Government and Legislation
A new dispersal policy starts today (23 October 2006) for those failed asylum seekers granted “hard cases” support in the London area under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. New applicants will be provided with support in the area of their former NASS accommodation and those who did not previously have NASS accommodation will be sent to the West Midlands. The current 1350 people receiving support in London will be subject to a phased dispersal programme. Only those with “exceptional circumstances” will be supported in London. Details available from: email@example.com
On 10 October 2006 the Law Commission issued a scoping paper Remedies against public bodiesoutlining a proposed substantive law reform exercise on the subject and setting out a summary of the current law. The document ends by inviting readers to indicate whether they would wish to receive a detailed consultation paper on the topic to be issued in 2007. Click here for the scoping paper. The Law Commission’s Autumn 2006 Newsletter gives an update of progress on its other housing-related law reform projects.
On 16 October 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Govt (DCLG) published a summary of the most recent research on the effectiveness of Intensive Family Support Projects in dealing with anti-social behaviour. It concludes that the success of such projects had led to a reduction in the risk of homelessness for families using them. Click here for a copy of the report.
On 17 October 2006 DCLG published a Regulatory Impact assessment and a Race Equality Statement in relation to new arrangements for funding housing associations to run or manage Gypsy and Traveller Sites in England. Click here for a copy.
On 18 October 2006 DCLG published Housing in England 2004-2005 reporting the latest data on housing tenure, conditions, overcrowding and household occupancy. For a statistical summary click here
Ahead of the substantial changes to be made on 2 December 2006 to the duties owed by landlords to disabled tenants and their families, the Disability Rights Commission has issued A Guide to the Disability Equality Duty and Disability Discrimination Act 2005 for the Social Housing Sector. It is required reading for all those who deal with social housing tenants. For a copy click here
R (Lynch) v Lambeth LBC  All ER (D) 177 (Oct), 16 October 2006. The claimant applied to her council landlords for assistance as a homeless person. She said that her home was no longer reasonable to continue to occupy on medical and disability-related grounds. The council notified a decision that she was not homeless as her tenancy was continuing and she was not wheelchair-bound. The claimant sought judicial review on the grounds that the notice gave no (or no sufficient) reasons addressing her application. Before that could be heard the council accepted that the decision was irregular and reviewed it but reached the same decision on review. A county court appeal against the review decision was pending. The judge dismissed the judicial review claim. She held that any irregularity in the original decision could be addressed by the alternative remedy in fact pursued i.e. the county court appeal.
Investigation 05/B/00679 (Croydon LBC) 17 October 2006. A Croydon tenant applied for a transfer on medical grounds. The council’s officers decided that there should be a visit and assessment by an Occupational Therapist. No such visit was scheduled for 7 months and only then undertaken in response to the Ombudsman’s request. That delay – compounded by a failure to tell the tenant what was (not) going on - amounted to maladministration. When the OT report was received it was not considered properly in assessing the tenant’s needs and the council took 2 months to correct that mistake. The ombudsman recommended £500 compensation and a review of the council’s procedures. For the details click here
Coming Up Soon
24 October 2006: Charging & Benefits in Community Care a Legal Action Group CCLR seminar. Details from www.lag.org.uk
30 October 2006: Human Rights Act Awareness Conferencea Department for Constitutional Affairs event: Details from: http://livegroup.co.uk/dcahumanrights/
Garden Court Chambers Seminars
2 November 2006: “Eligibility” Issues in Housing a Garden Court Chambers Seminar
Click Here to book a place