Liverpool man left street homeless by city council
A Liverpool man, who needed surgery, was left street homeless for six months during the COVID pandemic, despite asking the city council for help.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has reported how the man first became homeless in June 2020 and said he contacted Liverpool City Council for help in the same month. He said he made two further calls to the council for help, but none was recorded till September.
Despite the police raising their concerns with the council about the deterioration of the man’s mental health, the man remained street homeless till December 2020, when his sister took him to a different council area. This other council provided him with accommodation over the next four months, away from the Liverpool area where his children lived.
The council recorded it had lost contact with the man in March 2021 and closed his case, even though it had not responded to his requests for help, or to a complaint he made in January 2021 about the issues.
In late April the man had the surgery he needed for his medical condition, and the next month Liverpool council offered him a place in a hostel. The man refused the offer because he felt too vulnerable to stay in a shared hostel while he recovered from surgery.
Shortly afterwards he returned to Liverpool and began renting privately.
The man complained to the council about the way it dealt with his case, but the council did not properly consider this in line with its own complaints procedure: instead of taking 10 days to look at his complaint at stage one of its procedure, it took four months. When the man escalated the complaint to stage two the council took 12 months to deal with the complaint instead of just 28 days.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“Liverpool City Council did not do enough to help this man despite being contacted numerous times by his friends, the police and the man himself.
“Had it intervened when the man first approached the council for help, it’s likely he would have been offered interim accommodation, and he would not have had to live on the streets.
“Additionally, the council closed his case without ever checking up on his situation, contrary to both the council’s policy and government guidance.
“I’m pleased the council has accepted my recommendations to improve its services for people at risk of homelessness in the city.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman remedies injustice and shares learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council has agreed to apologise to the man and pay him a total of £2,600 for the avoidable distress and risk of harm he was put to and also the time and trouble he spent pursuing the complaint.
The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the council will review its procedures for homelessness referrals and issue reminders to relevant staff to ensure it meets its statutory duties for homelessness applicants, within the required timescales. It will also remind relevant staff about government guidance and the council’s own policy about the attempts it should make to contact a homelessness applicant before it closes their case.
Related Content : Liverpool City Council (22 003 417)
Latest News from
Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill laid in Parliament05/12/2016 12:37:21
A new complaints body will provide the public with greater confidence that their voices have been heard.
Councils reminded about good complaint handling following two Ombudsman investigations08/06/2023 16:30:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is reminding local authorities about the importance of good complaint handling after it found significant issues in two councils’ procedures.
Doctors failed to spot cancer ‘red flags’ for a year05/06/2023 16:15:00
Doctors failed to diagnose a woman’s colon cancer for a year despite her having ‘red flag’ symptoms.
Ombudsman issues guide on temporary accommodation for homeless people01/06/2023 13:15:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has issued a guide for those who work with some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
Council asked to repay father’s nursery fees following ombudsman investigation18/05/2023 14:10:00
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council has been asked to partially reimburse the fees a father paid while his daughter was receiving free nursery care, after the Ombudsman found it did not ensure a company was providing transparent invoices.
Councils reminded of duties to investigate renters’ housing concerns11/05/2023 16:05:00
A recent Ombudsman investigation has highlighted local councils’ duties to investigate disrepair concerns in private rented accommodation.
Billing confusion prompts Barnet bailiff action04/05/2023 13:15:00
A catalogue of clerical confusion and billing errors led to a Barnet resident being unfairly threatened with court action for not paying her council tax, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
Ombudsman condemns Leicester care company for threatening and abusive complaint response27/04/2023 11:05:00
A Leicester care provider who threatened a vulnerable elderly woman with bailiffs because she complained about the care her husband received, has been heavily criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Leicestershire County Council to reimburse mother’s school transport costs following Ombudsman investigation20/04/2023 11:15:00
Leicestershire County Council has agreed to refund a mother’s school transport costs after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found flaws in the way it handled her application.