Writes to CEO after finding of severe maladministration by Ombudsman
Michael Gove (left) and Ealing Council CEO Tony Clements (right)
August 23, 2023
Michael Gove has written to the CEO of Ealing Council criticising the borough for failing a resident after the housing ombudsman made a finding of severe maladministration against it.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said in a letter to Tony Clements that he is to take a ‘personal interest’ in whether the council implements changes recommended by the watchdog.
The letter was prompted by a report by the Ombudsman which showed that the council took nine months to respond to a Stage 2 complaint from a resident with vulnerabilities about delayed repairs.
The council did carry out some repairs to repair a leak two months after the initial complaint, but the problem remained unresolved despite the resident consistently informing the council.
The Minister says in his letter, “The resident escalated her complaint but did not receive a response until nine months later. You only sent a formal response once the Ombudsman had issued a Complaint Handling Failure Order. This was described as ‘inadequate’ and did not cover the issues raised by the resident, who had taken much time and effort to elicit a response. The Ombudsman had to intervene on numerous occasions.
“You have failed your resident. Everyone, particularly those who are vulnerable, should be able to expect to have their complaint taken seriously, and have repairs carried out in reasonable time. I expect you to implement changes as soon as possible and I will continue to take a personal interest in whether these changes make a tangible difference to your residents.”
The letter was copied to Rupa Huq MP, Virendra Sharma MP, James Murray MP as well as Cllr Peter Mason, the leader of Ealing Council and Gary Malcolm the Leader of the Opposition Liberal Democrats.
Cllr Malcolm said, "Liberal Democrats say that Labour led Ealing Council is repeatedly failing the most vulnerable individuals who have a reasonable expectation that the council will carry out repairs on time and with basic competence. This has now been supported by a letter from the Secretary of State regarding these issues!
“Yet again this complacent council is chastised about their repeated failure of repairs resolution and mishandling of complaints, as well as inappropriate temporary housing placements. This most recent case is sadly not an isolated incident. This council is failing woefully to achieve competency for its vulnerable residents rather they seem to revel in maladministration.”
We have asked Ealing Council for a comment.
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