Homeless Service Temporary Accommodation Policy 2018-2021.

Waiting for an internal review by Dumfries and Galloway Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

The document, Dumfries and Galloway Council Homeless Service Temporary Accommodation Policy, is dated April 2018. Will you please provide the following information in relation to this:

1) What training have the officers in the Homeless Service had to date which covers the contents of this document?

2) Have all officers in this service received training in the Council's Policy?

3) How many appeals were received concerning allocation of temporary accommodation in the period since this document was issued, or written up to 31 January 2019? What was the outcome of these appeals?

4) When are clients informed that they can appeal an offer of temporary accommodation at the appropriate time? Information in my possession is that people are not being told they can appeal and to put the reasons in writing.

5) How many people refused temporary accommodation from April 2019 to 31 January 2019? How many people put the refusal in writing? How many refusals were notified to the Scottish Government on form HL3 return up to 31 January 2019? The advice is that people are not informed they must put a refusal in writing as is required.

6) What record is kept of the Health and Safety checks, plus Risk Assessment, which are required to be undertaken before an offer of temporary accommodation is made to someone? Who reviews these in order to decide if a property is suitable?

7) It is a requirement that the provisions of The Equality Act 2010 are "taken into account for clients in minority groups". Who is responsible for considering this requirement and what records are maintained to ensure it is met? Information held is that people who have certain needs are told they have to put up with whatever they are given, irrespective of suitability, or access needs.

8) In deciding the location of temporary accommodation officers are supposed to take into account the accessibility of services, shops, doctors, dentists, advice agencies and a support network. All of these are required to be accessible on foot or by public transport. What is the location of temporary accommodation is allocated to people with disabilities, mobility problems, elderly people etc, how do officers ensure these requirements are met? How is it someone who is elderly, has a disability and mobility problems can be offered a property 20 miles from their support network and social needs with no services as listed above?

Having read the document and with some knowledge of the Homeless service, it is clear that this Policy is not being operated by officers in the Homeless Service. Are they even aware of this?

Yours faithfully,

Richard Page

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 18/02/2019 which we are dealing with in terms of the above legislation. We have given your request the unique reference 390913 and we would appreciate it if you could quote this on all correspondence to us.

Under the terms of the legislation, we have an obligation to respond to your request within 20 working days from the day after your request was received. We will therefore aim to respond to your request by 18/03/2019.

Please be aware that, in some circumstances, a fee may be payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information you have requested. If this is the case, a fees notice will be issued, which would need to be paid in order to progress your request.

If your request for information is considered and deemed as a 'business as usual' request, it will be responded to by the appropriate Service within the Council.

If you have any queries in the meantime, please contact [email address].

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

Any email message sent or received by the Council may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Please find below the Council's response to your request 390913 which was received on 18/02/2019.

Details of request: The document, Dumfries and Galloway Council Homeless Service Temporary Accommodation Policy, is dated April 2018. Will you please provide the following information in relation to this:

1) What training have the officers in the Homeless Service had to date which covers the contents of this document?

2) Have all officers in this service received training in the Council's Policy?

3) How many appeals were received concerning allocation of temporary accommodation in the period since this document was issued, or written up to 31 January 2019? What was the outcome of these appeals?

4) When are clients informed that they can appeal an offer of temporary accommodation at the appropriate time? Information in my possession is that people are not being told they can appeal and to put the reasons in writing.

5) How many people refused temporary accommodation from April 2019 to 31 January 2019? How many people put the refusal in writing? How many refusals were notified to the Scottish Government on form HL3 return up to 31 January 2019? The advice is that people are not informed they must put a refusal in writing as is required.

6) What record is kept of the Health and Safety checks, plus Risk Assessment, which are required to be undertaken before an offer of temporary accommodation is made to someone? Who reviews these in order to decide if a property is suitable?

7) It is a requirement that the provisions of The Equality Act 2010 are "taken into account for clients in minority groups". Who is responsible for considering this requirement and what records are maintained to ensure it is met? Information held is that people who have certain needs are told they have to put up with whatever they are given, irrespective of suitability, or access needs.

8) In deciding the location of temporary accommodation officers are supposed to take into account the accessibility of services, shops, doctors, dentists, advice agencies and a support network. All of these are required to be accessible on foot or by public transport. What is the location of temporary accommodation is allocated to people with disabilities, mobility problems, elderly people etc, how do officers ensure these requirements are met? How is it someone who is elderly, has a disability and mobility problems can be offered a property 20 miles from their support network and social needs with no services as listed above?

Having read the document and with some knowledge of the Homeless service, it is clear that this Policy is not being operated by officers in the Homeless Service. Are they even aware of this?

Response:

Q1) The Temporary Accommodation Policy has been disseminated to relevant staff and has been discussed and reviewed at regular team meetings. Supervisors and Management provide guidance to staff where necessary.

(Q2) As per Q1

(Q3) This information is not currently recorded however, moving forward we will be recording this information.

(Q4) The procedure is that the client is informed of the right to appeal on receipt of a written refusal.

(Q5) For the period 1st April 2018 until 31st December 2018 there were 47 individual refusals of Temporary Accommodation across all of our accommodation types. A client may refuse accommodation for a range of reasons. We do not have a requirement to record the number of refusals we received in writing therefore we cannot provide this data. The procedure is that the client should be informed that the refusal should be given in writing.

(Q6) When a homeless application is taken from a client we discuss all medical needs and property requirements. This information is taken into consideration when clients are being matched to temporary accommodation. Dumfries & Galloway homeless service do try and meet the needs of every client however, we can only offer what we have available and it is not always possible to meet all the needs of each client.

(Q7) Dumfries & Galloway homeless service do try and meet the needs of every client however, we can only offer what we have available and it is not always possible to meet all the needs of each client. Diversity and Equality training is mandatory for all staff within the Service to develop the knowledge and skills they require to consider and promote equality. Staff recognise the general duty for their role, and how, in doing their role, they are expected to take equality matters into consideration and protect people in society who are most vulnerable to discrimination. Refresher training in Diversity and Equality is also available via on line learning for all staff.

(Q8) As Q7

Please be aware that the Council holds the copyright, where applicable, for the information provided and it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material not being used in a misleading context. The source of the material must be acknowledged as Dumfries and Galloway Council and the title of the document must be included when being reproduced as part of another publication or service.

If you require any further clarification, please contact us. However, if you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt with, you can request us to carry out an internal review of the decision by emailing [email address] or writing to us within 40 working days of receiving this response.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision. Appeals to the Commissioner can be made online at www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal or in writing to: The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS.

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

Any email message sent or received by the Council may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Dumfries and Galloway Council's handling of my FOI request 'Homeless Service Temporary Accommodation Policy 2018-2021.'.

Thank you for your response dated 13 March 2019.

It is clear that this fails to comply with the FOI Act as it doesn't provide all the information requested (amongst other things). The failures can be listed as follows:

Questions (1) and (2). Experience of someone known to me is that officers do not adhere to the requirements set out in the document issued by the council. They certainly do not implement the instructions given to them. What specific training did they have on the contents of this, provide dates and details?

Question (3) This is a false statement as people are not told of their rights of appeal at any time. The Homeless Service acts unlawfully in failing to advise people of the appeal procedure.

Question (4) The reality is that people are not given the appeal procedure information by the Homeless Service. This is unlawful.

Question (5) You do have a requirement to record the number of refusals received in writing as you are also required to send forms HL3 to the Scottish Government. It asked how many forms HL3 were sent and you have failed to address this.

Question (6) You have not provided information on the precise records of Health and Safety checks, or Risk Assessments that are required to be undertaken. Please give exact details together with copies of examples with personal information redacted if necessary.

Question (7) You have not stated who is responsible for considering the requirements of The Equality Act 2010. This is relevant as the requirements of this act are not adhered to at all by the Homeless Service.

Question (8) You have failed to provide the information requested.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...

Yours faithfully,

Richard Page

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org