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OMBUDSMEN FINDINGS OF MALADMINISTRATION AND INJUSTICE

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Haringey LBC (neighbour notification) ...
Haringey LBC (neighbour notification)

The council failed to deal properly with an application in December 1991 for planning permission to use council owned premises close to the complainant's home as a youth centre.

Neighbours were not properly consulted; the youth association was allowed to occupy the property, use it for six years, and carry out major works to the building without any formal agreement on the terms;

the environmental health department was not consulted on one application; and

there was a failure to attach a condition about opening hours to the planning permission.

St Mary's Church of England Primary School Appeal Committee

The voluntary aided school appeal committee allowed all the appeals against the refusal of school places in June 1994.

As a result 44 pupils were admitted to the reception class when a limit of 30 had been set. The committee members had not been trained;

written information about the code of practice for appeals and the two stage process was not provided sufficiently in advance of the hearings;

discussions about the appeals took place before the formal hearing began; a request for an inspection was misinterpreted by the clerk as a request to inspect the entire school when in fact the committee only intending to view the reception class area;

the decision was contrary to the evidence available and for which the committee should have probed; and

irrelevant issues were taken into account.

Barking & Dagenham LBC (housing management)

A woman, fearing domestic violence, left her family in October 1992 and asked the council to transfer the tenancy of her council house to her husband.

The council did not do so, and because of the accumulating rent arrears planned to repossess the property through eviction. To avoid this, the complainant surrendered the tenancy the day before the planned eviction.

The council had delayed in paying her husband's housing benefit, and as a consequence misled her about the amount of rent arrears owing.

Had she known the true amount of the arrears (ie after housing benefit due had been paid), she would have been able to pay this amount and would not need to have given up her tenancy.

Newcastle City Council (special educational needs)

The council delayed unreasonably in making suitable provision for a boy's identified special educational needs. As a result the boy did not receive full time education between September 1991 and July 1993 and received no education at all between September 1992 and January 1993.

Manchester City Council (social services)

The council failed to deal properly with a disabled woman's request to extend her ground floor flat to accommodate a carer. At one point an extension was agreed but the council later went back on its word.

This resulted in the woman experiencing acute disappointment and frustration and continuing in her erroneous belief that an extension would be provided.

Also, it led her to agree to contribute towards other adaptions to her home, when if shehad known there would be no extension, she might have wished to consider other options.

Barnet LBC (community charge)

A couple bought a house but only the wife moved in. The council billed both for personal community charge. The council was notified that the husband did not live at the address and that he was registered elsewhere, and the address of the registration officer was supplied for enquiries.

The council failed to make enquiries. Instead it assumed a period of liability and issued a summons to the complainant at his place work.

It delayed in replying to a request to withdraw the summons and this led to the complainant incurring the expense of employing solicitors.

Liverpool City Council (council housing management)

A woman and her mother who were council tenants complained of harassment from neighbours. When the council made an offer of alternative accommodation there was an unreasonable delay in making it fit for occupation.

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