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.”
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