Making a complaint
If you think the council didn’t follow the correct procedure or acted unfairly when it assessed your homelessness application, you may be able to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
What can the ombudsman do?
The ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration by the council. It can look into the way the council processed your homelessness application to make sure that it acted fairly and followed the correct procedures.
After the ombudsman has completed its investigations it can recommend that the council pays compensation or takes action to put things right. Councils are not legally obliged to comply with ombudsman recommendations but they usually do so. In some cases, they may even offer to put the situation right before the ombudsman has finished investigating your complaint.
What type of complaints can the ombudsman deal with?
Examples of when you can make a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales include situations where:
- there were long delays in the council coming to a decision
- the council discriminated against you when it made its decision
- you were given bad or misleading advice by the council.
In most cases, you have to ask the council to review its decision before you can ask the ombudsman to investigate. You normally have to complain to the ombudsman within 12 months of receiving written confirmation of the review decision.
You can’t normally complain to the ombudsman if you have already appealed against the council’s decision in the county court.
How do I complain to the ombudsman?
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales produces a complaint form and leaflet on how to complain, which are available free on their website. You have to complain in writing and should include copies of any evidence (such as letters from the council) that supports your complaint. If you need help with the forms, contact Shelter Cymru.
Will I need help?
If you want to complain to the ombudsman, get advice first. Complaints can take a long time and are not likely to solve your immediate housing problems. A housing adviser can:
- check whether you have a good case for making a complaint
- help with filling in complaint forms and preparing evidence
- help you find somewhere to live if the council has refused to do so.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.