Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lets do something constructive...

I was bored this morning so I decided to write to some local councillors about the criminally bad management of Discretionary Housing Payments and ask them for an on the record comment on the issue and to make some suggestions as to what needs to be done. I wrote to one of the members for the area in which I live, the portfolio holder and the leaders of the main political groups. Needless to say anything that comes back (if, indeed, anything DOES come back) will be put up here unless whoever sends it gives me a really, REALLY good reason why it shouldn't.

Anyway, here's what I wrote -

"Dear Cllrs,

I am writing to you as one of my local representatives, the relevant portfolio holder and the leaders of the main political groups to raise my concerns and I would be grateful for an on the record response to my findings.

Please see below a post from my blog describing the issue that I have been looking into for some time, namely the management of Discretionary Housing Payments.

Please note that there are further links at the end of this article which you will also need to read in order to get the full story. There are also a number of links within the various articles as further information.

My own view is that immediate action should be taken to

a) commence ongoing monitoring of refusal rates of DHPs (assuming of course that isn’t already happening, this question is currently before the Information Commissioner)

b) identify target groups of the most likely potential recipient groups of DHPs

c) use this information to launch an ongoing take up strategy for DHPs

d) start an investigation into the true levels of rent arrears and eviction rates and the potential of DHPs preventing such problems

e) use this information to inform a decision as to whether further funds over and above the government grant should be allocated to pay for an increased take up

f) draw up local guidance for allocation of DHPs to inform rational and consistent decision making Thank you for your attention. I should point out that I have a considerable level of expertise in issues such as this and have put quite a bit of work into the investigation of this matter so I hope that you will do me the courtesy of taking this issue seriously and providing me with a response.

Thank you"

To be honest I'm getting a bit fed up with pissing in the wind about what are some very important issues (scattered amongst some blatant piss taking admittedly) and would really like to see NCC do something about DHPs.

On a related note, the appeal to the Information Commisioner over the refusal/inability to provide all the info I asked for has gone off so hopefully I'll hear something about that in the not too distant future. All will be reported here.

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