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Friday, March 31, 2017


Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald.. 'kebabed'

We still repeatedly hear of homeless people attending the Peterborough City Council offices, and being fobbed off, told to come back again, at a different time, even a different  day...  Paul Staintons' excellent 'Big Conversation' morning show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire has had a few goes at it, and even memorably 'kebabed' Cllr Fitz. on the issues..  

However you feel about the way Peterborough handles its homeless population  (and despite what the council says it is growing, just look at the nightly queue in the coach park behind The Brewery Tap waiting for the mobile Soup Kitchen to open its doors) are Council Housing Officers and social workers deliberately cutting corners leading to accusations of 'fobbing off'?

Cllr. Wayne Fitzgerald seems to be leading the charge and is increasingly vocal in his quest to clear Peterborough City centre of overnight rough sleepers, but is the councillor really being fair? Does he understand what is legally required of the council and its officers?  

This recent decision by the Local Government Ombudsman, recounted on the Nearly Legal website should be carefully considered by all Peterborough  Councillors and all who come into contact with the homeless.

Homeless people have the right of appeal, but if they are denied their initial rights and the written Sect. 184 documentation, as set out below, it makes the process for them nearly impossible.

A reminder, if one were needed by councils (and Barnet is far from alone in this practice), that a section 184 decision in writing must be issued on all homeless applications (and that homeless applications are not dependant on having the right forms and documents completed first).
Ms A was homeless and so approached the Council for help. This triggered a duty to investigate whether it should provide accommodation. The Council provided some advice and referrals to a charity which could have housed Ms A in the private sector and a hostel place under the SWEP.

But it failed to issue a written decision although legally required to do so. This is fault. As a consequence, Ms A was denied review and appeal rights to which she was legally entitled. She potentially lost out on interim accommodation.

Barnet recommended to pay £300 compensation to Ms A and £200 to her father for his trouble in bringing the complaint.

Barnet to review this report and ensure that in future homeless applications are taken and decision letters are issued in all appropriate cases.

After receiving the decision, Barnet had apologise and found Ms A temporary accommodation.

Just too much effort… Barnet and homeless applications

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a quite withering decision on a complaint about Barnet Council’s failure to make a formal decision on repeated homeless applications by a homeless woman.

The woman became homeless in January 2015 after eviction by a private landlord and approached Barnet.

Barnet provided her with a place in a hostel for three nights, but simply told her that they didn’t have to assist her.

No section 184 decision was issued.

She approached the council a further four times over the following 15 months, but on each occasion she was told she was not a priority need and just given advice on contacting charities for support. 

No section 184 decision was issued on any of these occasions.

During this period, the woman was street homeless over the winter months, and spent nights sofa surfing with friends or sleeping on the night bus. At one point she was hospitalised for 10 days due to a severe asthma attack.

As no section 184 decision had been provided, no section 202 review request could be made.

Whether Barnet’s view that the woman was not in priority need was accurate or not, she had no means of challenging it. E&OE Tel:+44 (0) 1733 345581 > PETERBOROUGH TRIB NEWSREEL .
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THE HIGH COURT has ruled....People have a right to lampoon and criticise politicians and public officials under the Human Rights Act, the High Court has ruled.

We have the full High Court judgment, saved as a page on here. l

ampoon (lampoon) Pronunciation: /lamˈpuːn/ verb [with object] publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm: the actor was lampooned by the press noun a speech or text lampooning someone or something: the magazine fired at God, Royalty, and politicians, using cartoons and lampoons.

Derivatives: lampooner noun lampoonery noun lampoonist noun Origin: mid 17th century: from French lampon, said to be from lampons 'let us drink' (used as a refrain), from lamper 'gulp down', nasalized form of laper 'to lap (liquid).


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