A brief note on what I think was a homelessness s.204 appeal, but have only a local newspaper report to go on. The issue was the status of the review officer, and specifically, whether St Albans District Council had, as it purported to do, contracted out its homeless reviews to Minos Perdios. Mr Perdios should need no introduction to regular readers, and we have visited the ‘contracting out reviews’ issue in Shacklady v Flintshire and most recently in Tachie, Terera and Il v Welwyn Hatfield BC  EWHC 3972 (QB) [our report].
It appears that in this case, brought by Ms Hadnutt, St Albans DC was found to have failed to adequately amend its constitution, or make the necessary resolutions in council cabinet, to lawfully be able to contract out its statutory review duties under Housing Act 1996. While in Tachie, Welwyn BC managed to escape by retrospectively ratifying the contracting out decision, St Albans managed not to do that, either.
What I take to have been the Circuit Judge (confusing said to have been sitting in Bedford Magistrates Court, but really has to have been as a County Court CJ) apparently held that as a result, Mr Perdios had no authority to make homeless review decisions ‘on behalf of’ St Albans, and that every review decision made since Mr Perdios started, some 4 years ago, was accordingly unlawful.
Ms Hadnutt will presumably now have to have a fresh review decision made by a Council review officer.
Toby Vanhagen was counsel for Ms Hadnutt. We would be very happy to have more details of this case.
I must confess to living in St Albans. I’m now wondering whether I should encourage my firm to set up a branch and save my commute. After all, they have a lot of review decisions to reconsider…