The very final tier that any complaint about a public body can ascend to is the Ombudsman. These are government bodies, accountable to the Public Accounts Committee, who determine whether maladministration has been caused by a public body and, if so, what redress is necessary. There are a myriad of different ombudsman each with a slightly different remit, which often confuses complainants, making it difficult to identify which body to complain to. In addition the Ombudsman will not investigate complaints that can be resolved via legal redress.
In this blog post I have outlined the new draft bill to simplify the Ombudsman system. I will then give an example of the common problems faced and then state how continual improvement can be made. Continue reading
Last year the Evening Standard reported on Z2K’s investigation into the growing use of ‘incentives’ by local authorities to secure private rented sector accommodation for homeless households, whether for use as temporary accommodation or to discharge their duty.
We had uncovered this practice through our own Private Rented Sector Access Scheme, where we work to find accommodation for individuals not entitled to statutory help. In a number of instances we had found affordable properties for our clients with Landlords willing to take them, only to be ‘outbid’ by a local authority offering an incentive for the property. Sometimes we would even find ourselves in the midst of a bidding war between two authorities, as each fought to secure the property by offering higher and higher amounts of money. Continue reading
Over the last two months, as well as managing Z2K’s volunteers and our expanding tribunal project I have also been on secondment to the South West London Law centre on a really exciting new project of which Z2K is a partner. Continue reading
The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust welcomes today’s High Court ruling that the Benefit Cap unlawfully discriminates against lone parents with children under two years-old. We hope this is the beginning of the end of a truly dreadful policy. But given the Government’s swift announcement of its intention to appeal against the decision, thousands of lone parent families suffering this unlawful discrimination are still left facing severe financial hardship and homelessness while the legal tussle continues. Continue reading
Like so many people, I was horrified to wake up last Wednesday to learn about the fire at Grenfell Tower. I was previously the Director at North Kensington Law Centre, and led the decision to move from our offices of 40 years in the Golborne Road, to the heart of the Lancaster West community into Baseline Studios. A key part of the decision to do this was to be closer to the communities that most needed our legal help on housing, welfare benefits and immigration matters. Knowing that many of our clients at NKLC were residents of Grenfell Tower left me extremely saddened by the news. Continue reading