Mother of disabled child gets £1k council compensation over bad housing decision

Posted On 25 Jan 2021 at 4:32 pm

The city council has been ordered to pay the mother of a disabled child £1,000 for delays in reviewing her housing needs – and to redo the assessment.

The woman, named as Miss Y in a report by the local government ombudsman, complained after it took Brighton and Hove City Council six months to review her transfer application.

When she applied for a transfer in 2018, she was living in a one bedroom flat with her partner and two children.

The council first asked her for more information in April 2018 – and Miss Y didn’t initially respond until June 2019, saying her disabled child needed space for a gym ball and their own bedroom.

After that, she regularly chased the council, and was repeatedly told there was a backlog – or even that she hadn’t provided information she had already sent through.

During this time, she wasn’t able to bid on a three-bedroom home the family was hoping to move to.

Eventually, in December, she was told they were only entitled to a two-bedroom home.

By then, she had missed out on the chance to move into a two-bedroom home which she had bid and could have moved into in October.

She asked for the decision to be reviewed, and submitted extra medical reports, but the assessment again came back that the family were only entitled to two bedrooms.

After she complained, the council discovered that the medical officer hadn’t received all the reports she had submitted – but again the assessment was upheld, because the council said there was was nothing in the reports which explained why the disability meant a separate bedroom was required.

However, the ombudsman said the medical officer failed to consider the evidence Miss Y submitted properly.

The report says: “My view is the Council’s fault in processing Miss Y’s application caused her to remain in unsuitable accommodation for three months from October until December 2019.

It adds: “The reviewer did not refer to all the relevant information Miss Y had provided for the review.

“He did not refer to the GP’s letter of 27 December 2019. He did not address the specific points raised in the nurse’s letter of 2 January 2020 and the school’s letter of 7 January 2020 as to why Miss Y’s child needed their own room.

“My view is the decision letter does not demonstrate the reviewer properly considered all the relevant evidence and this is fault by the council.”

The ombudsman has told the council to carry out a fresh review of the assessment, allowing Miss Y the chance to submit extra evidence.

It’s also told the council to pay £100 to reflect the time and trouble chasing the original application, and £300 for each of the three months she was in unsuitable accommodation because of the delay.

Finally, the Homemove team will review its process for checking the content of and issuing review decisions.

A council spokesperson said: “We have noted the decision of the Local Government Ombudsman and have made changes to our processes accordingly.

“We have apologised to the complainant for the delays and she has been compensated as recommended.

“It is unfortunate when such incidents arise and we have now addressed this.”

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    Another reason why we need a lead officer in Brighton & Hove for those with disabilities. The council spent last year focused on inclusivity but seem to be quite happy to exclude those with disabilities, the Home to School Transport fiasco for children at special schools, the lack of ANY consultation with disability groups over road closures and ‘temporary’ transport schemes – someone needs to take charge of this and remind the administration that failing the most vulnerable in our society is unacceptable.

    • bored Reply

      Nathan, you are very correct. How many disabled people do this council employ? They need to get someone into an advisory position who has actually had to deal with these kinds of issues. Not just some dreamer council person with their usual arrogance of acting as if they understand while living in their big house in the suburbs. This isn’t about politics and parties – it is about real people and their needs.

  2. J Reply

    The trouble is the Greens and Labour are disablist. They pay lip service to people with disabilities but just one look at their actions shows the truth. Astonishingly it’s the Tories that are picking up the baton and standing up for the children let down by the home to school transport fiasco, the having to ask for permission to reach the disabled toilets in Madeira Drive when Blue Badge cars were being turned away, and the other temporary transport changes that, to be honest, are fine if you’re young and fit, but which add yet more obstacles to getting around if you’re not. Labour and Greens have been creating artificial traffic jams and then say there’s too much traffic. The blatant dishonesty about it, or maybe it’s ignorance, merely adds insult to lifelong injury. And as a carer for a disabled child, I end up paying the price too.

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