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Homelessness - vulnerable groups

Homelessness vulnerable groups 23049409 s 146x219This article explores the special provisions which apply to groups who are particularly vulnerable to homelessness and refers to the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities, February 2018 (the 2018 Code).

 

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Local authority duties

Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) sets out the statutory framework for assessing whether or not a person will be owed a duty, and if so what duty, by a local authority if they are homeless. References in this article to various sections refer to sections of HA 1996. See Practice Note: Homelessness—assisting the homeless post- 3 April 2018.

In 2002, the Government amended the homelessness legislation through the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002, SI 2002/2051 to:

•    ensure a more strategic approach to tackling and preventing homelessness, in particular by requiring a homelessness strategy for every local housing authority (LHA) district; and
•    strengthen the assistance available to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness by extending the priority need categories to homeless 16- and 17-year-olds; care leavers aged 18, 19 and 20; people who are vulnerable as a result of time spent in care, the armed forces, prison or custody, and people who are vulnerable because they have fled their home because of violence

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA 2017) significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas. It also requires housing authorities to provide homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who have ‘priority need.’ These include:

•    an enhanced prevention duty extending the period a household is threatened with homelessness from 28 days to 56 days, meaning that housing authorities are required to work with people to prevent homelessness at an earlier stage, and
•    a new duty for those who are already homeless so that housing authorities will support households for 56 days to relieve their homelessness by helping them to secure accommodation.

The LHA has a duty to provide advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness and the rights of homeless people or those at risk of homelessness, as well as the help that is available from the LHA or others and how to access that help. The service should be designed with certain listed vulnerable groups in mind and authorities can provide it themselves or arrange for other agencies to do it on their behalf.

LHAs should pay particular attention to the promotion and protection of rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, victims of sexual discrimination, children and elderly people.

 

Who are vulnerable people?
HRA 2017 is concerned with particular groups of people who are at risk of homelessness.

 

Joint working with social services and joint strategy
The emphasis of the reforms introduced to the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) by HRA 2017 is on early intervention to ensure that people do not become homeless. The early intervention strategy starts with the LHA’s policy and procedure.

In non-unitary districts, where the social services authority and the LHA are different authorities, HA 2002, s 1(2) requires the social services authority to give the LHA such assistance as may be reasonably required in carrying out a homelessness review and formulating and publishing a homelessness strategy.

HA 2002, s 3(1)(c) provides that the homelessness strategy should secure the satisfactory provision of support for people in the district who are or may be homeless, or who have been homeless and need support to prevent them becoming homeless again.

Since a large proportion of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will be vulnerable adults or have children in their care, it will always be necessary to seek assistance from the social services authority to formulate an effective homelessness strategy. In unitary authorities, the authority must ensure that the social services department assists the housing department in carrying out a homelessness review and in formulating and publishing a homelessness strategy.

For the purposes of formulating a strategy, this might include providing information about the current and projected numbers of vulnerable adults within the district that might be at higher risk of homelessness, and the care, support and accommodation available to them.

Children’s social care services could provide, for example, future projections of young people leaving care who are likely to require accommodation and support, families provided with accommodation who are ineligible for assistance (some of which might become eligible), and the numbers of safeguarding alerts involving domestic abuse, poor housing conditions or other factors that might indicate a need for homelessness assistance.

Each local authority has a legal duty under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to take such steps as it con-siders appropriate for improving the health of the people in its area. This includes people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Housing authorities should ensure that their homelessness strategy is co-ordinated with the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and that their review of homelessness informs and is informed by the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

Housing authorities will also wish to involve teams responsible for delivering the ‘troubled families’ programme in developing and delivering a strategy that helps to prevent the most vulnerable families from becoming homeless.

The social services authority must comply with all reasonable requests for assistance from housing authorities within their district.

HRA 2017 has a heavy emphasis on joint working, partnership agreements and joint strategies so that vulnerable people are supported to avoid homelessness, or to access suitable accommodation before becoming homeless.

This heavy emphasis on joint working is a continuation of the assessment and co-operation model found in section 1 of the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014).

According to the care and support statutory guidance, all service providers, including housing and housing support providers, should have clear operational policies and procedures that reflect the framework set by the Safeguarding Adult Boards in consultation with them. This should include what circumstances would lead to the need to report outside their own chain of line management, including outside their organisation to the local authority. They need to share information with relevant partners such as the local authority even where they are taking action themselves.

It is envisaged with HRA 2017 reforms that early intervention to support, assess, and work with more partner agencies will prevent many from being homeless.

 

Information and advice to prevent homelessness

The provision of information and advice to all is a significant new feature of HRA 2017.

HA 1996, s 179(2) states that housing authorities must design advice and information services to meet the needs of people within their district including, in particular, the needs of the following groups:

•    people released from prison or youth detention accommodation (2018 Code, Ch 23)
•    care leavers (2018 Code, Ch 22). See Practice Note: Local authority duties for advice and assistance for certain children and young persons—'Person qualifying for advice and assistance'.
•    former members of the regular armed forces (2018 Code, Ch 24)
•    victims of domestic abuse (2018 Code, Ch 21)
•    people leaving hospital
•    people suffering from a mental illness or impairment, and
•    any other group that the authority identify as being at particular risk of homelessness in their district (2018 Code, Ch 8)

The advice that they are provided must advise these groups on how to prevent homelessness, secure accommodation when homeless, and provide assistance from other agencies who may be in a position to assist them.

The provision of advice and information on care and support is also a statutory requirement pursuant to the care and support statutory guidance. The authority is not required to provide all elements of this service, rather, they are expected under this duty to understand, co-ordinate and make effective use of other statutory, voluntary and or private sector information and advice resources within their area in order to deliver more integrated information and advice.

Examples of some national resources are:

•    FirstStop Advice
•    The Money Advice Service
•    NHS Choices: Your guide to care and support
•    Foundations

Housing authorities are expected to provide information and advice, or ensure that such is available, since the commencement of HRA 2017 on 3 April 2018.

 

Vulnerable people and the duty on public services to refer them to the LHA
Under HA 1996, s 213B, certain public authorities are required to notify an LHA of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness (ie it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days). See Practice Note: Homelessness—the meaning of the terms ‘homelessness’ and ‘threatened homelessness’.

Before making a referral a public authority must:

•    have consent to the referral from the individual
•    allow the individual to identify the LHA in England which they would like the notification to be made to, and
•    have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the LHA can contact them regarding the referral

The duty to refer only applies to public authorities in England and individuals can only be referred to housing authorities in England.

The public authorities which are subject to the duty to refer are specified in the Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/223. The public services included in the duty are as follows:

•    prisons
•    youth offender institutions
•    secure training centres
•    secure colleges
•    youth offending teams
•    probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
•    Jobcentre Plus
•    social service authorities
•    emergency departments
•    urgent treatment centres, and
•    hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care

Public authorities are not expected to conduct housing needs assessments as part of the HA 1996, s 213B duty to refer.

Some public authorities that are subject to the duty to refer will be required to provide accommodation for certain individuals as part of their own legal duties, for example as an element of care or supervision. Examples include social services authorities with a duty to accommodate a lone 16- or 17-year-old under the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) or a vulnerable adult under CA 2014.

When a referral is received, there must be alternative joint working approaches in place to ensure that the primary responsibility to provide accommodation which would prevent or address homelessness lies with the specified service. This is to avoid a homeless applicant falling between services, with nobody taking responsibility.

 

Vulnerable people and the housing needs assessment and personal housing plan

Housing needs assessment
The LHA are under a duty to assess the applicant’s housing needs and agree steps that will assist them to avoid becoming homeless (HA 1996, s 189A)

The housing needs assessment and personalised housing plan are explored in detail in Practice Note: Homelessness—assisting the homeless post- 3 April 2018.

In particular, the LHA are obliged to conduct a face-to-face interview (2018 Code, Ch 11.3).

An assessment of the applicant’s needs, including their support needs, is of particular interest to vulnerable groups. Housing authorities must not limit the assessed needs of applicants to ‘apparent’ needs, or those needs that have been notified to it. Local authorities must promote wellbeing when carrying out care and support functions, or making a decision in relation to a person, as required under CA 2014.

Housing authorities are expected to tease out relevant support needs from applicants during the assessment stage. If an applicant is reluctant to disclose a support need, the LHA needs to adopt a sensitive and reassuring encouragement so that they can best assist in preventing or relieving homelessness (2018 Code, Ch 11.9).

It may be the case that a person’s needs are beyond that which the LHA can provide. There may be health care or social support considerations. Housing authorities should make use of CA 2014 powers to meet urgent care needs and support needs where an assessment has not been completed.

There exist some guides which an LHA may wish to refer to for assistance in understanding a person’s needs. For example, for blind and partially sighted people— A guide for local authorities, published by Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) and Action for Blind People, is a good practice guide that helps inform local authorities’ understanding of the extent and impact of sight impairment, the main causes and risk factors and the effects on people’s lives.

Following the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, people must be assumed to have capacity to make their own decisions and be given all practicable help before anyone treats them as not being able to make their own decisions. See Practice Note: Capacity—housing and care.

Challenges many professionals face occur particularly where it appears an adult has capacity for making specific decisions that nevertheless places them at risk of being abused or neglected. Safeguarding policies must be engaged.

In WB v W District Council [2018] EWCA Civ 928, the Court of Appeal concluded that persons who lack mental capacity are not able to be made offers of accommodation under HA 1996, Pt VII. Accordingly, their needs must be met in other ways, for example through arrangements made by a deputy or through proceedings in the Court of Protection.

Local authorities must cooperate with each of their relevant partners, as described in CA 2014, s 6(3), and those partners must also cooperate with the local authority, in the exercise of their functions relevant to care and support including those to protect adults.

The approach of the CA 2014 is to ‘meet need’, as opposed to duties to provide specific services, is not intended to place additional requirements on local authorities. Nevertheless, the HRA 2017 provisions dovetail with the approach in the CA 2014—to assess, support and meet a need to prevent homelessness.

 

 

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Personalised housing plan
Once the housing needs assessment has taken place, the LHA and the applicant must agree mandatory and recommended steps to take to prevent, or relieve, homelessness. This is the personalised housing plan (HA 1996, s 189A).

It is important for the vulnerable person to be honest about what they can realistically achieve in terms of the steps that they are able to take to help themselves. It may be necessary to obtain medical evidence to demonstrate the extent of the applicant’s ability to comply with steps which form part of the personalised housing plan.

LHA officers are required to have sufficient training to understand the needs to vulnerable people, but housing officers are not medically trained and no assumptions should be made that the housing officer will know, or appreciate, limitations on a person’s ability to assist themselves to prevent or relieve their homelessness. It is very much a combined effort to agree, and keep in review, the personalised housing plan.

It may be that a person needs housing-related support.

Housing-related support services have a key role in preventing homelessness occurring or recurring. The types of housing-related support that households who have experienced homelessness may include:

•    support in establishing a suitable home—help, advice and support in finding and maintaining suitable accommodation for independent living in the community
•    support with daily living skills—help, advice and training in the day-to-day skills needed for living in-dependently, such as budgeting and cooking
•    support in accessing benefits, health and community care services—information, advice and help in claiming benefits or accessing community care or health services
•    help in establishing and maintaining social support—help in rebuilding or establishing social networks that can help counter isolation and help support independent living

Housing authorities are obliged to have special strategies for dealing with vulnerable groups including:

•    support for single people (2018 Code, Ch 2.65–2.67)
•    support for rough sleepers (2018 Code, Ch 2.68–2.70)
•    support for families(2018 Code, Ch2.71–2.72)
•    support for victims of domestic violence (2018 Code, Ch 2.73–2.74, 2018 Code, Ch 21)
•    support for households in temporary accommodation( 2018 Code, Ch 2.75)
•    support for victims of modern slavery and trafficking (2018 Code, Ch 25)
•    support for care leavers (2018 Code, Ch 22)
•    support for people with an offending history (2018 Code, Ch 23 CA 2014, s 76 Care and support statutory guidance, Ch 17)
•    support for former members of the Armed Forces (2018 Code, Ch 24)

CA 2014 provides statutory guidance to local authorities on what behaviours constitute physical abuse, do-mestic violence, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial or material abuse, modern slavery, discriminatory abuse, organisational abuse, neglect and acts of omission.

Where there are adult safeguarding risks, as well as a need to support to protect an adult, reference to the care and support statutory guidance points to the requirement to have policies and procedures in place. Procedures may include:

•    a statement of purpose relating to promoting wellbeing, preventing harm and responding effectively if concerns are raised
•    a statement of roles and responsibility, authority and accountability sufficiently specific to ensure that all staff and volunteers understand their role and limitations
•    a statement of the procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse, including those for dealing with emergencies by ensuring immediate safety, the processes for initially assessing abuse and neglect and deciding when intervention is appropriate, and the arrangements for reporting to the police, ur-gently when necessary
•    a full list of points of referral indicating how to access support and advice at all times, whether in normal working hours or outside them, with a comprehensive list of contact addresses and telephone numbers, including relevant national and local voluntary bodies
•    an indication of how to record allegations of abuse and neglect, any enquiry and all subsequent action
•    a list of sources of expert advice
•    a full description of channels of inter-agency communication and procedures for information sharing and for decision making
•    a list of all services which might offer access to support or redress
•    how professional disagreements are resolved especially with regard to whether decisions should be made, enquiries undertaken for example

CA 2014 requires that each local authority must arrange for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review where the adult has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the process and where there is no other suitable person to represent and support them.

Where someone is over 18 but still receiving children’s services and a safeguarding issue is raised, the matter should be dealt with as a matter of course by the adult safeguarding team.

Agencies should stress the need for preventing abuse and neglect wherever possible. Observant professionals and other staff making early, positive interventions with individuals and families can make a huge difference to their lives, preventing the deterioration of a situation or breakdown of a support network. It is often when people become increasingly isolated and cut off from families and friends that they become extremely vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Agencies should implement robust risk management processes in order to prevent concerns escalating to a crisis point and requiring intervention under safeguarding adult procedures.

Housing authorities are as much accountable to social services in delivering safeguarding of vulnerable groups as social services are to housing authorities to assist in the prevention and relief of homelessness. The emphasis lies with joint working.

 

Homelessness Reduction and CA 2014
CA 2014, together with the Care and support statutory guidance which accompanies it, applies to housing authorities as they carry out their duties in relation to adults. In particular, there are 6 key principles which underpin all adult safeguarding:
•    empowerment—people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent
•    prevention—it is better to take action before harm occurs
•    proportionality—the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
•    protection—support and representation for those in greatest need
•    partnership—local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
•    accountability—accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding

Vulnerable groups who are threatened with homelessness or who are homeless are likely to engage safe-guarding protocols.

 

Vulnerable people and the prevention duty
The prevention duty applies when an applicant is threatened with homelessness within 56 days of presenting to the LHA. The aim of the prevention duty is to ensure that the applicant does not become homeless. See Practice Note: Homelessness—assisting the homeless post-3 April 2018.

The applicant and the LHA must work together, through the steps set out in the personalized housing plan, to prevent homelessness.

Housing authorities must take into account the needs and circumstances of the applicant as they work to fulfil the prevention duty, recognising that there are a range of factors that will affect an applicants’ ability to take action to help prevent their homelessness.

For some more vulnerable applicants, the factors that have contributed to their being threatened with homelessness may also affect their ability to work with the LHA to resolve that threat.

The LHA will want to seek to understand these factors and tailor the support it provides, both directly and through engaging relevant specialist services, accordingly.

Where homelessness is prevented, but an applicant’s needs may put them at risk of a further threat of homelessness, the LHA will want to work with relevant support and specialist services to help promote sustainability. This means that even though homelessness is averted, a vulnerable person may still be entitled to continuing support to ensure that they retain their home.

If homelessness is prevented by support into accommodation by a pathway service, advisors may wish to ensure that the LHA do not discharge their prevention duty unless the accommodation will be available for at least six months.

Support should be seriously considered to ensure that accommodation is not lost if there is a continued risk of future homelessness.

 

Vulnerable people and the relief duty
The relief duty requires housing authorities to help people who are homeless to secure accommodation.

The applicant and the LHA must work together, through the steps set out in the personalized housing plan, to relieve homelessness.

If the LHA have reason to believe a person is vulnerable then as soon as the person is homeless, they will be under the HA 1996, s 188(1) duty to provide interim accommodation.

The LHA should still work with the vulnerable applicant to relieve homelessness where possible, by carrying out the steps in the personalised housing plan.

The LHA may wish to work with partner agencies at this point to place the vulnerable applicant in suitable accommodation, which might be supported or in a care home if the applicant is elderly.

Housing authorities should not have a blanket policy of ending the prevention and relief duties after 56 days where they have the discretion to continue it, instead they should in each case take the applicant’s circumstances into account.

Where an applicant does not have a priority need or they have a priority need and have become homeless intentionally, the authority may want to consider continuing the relief duty for longer.

Considerations may include the needs of the applicant, the risk of the applicant sleeping rough, the prospects of securing accommodation within a reasonable period, the resources available to the LHA, and any wider implications of bringing the duty to an end (for example, in the case of an applicant who has dependent children and who became homeless intentionally where ChA 1989 duties may apply if accommodation could not be secured).

 

Vulnerable people and possession proceedings
Where an applicant is an assured shorthold tenant who has received a valid section 21 notice, it is unlikely to be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy beyond the expiry of that section 21 notice, where:
•    the LHA is satisfied that the landlord intends to seek possession
•    further efforts from the LHA to resolve the situation and persuade the landlord to allow the tenant to remain in the property are unlikely to be successful; and
•    there would be no defence to an application for a possession order
unless the LHA is taking steps to persuade the landlord to allow the tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period to provide an opportunity for alternative accommodation to be found.

LHAs are under an obligation to ensure that homeless families and vulnerable individuals who are owed a section HA 1996, s 188 interim accommodation duty or HA 1996, s 193(2) main housing duty are not evicted through the enforcement of an order for possession as a result of a failure by the authority to make suitable accommodation available to them.

 

Concurrent duties
Some vulnerable groups will be owed dual duties.

In the case of 16- and 17-year-olds, the social services authority will have a duty to refer the young person to the LHA if they meet the criteria under HA 1996, s 213B. However, they may also have a duty to provide accommodation for that young person. In most cases a 16–17-year-old who has become homeless will be accommodated under ChA 1989, s 20 and/or through provision of supported housing or supported lodgings, and will not be ready to manage their own tenancy until they reach adulthood.

In the case of vulnerable adults, a duty to refer under HA 1996, s 213B may arise, concurrently with a duty to accommodate under CA 2014.

Housing authorities will wish to agree arrangements with relevant authorities to ensure that when they receive referrals from these authorities appropriate alternative joint working approaches are in place and the primary responsibility to provide accommodation which would prevent or address homelessness lies with the other service.

Referring authorities may assist an applicant to make a direct application with the LHA rather than going through the referral process. This may apply for people with particular support needs.
Interim accommodation and vulnerable groups

The Secretary of State considers that applicants whose household has a need for social services support or a need to maintain links with other essential services within the borough, for example families with children who are subject to safeguarding arrangements, should be given particular attention when temporary accommodation is allocated to try and ensure it is located in or close to the housing authority’s own district. Careful consideration should be given to applicants with a mental illness or learning disability who may have a particular need to remain in a specific area, for example to maintain links with health service professionals and/or a reliance on existing informal support networks and community links. Such applicants may be less able than others to adapt to any disruption caused by being placed in accommodation in another district.

 

Supported housing
Housing authorities are obliged to review the supply and demand need for supported accommodation available for particular cohorts of people in need of accommodation with support.

Housing authorities will need to work with partners to assess the need, and plan strategically, for supported housing provision to help prevent and resolve homelessness for people with support needs, and to consider whether existing local needs are met or to commission provision (either new units or additional support) to address these needs.

Supported housing should be of good quality and suitable for the needs of the client group it is intended for. For example, supported accommodation with shared facilities will not normally be suitable for longer-term placements for families with pregnant women and/or children.

Refuge provision is very important for victims of domestic abuse at high risk who need to flee from highly dangerous perpetrators, and victims will very often need to be placed in a refuge in another area in order to be safe from the perpetrator. Housing authorities will need to work together to assess and meet the need for refuge provision across local authority boundaries, for example, across a region or sub-region, to help ensure provision for people fleeing both from and to individual LHA areas.

 

Hostel and supported accommodation
Hostels and support accommodation may be provided by:
•    a local authority
•    a private registered provider
•    charity
•    private landlords

Vulnerable young people, and families with children should not be accommodated alongside vulnerable adults.

Short stay hostel accommodation and supported schemes is only appropriate where there is a planned pathway to ensure that accommodation will continue to be available to them for at least six

 

Housing First
The 2018 Code suggests Housing First as an approach to ending long term homelessness for people with complex needs.

Housing First support is generally commissioned by a local authority. In some cases funding has also come from Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Police and Crime Commissioners. A few Housing First services do not receive statutory funding and are instead funded by trusts and foundations.

The Housing First model was first developed in New York in 1992 by the ‘Pathways to Housing’ organisation, as a response to the problems they saw facing mentally ill patients who had no alternative housing options other than to access homeless shelters or live on the street. It has two main elements;

•    stable, quality housing
•    support for the occupier

Housing First England is a new project to create and support a national movement of Housing First services, improving the lives of, and support for, some of society’s most excluded people.

The Housing First website can be found here.

The principles of Housing First are as follows:

•    that people have a right to a home, prioritising access to housing as a priority with eligibility for housing only contingent on the person’s willingness to maintain their tenancy
•    housing and support are separated. A person’s housing is not contingent on engaging with support
•    individuals have choice and control. The person and their wishes are at the centre of the support they experience
•    service is based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations. Services are underpinned by philosophy that there is always a possibility for positive change, improved health and wellbeing, relationships and community integration
•    an active engagement approach is used. The support is tailored to fit the individual
•    a harm reduction approach is used. There is a holistic support approach

Housing Support has published guidance as follows:

•    Guidance for Support Providers
•    Guidance for Social Landlords
•    Guidance for Commissioners

Housing First can be utilised in three ways:

•    to commission support only within the LHA’s general needs accommodation
•    to place an applicant in the LHA’s own supported accommodation using Housing First funding
•    to provide support only to assist in the prevention of homelessness

 

Disabled facilities grant
Uptake of the disabled facilities grant can enable homeowners to remain living an independent life at home. A disabled facilities grant can contribute towards the cost of providing adaptations and facilities to enable the disabled person to continue to live there.

Authorities are required to give a decision within six months of receiving an application. The grant is subject to a maximum limit of £30,000 and is means tested to ensure that funding goes to those most in need.

The government has published a guidance booklet to explain the help available and how to go about applying for a grant, found at Communities and Local Government: Disabled facilities grant.

 

Suitability of accommodation and CA 2014
CA 2014 provides that local authorities are under an obligation to promote wellbeing when carrying out their functions.

The Care and support statutory guidance to CA 2014 provides the following:

‘15.57 Local authorities have a general duty to promote an individual’s wellbeing when carrying out their care and support functions. The Act is clear that one specific component of wellbeing is the suitability of living accommodation. A local authority should consider suitable living accommodation in looking at a person’s needs and desired outcomes.

15.58 Housing has a vital role to play in other areas relating to a person’s wellbeing. For example access to a safe settled home underpins personal dignity. A safe suitable home can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing and can provide control over day to day life and protection from abuse and neglect. A home or suitable living accommodation can enable participation in work or education, social interactions and family relationships.

15.59 In relation to housing, a local authority can make an important contribution to an individual’s wellbeing, for example by providing and signposting information that allows people to address care and support needs through specific housing related support services, or through joint planning and commissioning that enables local authorities to provide (or arrange for the provision of) housing and care services or housing adaptations to meet the needs of the local population.’

These principles may be relevant to vulnerable groups in the accommodation placements offered to them by the LHA. It is envisaged with the HRA 2017 that joint working will be such that difficulties will be identified early on. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage housing authorities being able to allocate suitable accommodation without such joint working.

 

 

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September 17, 2021

Local Government - new starter guide

The following LexisNexis practice note is aimed at trainee solicitors and those who are new to Local Government and explains the role of local government lawyers and provides an overview of the primary legal disciplines they will encounter.
September 07, 2021

Homelessness and eligibility

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Iris Ferber of 42 Bedford Row, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the eligibility of applicants for housing assistance.
September 03, 2021

What is climate change litigation?

The following LexisNexis Environment practice note produced in partnership with Katharina Theil of Leigh Day and Richard Lord QC of Brick Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information on the rise of climate change related litigation.
August 27, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - Local Authority Duties in Intercountry Adoption

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Ruth Cabeza, barrister and author of the text, International Adoption, from Harcourt Chambers and Joy Hopkinson, Principal Social Care Lawyer from London Borough of Lambeth, discuss the issues for local authorities dealing with overseas placements both in a private and public law context.
August 26, 2021

Gambling law: at-a-glance guide

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Carl Rohsler of Memery Crystal provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the legal issues most pertinent to the gambling industry.
August 19, 2021

Delivering 21st-century customer experience in the public sector

Rachel Buchanan examines how legal teams should support their authorities in delivering tailored services at a time of restrained resources.
August 05, 2021

The Public Law Outline 2014

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the operation of the Public Law Outline 2014 during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
July 29, 2021

IR35 and off-payroll workers

The following LexisNexis Tax practice note, produced in partnership with David Smith of DLA Piper, explains the IR35 regime which applies where either a public authority or a private sector entity engages a worker via an intermediary.
July 22, 2021

Food advertising

This LexisNexis Practice Note, produced in partnership with Katrina Anderson of Osborne Clarke, considers the law and practice applicable to food advertising to consumers.
July 15, 2021

CQC enforcement tracker

This Practice Note from LexisNexis provides a summary of key prosecutions for health and social care offences brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England since 2015. This tracker is intended to assist practitioners in monitoring the type of sentences which are being imposed for breaches of health and social care legislation.
July 09, 2021

Good faith in commercial agreements

The following Commercial practice note from LexisNexis examines the concept of good faith and the extent to which it is applied in commercial agreements.
June 28, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - Climate Change

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: What are the legal powers that local authorities can use to fight climate change and what legal obstacles do they face? Rachel McKoy, Stephen Cirell, Richard Honey QC and James Lupton consider the problems.
June 18, 2021

Possession - anti-social behaviour, nuisance and crime

This Local Government practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the options available to social housing landlords when taking possession proceedings against tenants engaged in anti-social behaviour.
June 11, 2021

Unlawful eviction and quiet enjoyment

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Laura Tweedy of Hardwicke Chambers explains what unlawful eviction is, how and when it may arise from a civil and criminal perspective, the civil remedies available and potential consequential causes of action, in particular a breach of a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.
June 04, 2021

Anti-social behaviour - powers to control behaviour

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the powers available under The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
May 28, 2021

Introduction to public contracts procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Katherine Calder of DAC Beachcroft, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information providing an introduction to public contracts procurement.
May 21, 2021

Housing disrepair for local authority landlords - a practical guide

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Alexander Bastin of Hardwicke Chambers, discusses disrepair claims in relation to social housing, setting out the legal basis for a claim and other the relevant factors that need to be considered.
April 16, 2021

Education tracker

This Local Government practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering key upcoming developments of interest to Education lawyers from early years foundation stage (EFYS) to further and higher education.
April 09, 2021

Vulnerable persons - participation and evidence in family proceedings

The following Family practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the participation of vulnerable people and evidence in family proceedings.
March 31, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - implications for property

The following Property practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the implications for landlords of the Covid-19 pandemic.
March 19, 2021

Brexit - key legislation explained

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Dr. Kieran Laird of Gowling WLG provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the key legislation governing Brexit.
March 12, 2021

Transparency in the family courts

Ths following Family practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering recent developments in the transparency of family court proceedings.
March 05, 2021

Use of confidential information in civil proceedings

This Dispute Resolution Practice Note from LexisNexis looks at the status and use of confidential information in civil proceedings including what confidential information is, how to protect confidential information and how confidentiality may be lost.
February 18, 2021

Brexit Timeline Tracker

This Practice Note sets out a timeline of key events and updates in the post-transition period, focussing in particular on the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and associated agreements.
February 11, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Children’s Social Care Tracker

This tracker is focused on children’s social care and is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and children’s social care, where relevant to local government lawyers.
February 05, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Healthcare Tracker

This tracker is focused on healthcare and is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and healthcare.
January 29, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Governance Tracker

This tracker from LexisNexis Local Government intended to be used to track the most recent key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) local authority governance, where relevant to local government lawyers.
January 21, 2021

Data protection under the EU GDPR

The following Information Law precedent from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering data protection after the final withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
January 14, 2021

Commencing criminal proceedings - applying for the issue of a summons

The following Corporate Crime practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the correct procedure for bring a criminal prosecution.
December 18, 2020

Education tracker

This Lexis®PSL Local Government future developments tracker is intended to be used to track key upcoming developments of interest to education lawyers covering the entire spectrum of education from early years foundation stage (EFYS) to further and higher education.
December 11, 2020

Termination for breach of contract

The following LexisNexis Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the identification and the process and implications of ending a contract due to breach.
December 03, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – implications for property

The following Property practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the implications for commercial and residential property of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
November 27, 2020

Local Government Brexit tracker

This tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to Brexit relevant to local government lawyers. It is arranged alphabetically by topic and is designed to provide an easy reference point for relevant content for lawyers to support preparation for and implementation of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
November 20, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Managing the Workplace

The following LexisNexis Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management of workplaces during the Coronavirus pandemic.
October 22, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Social Care Tracker

This LexisNexis tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to COVID-19, where relevant to social care lawyers.
October 16, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - local government tracker

This LexisNexis tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to COVID-19, where relevant to local government lawyers.
October 09, 2020

The Planning White Paper

LexisNexis looks at the government's proposals for a ‘whole new planning system for England’ in White Paper published for consultation, alongside interim reforms.
October 02, 2020

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The following LexisNexis Public Law guidance note, produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
September 25, 2020

Housing disrepair for local authority landlords - a practical guide

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Alexander Bastin of Hardwicke, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for local authorities covering all aspects of dealing with disrepair issues.
September 17, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This Employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering employment law issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
September 11, 2020

Introduction to Public Contracts Procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Walker Morris, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering public contracts procurement, including the impact of Brexit.
September 04, 2020

Guide to Care Act 2014 repeals

The following LexisNexis Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering repealed legislation (in whole or in part), secondary legislation revoked (in whole or in part), relevant new secondary legislation and statutory guidance and directions cancelled.
August 21, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the grounds on which and steps required to obtain possession of a secure tenancy.
August 14, 2020

Obstruction of highways

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox Solicitors, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering a wide variety of circumstances in which public highways may be obstructed and what measures are available to councils to deal with them.
August 07, 2020

LexisNexis Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index: Quantifying legal demand growth and the impact of COVID-19

LexisNexis has built a data model to track growth in demand for legal services – the Gross Legal Product Index, or GLP. The report provides a framework for quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on your sector.
July 31, 2020

COVID-19: What’s worrying lawyers?

Elizabeth Rimmer of LawCare examines some of the issues encountered by lawyers when working remotely during the pandemic.
June 19, 2020

The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) - practice and procedure

This Property Disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
June 12, 2020

Quick guide to landlord’s remedies for breach of lease

The following property disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for commercial landlords.
June 05, 2020

The Public Law Outline 2014

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on key aspects of procedure and the PLO 2014 for public children proceedings.
May 07, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the powers available to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
May 01, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to close premises under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information outlining the powers available to local authorities to close premises where anti-social behaviour is taking place.
Coronavirus Hand sanitizer 146x219
April 24, 2020

Coronavirus – What’s the impact on the legal profession?

With Coronavirus dominating the news and the majority of Europe now entering different stages of lockdown due to the rise in uncertainties about the virus, LexisNexis has rounded up its latest articles discussing the pandemic.
Human Rights 96780326 s 146x219
April 23, 2020

Why is advancing the rule of law so important?

Have you ever considered your human rights? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines our various rights under the law, the most basic being: “We are all equal before the law."But, is this really the case?
April 16, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This following employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information on employment law changes caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Roadworks 54101373 s 146x219
February 28, 2020

Road traffic – order procedure notices

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering road traffic orders, regulations, procedures and the powers available to local authorities.
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
February 13, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

Produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, this LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the range of tenancy types for social housing and the processes involved in obtaining possession for each.
February 06, 2020

Local authority social care duties

The following Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Ros Ashcroft of DAC Beachcroft and Stephanie Townley of Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering local authority duties towards social care.
January 31, 2020

Houses in multiple occupation

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management, licensing and definition of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
December 13, 2019

Granting assured and assured shorthold tenancies

This practice note from LexisNexis explains the criteria for assured tenancies (AT) and assured shorthold tenancies (AST) and the exceptions to those criteria, the main terms of AT and ASTs, the position regarding succession, and summarises a landlord’s obligations in respect of energy efficiency, gas safety and other health and safety obligations, right to rent and tenancy deposits.
December 05, 2019

Assignment and succession of tenancy

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the circumstances in which social housing tenancies can be transferred to another tenant.
November 29, 2019

Powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This guidance note provides a comprehensive and up to date overview of powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Reform of anti-social behaviour powers (2014), Part 1 Civil Injunctions and Part 2 Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).
Missiles 91309216 s. 146x219
October 11, 2019

Exploring the court’s power to block sale of arms to Saudi Arabia

Sue Willman, senior partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn, analyses the case of R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Amnesty International and others intervening) and its implications for UK arms trade.
Airport travel 3160566 640
October 11, 2019

Court rejects challenges to Heathrow expansion

Charles Streeten, barrister at Francis Taylor Building, explains how the court came to reject the claims for judicial review of the Heathrow runway expansion in R (on the application of Spurrier) v Secretary of State for Transport and other cases.
Housing family 96709182 s
October 04, 2019

Exploring the limits of public authority’s liability for children

Duncan Fairgrieve and Jim Duffy, barristers at 1 Crown Office Row, examine the Supreme Court’s decision in Poole Borough Council v GN and another that the respondent local authority did not owe a common law duty of care to exercise its functions under the Children Act 1989 to protect the appellants, who were children of a family which it had housed, from harm at the hands of anti-social neighbours.
Dead end road 32516564 s 146x219
October 04, 2019

Abandoning a procurement exercise - when can a contracting authority extinguish a challenge?

Lucy James looks at the legal effect of a decision to abandon a procurement exercise and whether it extinguishes an accrued cause of action a bidder may have against a contracting authority for breaches of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 SI 2015/102 (PCR 2015).
Education cuts 93374247 s 146x219
August 23, 2019

‘Funding crisis’ - a detailed look at the funding shortage in UK schools

According to campaigners, more than 200 schools in England are cutting their school weeks short due to funding shortages. This raises questions over legal ramifications and the responsibility of the government. Jean Tsang, associate at Bates Wells and governor of a maintained primary school, addresses these questions and looks at the worrying effects of this ‘funding crisis’ on the ‘most vulnerable children’ in the educational system.
Cost cutting 21525611 s 146x219
August 16, 2019

Judicial review challenge over closure of children’s centres defeated by local authority

The case R (on the application of L, an infant (by his mother and litigation friend)) v Buckinghamshire County Council represents the first time when the High Court considered in detail the meaning of the ‘sufficiency duty’ in section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006 (ChA 2006) in the context of whether a council’s consultation on the closure of a number of children’s centres was unlawful or not. James Goudie QC examines the background to and the practical implications of the judgment.
Market 25240022 s 146x219
August 09, 2019

How does a local authority establish a market?

The LexisPSL team outline the powers available to local authorities looking to establish a new market.
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August 02, 2019

Forced academisation of schools - is resistance futile?

What are the circumstances which lead to a school being forced to become an academy, and is there anything that can be done to stop it happening? Katie Michelon provides an overview of the forced academisation process, and explains the options available to schools, parents and local authorities when faced with the possibility of an Academy Order.
Plane passenger plane 19469 640 pixabay
June 13, 2019

Home or away?

Katherine Illsley outlines how a local authority should approach the situation where a parent to be assessed for the purposes of public children care lives in another jurisdiction.
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June 07, 2019

Tenant Fees Act 2019 - government guidance

The government recently published guidance on the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA 2019). Robin Stewart and David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors look at some of the key questions relating to the guidance, including enforcement, penalties and some controversial aspects such as guidance pertaining to payment of damages.
Choice 33452110 s 146x219
June 07, 2019

How should the courts approach cases with an ‘open’ pool of possible perpetrators?

Chris Stevenson, barrister at Fourteen, examines the Court of Appeal’s decision in Re B (children: uncertain perpetrator) to allow a father’s appeal against a Family Court judge’s finding that he was within a pool of possible perpetrators responsible for sexually transmitting gonorrhoea to three of his children (registration required).
Planning 146x219
May 24, 2019

Court of Appeal finds permissive housing policies can restrict development elsewhere

In Gladman Developments Ltd v Canterbury City Council [2019] EWCA Civ 669, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by developer Gladman against the decision of the High Court to quash planning permission granted on appeal for a residential development on a site not allocated for development, not on previously developed land, and outside the existing built-up area.
Child safety gate 36045624 s 146x219
May 24, 2019

Safety first?

Daljit Kaur looks at the implications for disability discrimination of a case concerning a nursery-age child prevented from accessing provision over 15 hours.
UK map 66823434 s 146x219
May 17, 2019

The changing landscape of local authority Trading Standards prosecutions?

Richard Heller considers the potential impact of Qualter and others v Crown Court at Preston [2019] EWHC 906 (Admin) could have on the way regional Trading Standards services investigate and prosecute criminal offences (registration required).
Child removal iStock 000007583512XSmall 146x219
May 17, 2019

Wish they weren't here?

Can a parent with parental responsibility object to their child, who is subject to an interim care order, being taken on holiday by their foster parents?
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
May 10, 2019

Exploring the new guidance on greater protections from rogue landlords

Jason Hobday, associate at Womble Bond Dickinson, discusses the implications of recent government guidance documents which intend to enforce greater protections from rogue landlords (registration required).
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May 09, 2019

Court finds judge in Uber licensing case was not biased

Philip Kolvin QC examines the High Court’s decision in R (United Cabbies Group) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court to dismiss the claimant’s application for judicial review of a district judge’s grant of an operator’s licence for London private hire vehicles to the third interested party, Uber.
Housing timer 45568205 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

End of the road?

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the Court of Appeal's decision on waiving offers of alternative accommodation and the lawfulness of an earlier review decision on a subsequent homelessness appplication in Godson v London Borough of Enfield [2019] EWCA Civ 486.
Council Tax 89947548 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

Court rejects implied duty to report change of address for council tax purposes (R v D)

Samuel Genen, solicitor at Steel & Shamash, comments on the case of R v D [2019] EWCA Crim 209 where the Court of Appeal ruled that a failure to notify the local council of a change of address for the purpose of council tax did not constitute a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006 (FrA 2006). (Registration required)
Evidence in Foreign Courts 71283762 s 146x219
March 22, 2019

Is it in the best interests of a child to give evidence in a foreign trial?

Katherine Duncan explains how the court, in Re X, carried out a balancing exercise in determining whether a child, who was ward of the court, should be permitted to travel out of the jurisdiction to give evidence at a foreign criminal trial.
High Courts inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults 95112860 s 146x219
March 15, 2019

High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults

The case of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Meyers [2019] EWHC 399 (Fam) highlights the wide and largely unfettered nature of the power to grant injunctive relief under the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults and the difficulty surrounding the issue of how the balance should be struck between protection of a person on grounds of vulnerability and respect for their autonomy, writes Bethan Harris.