William Eichler 09 August 2023

Sandwell Council fails resident with depression

Sandwell Council fails resident with depression image
Image: Guitarfoto / Shutterstock.com.

Sandwell Council failed to consider a resident’s vulnerabilities during an anti-social behaviour case despite multiple reminders, the Housing Ombudsman has found.

The council has been ordered to review its Reasonable Adjustments policy after it failed to act appropriately in an anti-social behaviour case involving a resident with morbid depression and OCD.

After the resident reported the anti-social behaviour, they were forced to remind the council of their complex mental health issues six times over the following five months.

Despite the reminders, the local authority landlord took little action to respond to the resident’s needs, according to the Housing Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found that it was only once the resident contacted the NHS 24/7 Urgent Mental Health Helpline that referrals were made to the appropriate mental health and safeguarding services.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: ‘It is clear that the landlord could have offered the resident additional support and that it missed multiple opportunities to do so, including referring him to relevant services at a much earlier point.

‘This represents a significant failure by the landlord which resulted in unnecessary upset to the resident and an understandable feeling that the landlord was not taking his concerns about his mental health and wellbeing seriously.

‘Having a Reasonable Adjustments policy in place and making it both accessible to residents whilst also having staff adequately trained on its use, is vital as social housing grapples with the complexity of the cases they’re dealing with.’

A Sandwell Council spokesperson said: ‘We fully accept the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and have apologised for those failures to our tenant. We have also learnt some important lessons from the Ombudsman’s findings that will ensure future ASB investigations assess and address the individual needs of the complainant and subject of complaints.’

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