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Industry News


Built to last


Reliable heating solutions are a primary requirement for Housing Associations and Local Authorities. As the most specified TRV in the UK, Terrier is the only choice - built to last.


SE councils ‘not informed’ about relocating homeless Londoners


C


ouncils in south east England say they are not being told when homeless families are relocated to accommodation in their areas by London boroughs who cannot house them in the capital. Some authorities say they are not given crucial information about


child-welfare concerns unless there were already formal child protection plans in place. Many councils say they are not told how many such families are in their patch, despite this being a breach of the 1996 Housing Act. Councils in south west Essex and north west Kent are among those


most badly affected. Thurrock Council which received 272 placements in 2015/16 explained in a letter to a London MP that notifications were either not being sent or were sometimes sent to the wrong person. Its near neighbour, Harlow Council (91 placements) said it received


information "on an ad hoc basis" and that it was not provided with details of the services families might need. Meanwhile in Kent, Gravesham (142 placements) said it was not made aware either of the numbers placed or of families' requirements. The problems stemming from the relocation of families includes


people not having access to a local GP and children not getting places in schools near to where they live – both issues resulting in long journeys for everyday living. The pressures on local services are magnified as a result of many families having multiple needs. Placements are sometimes being made at short notice, often into


private accommodation, but a BBC investigation found although councils have a duty to inform the receiving authority, a number said they were often not contacted.


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Threefold rise Local government bosses say councils are working to improve liaison but progress is patchy with more than 2,000 homeless families from London placed around the Home Counties in 2015/16 - a threefold rise on the number three years earlier. A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which speaks for


local authorities in England and Wales, said: "In some cases councils have little choice but to place families outside their local area. The LGA is helping councils work together to sensitively manage this." Kent County Council leader Paul Carter, who chairs the Kent Council


Leaders and County Councils Network, said the placements put considerable demand on services. He said: "We are keen to work closely with our London borough colleagues to reach common solutions and protocols to what is a strategic regional challenge." Other SE councils in the top ten for the most placements received in


2015/16 include: Medway with 179; Slough with 166; Luton with 165; Dartford with 133; Broxbourne with 125; Wycombe with 98 and Basildon with 88. A Kent local authority source said to the BBC that social services were


For more detailed information: FREE PHONE 0800 156 0010 email: uksales@pegleryorkshire.co.uk www.pegleryorkshire.co.uk


told about child welfare concerns only if formal action had been taken by the London borough. More informal concerns were not communicated, with some surfacing only when teachers in the receiving area raised them, the source added. Buckinghamshire County Council confirmed it was one of those not


being told about informal concerns. Anne Baxendale, a director of communications at Shelter, said: "It's vital councils stop cutting corners and always notify each other when families are moved like this, as per the law." The 1996 Housing Act requires councils that place families in another council area must notify that council in writing within 14 days.


10 | HMM July 2017 | www.housingmmonline.co.uk


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