Council's 'serious injustice' against family

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, January 30, 2014

 

A FAMILY left living in cramped accommodation suffered a serious injustice because of Isle of Wight Council failings, a watchdog has found.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has published its findings today (Wednesday) into the case of a family of five housed inappropriately for two years.

The LGO has recommended the Isle of Wight Council carry out an immediate review of the family’s housing and offer them £1,000 in acknowledgement of their distress.

In 2010, with the help of a housing association, the Isle of Wight Council moved the family — made up of a father and four children aged seven to 13 years old — in to a property in which the youngest child had to sleep in a room that was too small to be legally considered a bedroom.

Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said: "The family was moved from a suitable temporary home into accommodation which meant that they were overcrowded, and away from their usual social ties. The children had to move school and their elderly neighbours made complaints about the children playing outside.

"I find that the move has caused the family serious injustice. Officers should have checked the suitability of the home before offering it.

"It is no defence for the council to say it relied on what it was told by the housing association."

The LGO found the council failed to tell the family of its right to request a review of the suitability of the accommodation.

When a law centre took up the case the council investigated, it accepted the property was too small and agreed to reinstate the family’s housing application and treat the property as temporary, the LGO said.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: "We have received the report and apologise to the family concerned.

"We are now considering our response to the LGO in light of the findings."

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