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OMBUDSMEN INVESTIGATION REPORTS ISSUED SINCE 29 FEBRUARY

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FINDINGS OF MALADMINISTRATION AND INJUSTICE ...
FINDINGS OF MALADMINISTRATION AND INJUSTICE

Salford City Council (94/C/399)

Social services

The council failed to respond properly to requests for information and help made by a client with AIDS. It failed to make adequate provision for his needs, delayed carrying out an investigation into his complaints and failed to report on its findings within a reasonable time. As a result the man was denied necessary support, assistance and disabled facilities to meet his chronic health problems for an unreasonable period and lost the opportunity to consider and respond to the council's findings on his complaint before he died.

Westminster City Council (92/A/4250)

Social services

The council failed to deal properly with the assessment of needs of a 66-year-old man who was a wheelchair user. A full assessment of his needs was not conducted, the agreed level of home help service was not provided, and his complaints about this were not dealt with properly.

Haringey LBC (94/A/732)

Special educational needs

The council failed to deal properly with the special educational needs of a severely disabled girl. There was delay in completing the assessment and in issuing a draft statement of needs. When the child's mother wished her daughter to be integrated into a mainstream school, the council disagreed. It delayed in reconsidering the case as requested by the appeal committee, and the mother was denied her statutory right to appeal to the secretary of state until after 16 December 1993.

Calderdale MBC (93/C/4413)

Planning

The council failed to deal properly with its own application to build a school in the green belt. Approval of the application was contrary to the green belt subject local plan. The ombudsman found that some members of the development control sub-committee which determined the application had not understood the test they should have applied. The complaint was made by an environmental group.

Liverpool City Council (95/C/531)

Education grants

The council delayed in providing grant cheques at the start of two terms for a university student. It also failed to respond adequately to her telephone calls and correspondence about her transfer between universities and about the grant cheques.

Liverpool City Council (94/C/1140)

Environmental health

The council failed to take adequate measures to address the problems caused to local residents by a block of derelict properties near the complainant's home. Problems included rubbish, vermin and vandalism. The lease granted to the company which leased the block was inadequate, adequate safeguards on the financial viability of the developer were not obtained, there was insufficiently stringent time limits within the lease, and progress was not adequately monitored. A decision in June 1994 to serve notice requiring forfeiture of the lease was not implemented properly until March 1995.

South Oxfordshire DC (94/B/1018, 1097, 1202, 1403 & 1444)

Environmental health and planning.

The council failed to control nuisance caused to five local residents by a neighbouring engineering company. It failed to control expansion of the factory's activities between 1984 and 1988 and to adopt a coordinated strategy to tackle problems of noise and hours of working. As a result the complainant suffered avoidable noise and disturbance between 1988 and 1995.

Surrey CC (93/A/3835)

Special educational needs

The council failed to make the full educational provision for a dyslexic boy, as specified in his statement of special educational needs.

FINDINGS OF NO MALADMINISTRATION

Camden LBC (94/A/1903)

Council housing repairs

A woman complained that the council failed to eradicate foul smells which intermittently affected her home for 13 years. Although it had taken a long time to deal with the unpleasant problems effectively the cause of the smell had never been obvious, and the council had little alternative but to proceed by trial and error. The ombudsman found no maladministration by the council

FINDINGS OF MALADMINISTRATION BUT NO INJUSTICE

South Herefordshire DC (94/B/4523& 4374) & Hereford and Worcester CC (95/B/4803-4)

Planning (building regulations).

A sixteenth century listed building in the main street was found to be a dangerous structure. The district council failed to assess the available options fully when it decided how to deal with the support and renovation of the building. The county council failed to advertise a new traffic order in respect of a one-way system which was instituted in the street and to renew a scaffolding licence.

The ombudsman found that these failings had not resulted in injustice to the complainant, who were traders on the main street, as the solution eventually adopted may have been forced on the councils in any case in the interest of public safety.

Crewe & Nantwich BC (94/C/3756, 3838 & 4090)

Planning

Three people complained about the way the council dealt with the preparation of a draft local plan. A former councillor, named by the ombudsman as Mr R P Birchall, failed to declare his pecuniary interest at a meeting when land he owned was considered. He spoke in favour of allocating the land he owned for housing. He also contacted fellow councillors before seeking support for the allocation of his land for housing development. This was contrary to the National Code of Local Government Conduct.

No injustice was caused to the complainants because the council has since rescinded the decision to allocate the land for housing.

Portsmouth City Council (93B/5301 & 94/B/491)

Neighbour notification/consultation

Two councillors, named by the ombudsman as cllr S W Southwell and cllr Mrs M Southwell, failed to declare their interests in the consideration of a planning application for a site near to their home, and to the homes of the complainants. This was contrary to the National Code of Local Government Conduct.

The ombudsman found no injustice had been caused to the complainants as there was nothing to show that these councillors' actions affected the consideration of the application.

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