After blogging yesterday about the Local Government Ombudsman warning councils about their conduct we encountered some challenges! The Ombudsman’s report stated:
“We may criticise councils that:
use homelessness prevention activity to block or delay the consideration of a homelessness application
insist that applicants for help with homelessness must complete a specific form, or be interviewed by a specialist homelessness assessment officer
place the burden of proof on the applicant – authorities should make their own enquiries when considering applications, or
defer taking an application because the application appears to be a non-priority – any applicant claiming immediate homelessness should be assessed on the day.”
Yesterday one of our workers was supporting a rough sleeper with many complex needs including some real health problems and pretty much got a full house on all the above, leaving him to sleep rough again last night. The problem is that this individual (like so many others) is a vulnerable adult and very unlikely to get through a local authority’s complaint procedure – getting everything set-up right to approach for a homelessness assessment was hard enough! Therefore cases like this will never get as far as an ombudsman making poor practice in Local Authorities very hard to root out!