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Archive for July, 2008

Solicitor wanted…

I’ve pretty much spent the whole of today trying to find a solicitor who could assist with a Judicial review in regards to Council’s failure to offer suitable accommodation under 188 and also if necessary Social Services failure to assist under the National Assistance Act 1948.

Whilst I have good relations with the 2 solicitors in my area (a rather large area) they aren’t overly helpful when it comes to clients who can’t visit. Shelter also require the legal help form to be signed before assisting…

It’s rather an embarrassing situation and shows the weakness in having to rely on out of house referrals.  

Ho hum, anyone willing to lend us a few quid so I can become a solicitor myself? 🙂

That or does a solicitor want to take my job for a pittance a year?

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Kitten chased down by Council workers

Kitten chased down by Council workers

 

Today I had

‘Your client doesn’t have a priority need for accommodation because he has a dog’

My Local Authority needs to think of the kittens.

Please feel free to share any tales of similar stupid kitten killing advice provided by a Local Authority.

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War or Peace?

* Warning ramble rating 8/10

Tonight a disabled man is walking the streets. Tonight a man who should have been accommodated under section 188 of the Housing Act 1996 has no roof over his head. Tommorrow he should have accommodation following Judicial review but tonight he has none (trying to find a solicitor at 4.30 isn’t that easy and a story for another day).

The reasons are multitude but ultimately they boil down to a Local Authority deliberately misadvising this man, deliberately not providing him the assistance that he is entitled to.  I believe that their actions amount to malfeasance. I don’t use that term lightly. I believe that my Local Authority and undoubtedly many others deliberately decide not to assist people and as a result those people suffer an injury.

From Shelter to the CAB to Law Centres we all know that gatekeeping, malfeasance, nonfeasance and maladministration are all growing problems. I would ask anyone from any advice agency who thinks they are not to speak up.

So what is to be done?  Should anything be done?

Personally I would rather like my Local Authority to stop thinking that they can change the law to suit them in the pursuit of better statistics. The head of our Local Authority department was recently promoted to ‘chief statistic fiddler’. As a result of his pursuit of  better statistics many many homeless people were denied the help they were entitled to, his reward, a promotion of course!

 I have tried (well been actively persuaded to try) the diplomatic approach.

This doesn’t work and this time I would challenge anyone to say whether it does.

I want, deeply want to declare war, I should be free and independent to do so. I work at a CAB for gods sake but I’m not free. I know that should I batter the Local Authorities housing department into submission ,and I think I could, then the CAB will suffer as funding has a way of being withdrawn and as a result others will suffer.

What to do?

Get another job I guess.

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Doherty v Birmingham CC

Here’s the link. Enjoy.

A lot to digest. Will try and link to various summaries when they are out.

1. Nearly Legal’s summary of the case. First prize to him 🙂

2. Arden Chamber’s eflash on Doherty

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Hove's affordable housing prospects look bad...

 

As property investors run for the hills or back to their towers to count their remaining pennies so another grand housing development looks like it’s going up in smoke.

 

 *

 

 

 

Whilst the redevelopment of the King Alfred Centre was never particuarly popular and the company behind it, Karis, may have been somewhat dodgy it would have provided about 300 affordable homes.

Although the definition of affordable has been shown to be a rather elastic to say the least this news helps highlight just how flimsy the Government’s reliance on private finance to help meet the demand for affordable housing is.

Still I’m sure the NIMBYists will be happy.

 * As you can see I never took GCSE art.

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Hat tip to Nearly for giving me the final push I needed for this post.

As many Local Authorities try to outdo each other in regards to unlawfully refusing to assist people who are seeking assistance with their homelessness under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 I thought that their efforts should be recognised with an award.

It was a tricky decision as to who should be the recipient of the first award. Could it be Lambeth for their outstanding achievements in the field of administrative incompetence which led to the delay in processing large numbers of homeless applications? hrm well such incompetence is nothing really new and at least those involved had actually got to make a homeless application so no prize for them.

Could it be Cardiff  County Council for their inability to understand the concept of homelessness and the resultant failure to take a homeless application at the right time? Hrm well in mitigation they were rather honest to ombudsman in stating they were focused on homelessness prevention so no prize for them either.

Could it be Haringey for their new take on the English language which led to the refusal to place a lady and her 2 month old child into emergency accommodation? Yup I’ve decided for having the audacity to actually take a homeless application but then say you still don’t have ‘reason to believe they may be homeless’  and even trying to back this stance up AFTER taking advice from so called Counsel (Counsel who I think should be forced to watch Max Mosley having his bottom shaved for all eternity).

Haringey come up trumps
Haringey come up trumps

So here you Haringey. The House award for truely outstanding maladministration in the field of Housing Law.

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Fear the Revolution?

So then according to A4e a ‘Revolution in Legal Advice’ had landed in Leicester.
Being a fan of overthrowing unpopular regimes I felt I should perhaps read more. My mind was made up when i saw a picture of 4 terribly happy men holding up the figure 1250. What was this mystical figure and why were they so happy with it?
My answer I thought lay here.   

So good so far… but what about my 1250. Perhaps the next paragraph will give me clues.   

The centre is already a run away success story for City of Leicester. Advisors at the centre have given over 1250 people life changing advice, that’s means 1 out of 20 people have already received the legal advice that they needed.’

What the hell does 1 out of 20 people have already received the legal advice they needed actually mean? Maybe I should read on for clues as it might help explain why 1250 makes at least 4 apparently important people very happy.

‘In Leicester, it is estimated that there are 27,000 people each year who need legal advice. Research shows that across the UK, around 33% of people have legal problems and one million problems go unsolved each year.’

Hrm well the population of people over 19 (as I presume under 18’s don’t count and I don’t have figures for 18 year olds) in Leceister is about 200968. 33% of this would be 66319. Where therefore does 27,000 come from then? Does it mean that only 27000 out of these 66319 people are CLS eligible?

Hrm could it be that 1 in 20 means that 1 in 20 of these 27000 people have already received help? Hrm well 1 in 20 of 27000 people is 2250 so there goes that idea.

All in all then I’m at a loss as to why this 1250 is so jolly exciting. 1250 people helped*  without any sort of context appears to be just rather meaningless spin. Seeing as A4e has grown up being a bed chum of New Labour can we be that suprised at such tactics?

* I say helped but without any sort of published client feedback who knows if all these people agreed they were actually helped

 

 

 

 

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