Ombudsman criticises city council over house repairs

Sheffield Council Chief Executive John Mothersole who was speaking at a Sheffield Business Club luncheon at the Holiday Inn
Sheffield Council Chief Executive John Mothersole who was speaking at a Sheffield Business Club luncheon at the Holiday Inn
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SHEFFIELD Council’s top officer has pledged that lessons will be learned after housing repairs were criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman.

Anne Seex raised ‘issues of concern’ about how two cases were dealt with by the council - including a case in which a tenant waited eight months for a gas service.

When the task was completed, a gas safety certificate was issued despite the flue being unsafe.

Meanwhile, a person who had bought a flat under the right-to-buy scheme delayed the transaction while repairs were supposed to be carried out to the roof .

But as soon as he completed the purchase, it began to leak.

The leaseholder tried to claim on his insurance for the damage but the council sent him an engineers’ report about a different roof and his claim was rejected.

John Mothersole, Sheffield Council’s chief executive, said: “One complaint to the council is one too many in my view.

“We want to do the best we can to provide the services people want in the way they want, and get it right first time.

“However there will be times that, unfortunately, we do not meet that aspiration.”

Mr Mothersole added: “Arrangements have been put in place to ensure the matters the Ombudsman has highlighted in her report are implemented to help us improve our services in the future.

“We’re not complacent in dealing with complaints.

“Although there were no complaints in the major categories reporting maladministration to our residents, we will always do the best we can to resolve them locally without recourse wherever possible to the Local Government Ombudsman.

“The majority of complaints were dealt with in this way.”