Organisations in Nottingham ‘did not do enough’ to help a vulnerable resident when she was faced with anti-social behaviour, two ombudsman services have found.

In the first joint investigation made by the two Ombudsman services, the Housing Ombudsman Service and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman have jointly criticised Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes for the way they dealt with the woman’s anti-social behaviour complaints and subsequent requests to move house.

The Ombudsman schemes are working together on complaints involving councils to redress failings and raise the standards in complaint handling. In this case the Housing Ombudsman investigated the tenancy management response to the anti-social behaviour and a staff complaint, whilst the Local Government Ombudsman considered the use of the council’s general powers to address anti-social behaviour, and its housing allocations actions.

For two years, the woman, who has medical vulnerabilities, was subject to issues including loud noise, alcohol issues, stones and mud being thrown onto her property and neighbours ‘ganging up on her’ – all of which left her feeling unsafe in her home.

Despite this, the Ombudsmen found that the council did not do enough to review the issues she faced via the Community Trigger Mechanism, and council’s landlord arm took too long to examine whether it could offer her a priority move to another area.

The Housing Ombudsman ordered the council’s landlord function to apologise to the resident, pay £550 in compensation and to create an action plan to ensure that its staff maintain clear and accurate records of their interactions with alleged perpetrators of ASB in future.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “The landlord did not make use of its powers to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour and help a resident, who was presenting with mental health needs. This was unacceptable.

“This joint work with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman shows how joint investigations can improve services in multiple areas at the same time, whilst providing holistic redress for residents.

“In the coming months, we will be undertaking more of these joint investigations so that we are able to encourage landlords to view policies and procedures in key areas such as anti-social behaviour.”

Paul Najsarek, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “The case demonstrates the benefit of us increasingly taking a partnership approach to investigating complaints with the Housing Ombudsman Service where our jurisdictions overlap.

“The Anti-social Behaviour Community Trigger was set up for exactly this sort of case, where vulnerable people are affected by anti-social behaviour local authorities can convene multi-agency meetings to see how they can best deal with problems.

“In this case, the behaviour the woman was subject to was having a clear impact on her mental health and she was left for too long in a situation that could have been improved had all organisations carried out their duties efficiently.

“I am pleased the council and NCH has agreed to our recommendations to put things right for this woman.”

A City Council spokesperson said: “We fully accept the findings of the Ombudsman in what has been a complex and lengthy case.  We acknowledge that there are areas in this case where we fell short of what the tenant had every right to expect from us, and we have apologised for that.

“This case happened some time ago, and we have already made improvements to the way we handle issues of this nature. Feedback from this determination is also being used to review the way we work and inform our continuous improvement journey.”