Barking and Dagenham Council ordered to pay �12,000 compensation to residents

The council paid more than �12,000 compensation in a year to residents following complaints to a government watchdog.

In one notable case, the Ombudsman ruled Barking and Dagenham Council should pay �2,000 to the mother of a severely autistic child after its staff took 18 months to arrange a carer’s assessment.

The Ombudsman, Jane Martin, also ordered the Labour council pay �2,000 to a household after taking more than two years to deal with damp in the kitchen.

The local government watchdog asked the council to pay �12,472 in compensation in total and ruled it had caused injustice on 33 separate occasions between April 2011 and March 2012.

Ms Martin said: “One notable case involved a complainant with a number of health issues who was living in private rented accommodation with her children.

“One of the children is severely autistic. I found that the council delayed for more than 18 months in arranging a carer’s assessment and failed to provide respite care for over six months. The inadequate records were also a source of concern.”

In a separate case, education chiefs had to reinstate an excluded pupil and pay his guardians �750 after failing to properly investigate evidence against the child.

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Barking and Dagenham Council has apologised for the mistakes and pledged to learn from them.

A spokesman said: “We strive to provide a good service, but we occasionally will get it wrong and where an apology is required, it is right to say sorry.

“In the first case, the council did not respond appropriately to the complainant’s housing issues or respond to her health and social needs.

“With regard to the second case, the authority acknowledged there were shortcomings in the way the disrepair issues were managed. The �2,000 compensation was agreed and a decision made to decant the tenant to alternative accommodation to complete the work.”