Complaining to the ombudsman

You may be able to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman about how the council dealt with your homelessness application.

Complaints the ombudsman can look at

You might be able to make a complaint to the ombudsman about how the council dealt with your homelessness application.

For example, you can complain if:

  • there were long delays in the council coming to a decision
  • the council discriminated against you when it made its decision
  • you were given bad or misleading advice by the council

In most cases, you have to ask the council to review its decision before you can ask the ombudsman to investigate.

You have to complain to the ombudsman within 12 months of the council writing to you with its review decision.

You can't usually complain to the ombudsman if you have already appealed against the council's decision in the county court.

Make a complaint to the ombudsman

You complain to the ombudsman after you've asked the council to review its decision.

Complaints to the ombudsman have to be made in writing or via an online form.

Use the ombudsman's Guide to making a complaint to find out what to do. 

Contact the Local Government Ombudsman if you need help with the process.

Include copies of any evidence that supports your complaint, for example letters from the council.

Get advice if you need help with the forms. Use Shelter's directory to find a Shelter advice centre in your area.

What the ombudsman can do

The ombudsman can investigate complaints about how a council dealt with your homelessness application. It can look at the procedures the council used, to check if it acted fairly.

After the ombudsman has completed its investigations it can recommend that the council pays compensation or takes action to put things right.

Councils aren't legally obliged to do what the ombudsman says, but they usually do.

In some cases, they might offer to put the situation right before the ombudsman has finished investigating your complaint.

Get advice and help with your complaint

Get advice about complaining to the ombudsman.

A housing adviser can:

  • check whether you have a good case for making a complaint
  • help with filling in complaint forms and preparing evidence
  • help you find somewhere to live if the council has refused to do so

Use Shelter's directory to find a Shelter adviser in your area.

 

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