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Vulnerable Nottingham resident ‘ganged up on’ by neighbours paid compensation by city council after ombudsman ruling

A vulnerable woman who was ‘ganged up on’ by neighbours who threw stones and mud on her property has been awarded £550 from Nottingham City Homes.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and the Housing Ombudsman Service carried out a joint investigation into the way the woman’s complaints were handled.

Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes (NCH) have been criticised for the way they dealt with the woman’s complaints and subsequent requests to move properties.

It’s the first joint investigation made by the two Ombudsman services.

The investigation found that for two years between June 2020 and June 2022, the woman was subject to loud noises, alcohol issues, stones and mud being thrown onto her property and neighbours ‘ganging up on her’.

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She said neighbours congregated near her home, talking loudly, and sometimes swearing.

Someone parked their car in a way that obstructed her driveway and a ball was thrown at her car.

The woman, who has medical vulnerabilities, felt she was “a prisoner in her own home.”

She has since been moved into another property.

It was found Nottingham City Council did not do enough to review the issues she faced and NCH, on behalf of the council, took too long to examine whether it could offer her a priority move to another area.

A City Council spokesperson said it “fully accepts the findings of the Ombudsman”.

Now, The Housing Ombudsman has ordered NCH 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.

Cllr Kevin Clarke, an independent councillor at the Labour-run authority, said: “I think she is quite entitled to compensation but it doesn’t seem a vast amount of money in comparison to the stress and anxiety she suffered.

“We are forever inundated with complaints of anti-social behaviour in Clifton and they come to our surgery and ask us to do something about it.

“Usually something does get done but this one might have slipped the net.

“On the financial side, there’s a lot of inadequacies within NCH and we need to go out and correct them now.”

The council said it will review its processes and produce an information sheet for people who report antisocial behaviour.

It will also review how it can share information with different organisations when people report issues.

A City Council spokesperson said: “We acknowledge 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.”

Paul Najsarek, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said: “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.”

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

“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.”

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