William Eichler 26 May 2022

Council criticised after homophobic abuse complaint

Council criticised after homophobic abuse complaint  image
Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock.com.

Coventry City Council has been criticised for not doing enough to help a man who was subject to homophobic abuse.

The man, who lives in a housing association property in the city, reported his neighbours to the police and his housing association for their bigoted behaviour on a number of occasions.

The man’s MP and local councillor asked for the local community safety partnership to hold a Community Trigger Panel meeting, which involved the police, housing association and Coventry City Council.

According to an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into how the council handled the case, the panel ‘merely reviewed the police and housing association’s response’ to the man’s concerns and took no further action.

The man subsequently appealed but the council only encouraged him to have another meeting with the local authority, police and housing association.

The individual concerned told the Ombudsman that the abuse has since escalated and he has had to report a further assault to the police.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: ‘In this case it appears the council has misunderstood the purpose of the trigger and the proactive role it should play in finding solutions to antisocial behaviour.

‘Government guidance says that when completing a Community Trigger Review, parties should take a problem-solving approach to finding a solution. But the council did not consider if there was anything it could do under its own powers, whether individually or working with other agencies, to improve the man’s situation.’

A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: ‘We accept the decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, and we will be taking the steps suggested in the report.

‘As well as apologising formally to the resident, we have followed the recommendations in the Ombudsman’s report and reviewing our procedures with our partners, and offering training to officers, to ensure we provide the best possible service to residents and that an incident like this is not repeated.’

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