Ealing Council took an astonishing 11 weeks to deal with the rehousing application of a domestic abuse victim, when it should have been done within five days, a damning report says.
A Brent Council tenant had been suffering abuse from a former partner and it was deemed unsafe for her to remain at the home.
This was because her ex-partner continued to make "serious threats" towards her, a Local Government Ombudsman report said.
She asked Brent Council to move her away from the area, but instead of immediately referring the woman to another authority under a joint scheme with other boroughs, the council spent "several months looking into a managed move within the borough".
The council has a reciprocal agreement in place with six neighbouring authorities to re-house tenants who are victims of domestic abuse.
Her details were then sent on to Ealing Council, but instead of determining the woman's application in the agreed five days, it took an astonishing 11 weeks.
This delayed the victim's application being accepted by another council because it could not be passed on while Ealing Council was considering her application.
Ealing Council will now pay the woman £750 for the distress and anxiety caused by the delay and the "insensitive handling of her housing needs."
A further £250 will be paid to her representative and Ealing Council will arrange for a senior manager to send a written apology to the woman.
It will also arrange for a designated officer to as as a central point to log and monitor progress of all referrals.
Council 'fully accepts findings'
Dr Jane Martin, local government ombudsman, said: "I welcome the fact that so many local authorities are seeking to work together more closely to deliver better services to their residents.
"However, it is essential that the delivery of those partnerships matches the aspiration of more joined up service provision.
"When people are particularly vulnerable, it is all the more important that organisations work together effectively to remove them from possible harm. This investigation demonstrates the impact when this does not happen.
"Although there was a protocol in place between the two authorities, neither took proactive steps to ensure the woman was safely housed.
"Both authorities have accepted my recommendations to help ensure that no other victims of domestic violence fall through the cracks as this woman did."
An Ealing Council spokesperson said: "We apologise for the poor handling of this referral from Brent Housing Department and we fully accept the ombudsman’s findings.
"This isn’t the usual experience of customers referred to us through the West London Domestic Violence Reciprocal Scheme and we will review our processes with other west London borough partners to ensure we work as well as possible for vulnerable residents."
A spokesperson for Brent Council said: "We apologise unreservedly for the maladministration which caused this sort of treatment in 2014, and we fully accept the findings and recommendations of the Ombudsman.
"Clearly, there are lessons learnt since it happened, and we already have taken swift action in providing refresher training on domestic abuse for front-line staff, and have also reviewed the joint-working arrangements across our housing services and those with other boroughs.
"We will continue to take any other action necessary to ensure that there is no repeat of the circumstances of this case."