Michael Gove Blasts Ealing Council Over Housing Repairs

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.

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact info@neighbournet.com and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.