North West Wales

Anglesey council 'sorry' for 'serious' housing errors

Anglesey council has apologised after the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales found "serious shortcomings" in the way it dealt with a woman's homelessness and housing applications.

The council will also offer £1,500 to the resident, who is known as Mrs A.

It said the maladministration occurred between 2004 and 2010 and was a result of factors including human error and "weak procedure notes".

It added that its Housing Service was taking steps to improve.

The ombudsman concluded that "systematic maladministration" had occurred.

A report said the council accepted in 2004 that it had a "homelessness duty" towards Mrs A, but "there was no evidence that she was formally offered temporary accommodation before June 2009".

It added: "The council subsequently mis-filed her homelessness application and it was not progressed for a period of four and a half years.

"In addition, the council repeatedly failed to consider all of the available information relevant to Ms A's housing applications in accordance with its allocations policy."

In a statement, the council said factors including "human error, lack of recording, high staff turnover, weak procedure notes and absence of a suitable IT system" were to blame.

A new housing IT system has been purchased to provide a more efficient service to customers, the council said.

The Housing Service has agreed to act on the ombudsman's recommendations, by producing up to date written procedures on housing allocations and homelessness and further training for officers.

Commissioner with responsibility for housing and social services, Margaret Foster, said: "The county council wishes to offer its sincere apologies to Ms A for the shortcomings identified.

"Since these unfortunate events, the council has agreed to implement a new system to track housing applications and is working hard to ensure the service deals with its customers in a more responsive way."

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