Bristol City Council 'denied legal right' to homeless

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Bristol City Council has failed to provide homeless people with the chance to appeal against decisions not to house them, an ombudsman has reported.

The authority has a legal duty to give written notice of decisions made to offer temporary accommodation or not.

A complaint from a woman, who waited five months for accommodation without hearing anything, led to the problem being uncovered.

The council has accepted the findings and paid the woman £200 compensation.

She first contacted the council in August last year but was not offered temporary accommodation as the council did not consider her eligible.

However the council, which said it gave her "practical help" about renting privately, failed to give formal written notice which it has a legal duty to perform.

'Apologised'

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) concluded that, as a result, the woman had been denied the chance to appeal against the decision.

It also said the situation was unlikely to be an isolated case and revealed a wider problem in Bristol.

Councillor Mark Bradshaw, from Bristol City Council, said: "We accept the findings of the report and have apologised to the applicant and paid compensation for the council's failure to deal with her application to the standard that we would expect.

"In this case we concentrated our efforts on providing her with practical help to secure a private tenancy, however we accept that the council should have issued her with a formal written decision in 2012.

"We are reviewing our procedures in the light of the ruling by the ombudsman and will seek legal advice on revised practices."

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