A report from the Council’s Monitoring Officer is attached. (Non Key)
Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Director of Law and Governance outlining the Ombudsman’s report following the investigation of a complaint against the London Borough of Enfield.
1. The comments of the Council’s Monitoring Officer on the specific actions that the Council was required to take in the light of the report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and the finding of maladministration.
2. That the matter dated back to 2017, since that time changes had taken place and improvements implemented to the Council’s processes and policies. The report set out the progress being made in the transformation of the Homelessness Service, including the new Housing Advisory Service, designed to improve the Council’s offer and service to residents. In addition, the launch of Enfield Let would enable the council to take a more proactive approach to the supply of adapted properties. Cabinet was now being asked to agree the Temporary Accommodation Procurement Policy to guide the Council’s procurement activity going forward.
3. That the Council had considered the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and believed that they were accurate. The Council had taken steps to ensure that the issues identified in the report had been addressed for the complainant and other service users, and that they were not repeated.
4. The assurances provided on the actions that had implemented since and prior to the Ombudsman’s investigation and the improvements made.
5. The significant challenges continuing to be faced as a result of the current housing crisis.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the options considered as detailed in paragraphs 36 and 37 of the report: The Council could have chosen to contest the findings of the Ombudsman, however the Council had accepted the Ombudsman’s view that there had been fault causing injustice to Mrs B. The Council could contest the recommendations of the Ombudsman, but as it had acknowledged the failings in this case and taken steps to ensure that no other customer was similarly affected, it believed it should accept the recommendations that the Ombudsman had proposed to remedy these failures.
DECISION: The Cabinet
1. Noted the findings of the Ombudsman report and the actions taken by the Council which included the rehousing of the family in permanent accommodation in the Borough.
2. Noted the further actions agreed, by the Council in relation to the complaint which had regard to the new, permanent accommodation in which the family now reside:
a. Apologised to the family for the faults identified.
b. Offered to complete a Care Act assessment should the family still require this.
c. Ensuring the equipment provided to the family following the occupational therapy assessments is fit for purpose.
d. To provide guidance for the complaints team about what constitutes a new complaint.
e. Pay Mr and Mrs B £250 for each month they had spent in unsuitable accommodation from July 2018, to the month they were suitably housed.
f. Written a procurement policy for securing accessible properties.
3. Noted the progress with the implementation of the new Housing Advisory Service outlined in the report and that a review of performance was on the work plan for the Housing Scrutiny Panel.
4. Approved the Temporary Accommodation Procurement Policy.
Reason: The detailed reasons for the above decisions were set out in full in paragraphs 7 to 21 of the report.