Waverley Borough Council acknowledged “unreasonable delays” in dealing with a resident’s son who has cerebral palsy. Following a judgment of “severe maladministration” by the housing ombudsman, housing secretary Michael Gove wrote to the council. The family had to wait 18 months for the adaptations.
Gorve wrote a letter addressed to Tom Horwood, the council chief. The renovations were completed by the family. The delays caused the boy’s father to feel “let down and ignored” according to BBC.
Waverley Borough Council acknowledged that their communication “could have been improved” and stated that it was taking steps to improve the application process.
A spokesman stated, “The council has learned valuable lessons from this case, and as requested by the ombudsman, we are carrying out a thorough review of our policies and procedures. The council is interviewing residents as part of the examination to get input on its policies.
Unfortunately, many other people in the UK struggle with the same challenges. Only 9% of homes in the United Kingdom have essential features for disabled people. These include a level access entrance, a flush threshold, wide doorways, and a toilet at the entrance level. These requirements are the bare minimum for an accessible home. Many people require roll-in showers, ceiling lifts, and accessible kitchen appliances.
Last year, a disabled woman from Slough, which is an hour drive from London was awarded damages after her local housing authority took almost a year to decide on an application for a stairlift in her home.
After an investigation, Slough Borough Council was found at fault and forced to pay her £3,550 in damages. £3,550 is roughly $3,960 USD. The council was discovered to be utilizing a points-based waiting list for modifications.
According to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, the practice violates statutory instructions. It also emerged that the waiting list was an attempt to manage a backlog and avoid having to assess applications within six months.
Housing is essential for everybody. People with disabilities deserve to live somewhere that meets their needs. Accessible housing helps disabled people have greater independence and the opportunity to live the life they envision for themselves.
Fuller, Christian. “Waverley Borough Council Apologises for Disability Home Adaptation Delay.” BBC News, BBC, 18 Sept. 2023, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-surrey-66810896.amp.
Roberts, Hannah. “Failings Left Disabled Berkshire Woman Eating, Sleeping and Washing in One Room.” BerkshireLive, Reach PLC , 3 Nov. 2022, https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/disabled-slough-woman-forced-eat-25422900
Theil, Michele. “A Shortage of Accessible Housing Is Affecting Disabled People.” EachOther, EachOther, 23 Feb. 2022, https://eachother.org.uk/shortage-accessible-housing-disability-rights/.