Compensation is paid after Sheffield council admits blunders

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RESIDENTS were paid hundreds of pounds in compensation by Sheffield Council for blunders which were referred to the Local Government Ombudsman over the last year.

However, the overall number of complaints to the body, which investigates complaints about councils, has fallen by about a fifth compared to the previous 12 months.

There were 166 complaints during 2011/12, with the worst area being housing, which had 52 complaints.

There were also 23 cases about benefits and council tax, 21 about environment, 21 about children’s services, 16 for adults’ services, 13 corporate complaints and 12 transport-related issues.

Some 65 of the cases were investigated, with injustice found in 28 cases which the council agreed to ‘remedy’.

In two of the cases, compensation payments were made by the authority.

A woman with mobility problems received £500 after the council classified her wrongly on the housing waiting list, leading to her being offered six unsuitable properties.

She has now been moved to suitable accommodation for her needs.

Meanwhile, £250 compensation was paid to a resident after workmen renovating houses set up a makeshift compound without planning permission, causing a disturbance.

The resident said he was unhappy with noise from vehicles early in the morning and damage to verges and kerbstones.

Sheffield Council had 210 complaints made against it to the Local Government Ombudsman in 2010/11 and the authority said it would learn from mistakes.

Julie Bullen, council director of customer services, said: “We are pleased to note that the number of complaints made against the council has dropped in the last two years.

“However, we are not complacent and will always be aiming to improve our services to the people of Sheffield.

“There are some issues that the Ombudsman has highlighted in the report and we will be considering them closely to learn from them in the future.”