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Birmingham: "Everybody does it"


Apparently, Birmingham are still furious about the Court of Appeal decision in Aweys, with the Tory cabinet member for housing showing marked signs of not actually getting it.

In the course of a rant about the CLG offering ‘advisors’ to help with homeless at home duty, the delightful sounding John Lines said:

It is common practice across local authorities to use “homeless at home” to alleviate disruption to families and this practice is acknowledged, recorded and reported by Communities and Local Government.

John, it is unlawful. And any other Council engaging in this ‘common practice’ is acting unlawfully. That Birmingham may not be the only offender doesn’t make it any less, well, unlawful.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. the chief

    I take it you’ve googled him? He sounds an absolute charmer.

  2. Reg

    Charming? Maybe. I’ve never had the pleasure of his company. Bashful and medial shy? Certainly not.

    The Birmingham Post reported today that the Standards Board for England has ruled Cllr Lines did not break any code of conduct when he called asylum seekers scumbags. I quote:

    “The Standards Board decided Coun Lines had a right to freedom of speech and a right to be abusive, as long as he stayed within the law.

    Standards Board head of referrals Kathy Farrand said…freedom of speech did extend to abuse and that previous cases considered by the board’s ajudication panel and by the High Court indicated that conduct would have to be “quite extreme” before a failure to comply with the code of conduct would be found.”

    Check it:

    Aah, that’s all right then. Asylum seekers and the homeless in the second city shall no doubt sigh with relief and sleep well, knowing their housing department is being managed by a person with absolute probity.

  3. Mike McIlvaney

    Showing the same clarity and soundness of thought as Cllr Lines, Birmingham City Council has now petitioned the House of Lords for leave to appeal. Hey ho.

  4. J

    Surely they won’t get permission…

  5. housinganger

    Why have two stunning defeats when the taxpayer can pay for three.

    ‘Homeless at home’ has been going on for as long as I can remember (only about 12 years admittedly). I often wondered in my cynical moments just how homeless the often teenage girls I saw were with mums who didn’t mind them living at home until the got a part VI offer (which would take about 1 or 2).

    I loved seeing Birmingham getting battered. Now to try and do similar with the section 21 we can’t help till you’re evicted policy which,ironically, in my LA is making a lot of landlords who used to rent to tenants on HB not to want to anymore.

  6. Reg

    I notice there is a new blog by an “independent advisor” dedicated solely to failings at Birmingham City Council’s housing department:

    It appears a rather narrow focus for a blog, but perhaps there remains a deep rich vein of bungling still to be mined.

    Future posts are promised on “rat infested temporary accommodation” and “you have 8 weeks in which to expect a decision on your homelessness review, but we dont want to give you that, it will take us 8 months”.

  7. Reg

    Thought this blog was new, as the first entries were dated April, but on closer inspection its April 2007.

    I’m living in the past it seems.


  8. Nearly Legal

    It apparently lasted for one post…

    I rather think the author has been a commenter on this blog since then, though.

    I was slightly disappointed to see that the one post used large chunks of my first post on Aweys. In fact most of the post is my writing, but without attribution or quote marks. I have no problem with anyone quoting or otherwise using my stuff with an attribution, but I do object to people passing it off as their own. Naughty ‘rightsfighter’.

  9. Reg

    I thought it sounded wierdly familiar. Now you mention it I recognise without even re-reading your original post that he has lifted certain phrases.


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