mistake “affected both her family’s and her own mental health”

A woman will be paid £2,400 after council officers made an error on her housing application. The woman, referred to as Miss X in a decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, suffered “avoidable distress” having been placed on a 36-week-long waitlist by mistake.

Buckinghamshire Council was found to have incorrectly removed her son who has autism and learning difficulties from her housing application. The council, which “failed to advise her” of the removal of her son from the application, also agreed to apologise to her after a finding of “fault causing an injustice” by the Ombudsman.

he Ombudsman said: “The council has admitted fault. Miss X was disadvantaged when she lost the opportunity to bid on properties she would have been eligible for which were then allocated to others with later priority dates or in lower priority bands.”

Miss X complained that she “suffered avoidable delay in being rehoused” due to being put on the incorrect housing register waiting list. The Ombudsman’s decision said: “Miss X says this has caused her avoidable distress and frustration.

“She says this has affected both the family’s and her own mental health and that she has been treated unfairly.” In July 2022, Miss X’s eldest son, Y, celebrated his 18th birthday and was automatically removed from her application by the council’s housing management system before being re-added in March 2023.

Miss X moved into a four-bedroom house in August 2023. Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regulatory Services Mark Winn said: “We fully accept the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and offer an unreserved apology to Miss X and her family.

“We have robust processes in place when assessing all applications for housing but we made a mistake in this case in incorrectly removing Y from the application when they turned 18. We recognised we were at fault at the time and apologised to Miss X and the family, who are now housed in appropriate accommodation that meets their needs.

“We have provided detail to the Ombudsman on how we’ve reviewed and streamlined our processes in light of this case, including how cases like this will now be reviewed by two senior officers. We note the Ombudsman’s comments around being satisfied that the council has acted to try and ensure similar errors do not happen again.”

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