R (Campbell) v LB Ealing [2024] – the meaning of s23 Care Act 2014

Monday 24 June 2024

Blog post by Bethan Harris of the Garden Court Housing & Community Care Law Team.

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S 23 Care Act 2014 (CA 2014) states:

“Exception for the provision of housing etc”

A local authority may not meet needs under sections 18 to 20 by doing anything which it or another local authority is required to do under –

The Housing Act 1996, …”

The facts

The claimant (“C”) was partially sighted, suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. He was housed by Hillingdon under the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) Part VII (homelessness duties), until that local authority regarded its duties as discharged and Ealing’s social services took over the funding of temporary accommodation. Ealing assessed C under CA 2014 as having eligible needs for care and support under the Act (although C did not receive a care package because his needs were being met by his partner and family).

C was supported to apply to Ealing’s housing allocations scheme, given Band B priority and made some bids on the Locata scheme which were unsuccessful. Ealing’s evidence was that C was offered assistance to make regular bids, to make homeless applications (as “homeless at home”) in order to secure a transfer to alternative temporary accommodation, and to seek alternative private accommodation with rent paid by housing benefit (para 12).

C had made three unsuccessful applications under HA 1996 Part VII, which had been “closed by the Defendant” because C indicated he had wanted a particular housing solution that was unavailable under the HA 1996 Part VII homelessness process (para 33).

Therefore, at the time of the decision under challenge, C had not, in fact, obtained housing either under HA 1996 Part VII, nor yet (when the decision under challenge was made) under HA 1996 Part VI (via the housing allocations scheme).

C’s claim for judicial review challenged Ealing’s decision to give notice that it would cease funding his temporary accommodation. The claim was dismissed at first instance. C appealed to the Court of Appeal (CA).

To complete the account of events (although not relevant to the decision under challenge), after the removal of funding for the temporary accommodation, C, in fact, remained in the temporary accommodation, until he moved to social housing acquired via an eventual successful bid under the housing allocations scheme in early 2023 (paras 39 – 41).

What were the competing arguments?

The case for C in essence was that it is where the local authority has accepted the duty to ensure that the person is provided with accommodation (and notified of a decision under s 184 HA 1996) that s 23 bites to exclude the availability ordinary accommodation under CA 2014, and further, Ealing had not and was not required to provide him with housing under HA 1996 Part VI (see paras 42-46).

Ealing argued that the principle upon which R (Idolo) v Bromley LBC [2020] EWHC 860 (Admin) was decided was equally applicable in C’s case. Mr Idolo was a council tenant who had an acute need for a move to suitable accommodation in order that his needs arising from disability could be met. He applied to his local housing allocations scheme under HA 1996 Part VI, but no offer of suitable accommodation was forthcoming for a long time. Mr Idolo challenged the failure to provide him with suitable alternative accommodation as part of the provision made for him under CA 2014.  It was held that s 23 CA 2014 prevented the local authority from providing him with housing under that Act, as this would override the scheme for priorities for housing under HA 1996: “(re)housing needs, even if identified through the Care Act route, cannot shortcut the detailed system of balanced priorities within Housing Act schemes, but must find their proper place within those schemes”.

The CA’s decision in R (Campbell) v Ealing

The CA held that the analysis applied in Idolo did not just apply to those who, like Mr Idolo, already had council accommodation and needed a move to other accommodation, but applied in this instance too (see para 58).

Bean LJ held at para 63: “The decision in Idolo was clearly correct…Section 23 of the Care Act 2014 on its natural meaning lays down that, where a local authority is required to offer housing accommodation to someone in accordance with its allocation scheme under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996, it cannot be required to provide ordinary accommodation under the 2014 Act. Where the authority is required by Part VII of the 1996 Act to make provision for an applicant who is homeless and is not excluded from eligibility then similarly the same duty does not arise under the Care Act.”

The passage in itself is not hugely illuminating as an explanation of s 23 CA 2014, as the use of the phrases “required to offer” and “required to make provision” begs the very question in issue of what they mean. However, the passage must be understood in light of the endorsement by the court of the principle in Idolo as applicable to the case, meaning that s 23 does not only bite where HA 1996 has generated a current offer or actual provision of housing/re-housing, but has a wider reach. See also paragraph 62 of the judgment which contemplates the role of s 23 in a case of intentional homelessness.


The CA adopted the wider of the two competing potential interpretations of s 23 CA 2014.

As a result, the approach is different in cases where the person has “accommodation-related” [1] needs for care and support and due to their immigration status are ineligible for assistance under HA 1996 Parts VI and VII, to cases where the person is not so ineligible and can make an application. Where the person is ineligible under HA 1996 due to their immigration status, s 23 CA 2014, does not prevent the provision of accommodation as part of the means of meeting needs where their care and support needs are “accommodation-related”: see R (SB) v Newham BC [2023] EWHC 2701 (Admin); (2024) 27 CCLR  95, paras 70, 72 and 123-4; and R (TMX) v LB Croydon [2024] EWHC 129 (Admin) paras 3 and114-5.

It is important to note the other things that CA 2014 says about housing, which can make a difference to outcomes for people in need of care and support:

  • Suitability of accommodation is a component of well-being, and local authorities have a general duty to promote an individual’s well-being when carrying out their care and support functions (s 1(1) and (2) (h) CA 2014);
  • The provision of housing is a health-related provision for the purpose of the general duty to integrate care and support with health services (s 3(1) and (5));
  • Local authorities must make arrangements for ensuring co-operation between officers who exercise functions relating to adults with needs for care and support or carers and officers who exercise the authority’s functions relating to housing (see s 6(4) and (6) CA 2024);
  • The Care and Support Statutory Guidance Chapter 15 (on integration and partnership working) and includes very clear guidance on the importance of housing in delivery of care and support, in the prevention duty and on joint working including at 15.50: “Housing and the provision for suitable accommodation should be considered when considering the provision of care and support and carers’ support. The setting in which a person lives, and its suitability to their specific needs can have a major impact on the extent and means to which their care and support needs can be met, or prevented over time. Housing is therefore a crucial health-related service which is to be integrated with care and support…Where housing forms part of the solution to meeting a person’s needs for care and support, or preventing needs for care and support, then a local authority may include this in the care or support plan even though the housing element itself is provided under housing legislation”. In case there was any doubt, it confirms that s 23 CA 2014 does not prevent joint working between the housing and social services (15.52).

It follows that, as community care lawyers, it is very useful to know about the range of HA 1996 powers and duties, and how appropriate joint working between social services and housing can impact on how they are exercised/performed in relation to our clients with care and support needs.

[1] See the case-law for the meaning of “accommodation-related” needs for care and support.

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