Friday, 27 February 2015

Councils drop warden case appeals

Two councils which acted unlawfully in the way they drew up plans for the removal of live-in sheltered housing wardens have decided not to appeal.

Barnet and Portsmouth councils had been considering appealing the December judicial review ruling. Portsmouth had leave to apply for an appeal and Barnet was deciding whether to apply for permission. But now both councils have decided not go ahead.

Barnet council’s leader Lynne Hillan said it would ‘not be appropriate to appeal’. She said the council had been found to be remiss on ‘a legal point, though not on policy itself’. She said she would recommend to the council’s cabinet it should reinstate resident wardens in the 2010/11 council budget and ‘reconsider the way forward’.

She added: ‘Any future decision will take into account the need to target taxpayers’ financial support to those older people whose needs are greatest as well as ensuring that our service is delivered in the most effective way.’

Portsmouth council said it had decided not to appeal because the case might not be heard for months yet staff and residents needed certainty.

David Mearns, assistant housing manager at Portsmouth council, said the council would continue with a temporary sleep-in wardens service because all residents and members of the council had said they would be willing to pay collectively for the wardens at the seven affected schemes.

‘We will now be designing a new service, in close consultation with residents, which will aim to meet all residents’ needs throughout the night, not just the average three requests (per night) across the seven schemes that sleep-in staff will deal with,’ he said.

‘This is likely to be based on having at least one member of staff in each scheme, which will be balanced against the costs to residents. Once complete, this proposal will be reported to the housing executive.’

Before the judicial review in December last year, Barnet had planned to replace a resident warden service with floating support and alarms in several sheltered housing schemes.

Portsmouth had replaced the resident warden services with staff who visit the schemes at night to check on residents plus daytime wardens at each scheme.

The cases were the first in a series of judicial reviews being brought by solicitor Yvonne Hossack on behalf of residents in several sheltered housing schemes.

Readers' comments (4)

  • teddy mcnabb

    "on a legal point , but not on policy itself" does the poor lady not realise that the policy is the problem, hence the court case. beam me up spocky!

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  • Joe Halewood

    With two different outcomes however.

    Barnet, who were going to implement are now not so the resident wardens remain. Yet Portsmouth who did remove and found to be unlawful in doing so post facto are continuing with a temporary service and not reinstating!

    Have Portsmouth not learned from this judgment, I quote "This is likely to be based on having at least one member of staff in each scheme, which will be balanced against the costs to residents. Once complete, this proposal will be reported to the housing executive" - surely they will consult with tenants (and with the due regard the judgment discussed) first before reporting to the housing executive!!

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  • Portsmouth is going to end up like their football club at the moment, bottom of relegation zone. They would be foolish to even try a consultation with their tenants, because they will be booed just like their footbal club is. Unfortunately, unlike their football club trying to get out of trouble sacking a couple of managers late, no one is sacking the chief executive. Maybe tenants should go out en masse and picket until all directors are expelled.

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  • Kass - another well reasoned argument, with a sound legal base. Not sure you can "expel" staff - I think they have human rights protection, or something, as part of their employment contract but being the expert you'd know that. And I'm sure that if the tenants were so heartfelt about the situation they may well indeed take to the street, in a rampage of disgust.

    However, your analogy with Portsmouth FC did make me chuckle, so I applaud you for that at least!!

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