Windsor and Maidenhead council 'left disabled man to sofa-surf'

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The man, who has not been named, spent more than three months sleeping on friends' sofas or in garages

A disabled man was left to sleep rough and "sofa-surf" for more than three months because a council did not act quickly enough to find him accommodation, an ombudsman has said.

The man asked Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for help just before Christmas 2015, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said.

He was then placed in "unsuitable" accommodation for 12 months.

The council, which has been ordered to pay him £4,175, has apologised.

It said all recommendations had since been implemented.

Third-floor flat

The ombudsman's investigation found the council first offered the man, who has mental and physical health conditions, accommodation in Guildford, Kent and Southall but he was given no way of getting there.

Other places deemed unsuitable included a third-floor flat that "caused him pain" to access, it said.

When the man complained, the council "mishandled" his complaint and did not keep proper records of its dealings with him, it added.

He was eventually offered a permanent home in March 2017.

Michael King, the ombudsman, said the council needed to improve its complaint handling "and the responses it offers to my office's enquiries".

"It should not need to take the threat of witness summons for the council to provide evidence," he added.

The council said it was "committed to providing residents with a good service".

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