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The local government ombudsman has accused South Tyneside MBC of breaching an agreement to use police information o...
The local government ombudsman has accused South Tyneside MBC of breaching an agreement to use police information on convictions in proceedings only against existing council tenants.

The Northern Echo (3 July, p4) reported that the council was criticised for undertaking checks on the criminal records of the prospective tenants without telling them it proposed to do so.

In two reports published last week, ombudsman Pat Cook finds the authority guilty of maladministration causing injustice. She recommends the authority urgently reviews its practices in relation to making police checks on applicants for council housing and in future abides by the terms of the Safer Estates agreement.

In one case, where she says there was a catalogue of maladministration, including the presentation of inaccurate and misleading information in reports to councillors, she also says the council should pay£500 to compensate the victim for the stress caused and rehouse him as qucikly as possible.

A spokesman for the authority said: 'The council is always concerned to protect its tenants and communities by not allocating new tenancies to inappropriate applicants, although in these two cases it accepts there were administrative deficiencies despite officers doing their best to implement council policies.

'The housing sub-committee has already received a report on most of the matters referred to by the ombudsman and resolved to examine council procedures to ensure that similar applications are dealt with differently in the future.'

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