Forbes Solicitors
Housing and Regeneration eNews

February 2022

What are the Housing Aspects of the Levelling Up White Paper?

The government has recently published its flagship Levelling Up White Paper, a plan which sets out 12 "missions" that the government will aim to achieve by 2030. The most relevant mission affecting the housing sector is "By 2030, renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the government's ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas."

What does Levelling up actually mean?

Levelling up should improve standard of living across the country and it should help every place reach its "productivity potential". It is described as a moral, social and economic programme for the whole of the government. One of its main objectives is to spread opportunity across the country more equally.

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Getting in Early - The Role of Mediation in Achieving Successful ASB Case Outcomes

Early intervention is key to tackling Anti-Social Behaviour. As practitioners, it is important that we explore and have access to the full range of options before considering legal enforcement action. Mediation is undoubtedly one of these options however, the timing of referrals is critical to achieving positive outcomes as part of a consistent approach.

Getting both parties to engage with each other when a dispute or disagreement is in its infancy can make all the difference in terms of addressing community tensions, avoiding legal costs and freeing up staff resources.


ICO Enforcement over Subject Access Request Backlog

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has recently received an Enforcement Notice from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) following a substantial backlog of subject access requests described by the ICO as being of "significant concern". The ICO has found that the MoJ failed to adequately respond to nearly 7,800 subject access requests (SARs), resulting in the Information Commissioner issuing a formal Enforcement Notice against the department.

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Fourth time lucky? Gove's plan to fix the Cladding Crisis

In January Michael Gove gave a fully funded plan of action to allegedly 'fix' the cladding crisis. Gove warned the residential property developer industry that he will take all steps necessary to make it happen, including imposing legal solutions, to make developers pay. The Government also announced further measures to protect leaseholders and 'restore common sense' to building safety regulations.

The plan gives the industry until early March to agree to a fully funded plan of action including remediating unsafe cladding on 11-18 metre tall buildings, estimated to be at a cost of £4 billion. Gove asks the companies to make financial contributions to remediate unsafe cladding on 11-18 metre tall buildings, fund and undertake all necessary remediation of buildings over 11 meters which they have helped develop, and provide comprehensive information on all buildings over 11 meters which have historical safety defects which they have played a part in developing in the last 30 years. Further, developers must ensure that they are proactive in remediation and prioritise those at greater risk to ensure that buildings are safe.

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Join us on International Women's Day for a zoom webinar looking at the Safety of Women in Neighbourhoods and how Registered Providers can play a key role.

  • Introduction & Welcome – Darren Burton (Head of Housing Consultancy – Forbes Solicitors)
  • How the strategic vision of Housing Providers and effective customer engagement can help to address Domestic Abuse in our neighbourhoods (Kelly Henderson – Managing Director – Addressing Domestic Abuse CIC)
  • A Spotlight on Stalking & Coercive Control in Northern Ireland (Kelly Andrews – CEO – Women’s Aid Belfast)
  • Identifying gaps in partnership working linked to historic societal perceptions of women in the Republic of Ireland – Trina O’Connor (Criminologist, Lecturer & Social Commentator – Dublin)
  • Collaborative Approaches between Housing Providers and The Third Sector - Darren Burton (Head of Housing Consultancy – Forbes Solicitors)
  • The role of the Local Authority when addressing Domestic Abuse – Wakefield Council
  • Questions
  • Close

Click here to book your place

Forbes' Employment Team - Tribunal work for Registered Providers

Aside from the provision of routine advice to our clients, the Employment team at Forbes has significant experience in working with housing associations on specific projects, including running grievance and disciplinary investigations, and advising on each stage throughout restructures. We also support clients in defending tribunal claims and providing legal advice and representation throughout the proceedings.

In our experience, we are able to add the most value where we are involved in the process before a claim is issued, for example at the disciplinary stage.

We take away the burden that a tribunal claim brings as we manage the full process at all stages; including the preparation of a defence, the drafting of robust witness statements and provision of support to witnesses, regular updates on prospects of success and the value of the claim, a costs benefit analysis around settlement and dealing with settlement negotiations.

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A boost to supported housing needs

In December the Government published their Social Care White Paper which sets out the Government's plans to address adult social care issues over the next 10 years. A key component is to plunge "at least" £300m into supported housing between 2022 and 2026, at a time when "we do not have enough supported housing to keep pace with demand and we are not building enough to close the gap" according to the White Paper.

What is Supported Housing?

Supported housing is accommodation provided to adults who require additional support and assistance to live as independently as possible. People who benefit from supported housing are older people, people with learning or physical disabilities, people recovering from substance addition, people fleeing domestic abuse. Supported housing can assist the most vulnerable in society.

Unfortunately, supply has been unable to keep up with demand with the need for housing and services is estimated to increase by 125,000 by the end of the decade.

Whilst house building is on the increase according to government figures, the proportion of those in the social housing sector has fallen for to its lowest level since 2015/2016.


Implied term that a disciplinary process will be conducted fairly?

Burn v Alder Hey Children's NHS Hospital saw a claim brought by an employee seeking an injunction preventing her employer moving forward with the disciplinary process she was subject to, until an issue of disclosure was dealt with. The claimant considered that a contractual right to see correspondence relating to a disciplinary procedure extended to all documentation relating to the investigation.

What was interesting were some observations made by two of the Court of Appeal's judges who stated that they had strong provisional views that it could be possible for the implied duty of trust and confidence to be implied into a disciplinary process. In particular, Underhill LJ made it clear that whilst there "may not on the orthodox view be a general duty on an employer to act fairly in all contexts, such a term is very readily implied in the context of disciplinary processes."

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Spotlight on....

Alice McKenna

Role: Solicitor in the Employment Team 

My Role: Employment Solicitor, supporting clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including day to day HR queries, dealing with investigations, disciplinaries and grievances, preparing settlement agreements and defending employment tribunal claims

Qualifications: Law LLB from the University of Liverpool; LLM in Professional Legal Practice from the University of Law, Manchester; Solicitor. 

Three words that describe me: Ambitious, Team Player, Organised 

Hobbies and Interests:  Exploring the great outdoors with my English Shepherd called Charlie & going to the gym

Favourite Food and drink or Funny fact about yourself: A roast dinner with all the trimmings and a glass of red!

Upcoming event

Social Housing ASB Training - Autism

30th March -10.30am

Join Kirsty Varley, Partner in Forbes' ASB Team online on Wednesday 30th March from 10.30am until 11.15am when she will be looking at autism, with information and background on the condition, how it can manifest in relationships with others and hints and tips to help housing providers who may have customers with a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum

To book your free place, please click here.

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