Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mea Culpa

Ok, who else apart from me and the Evening Post didn't bother to read the whole Audit Commission re-inspection report on Nottingham City Homes because we fell for all the PR hype about everything being rosy now?

Have a look at para 131 to 133 in the above link. The number of tenants who received Notices Seeking Possession was running at over 27% through 2008. Thats horrendous. Actual evictions were running at around 1% through out the same period although there was a small reduction, that works out to around 300 people per year.

The report says that liaison with Housing Benefits is good and that 'money advice is readily available' via a link up with St Anns Advice Centre. Not sure how much good the latter is to someone in the Meadows, lets hope NCH remember their 'other advice services may be available' disclaimer. Needless to say, there's no mention of Discretionary Housing Payments being an option to help prevent rent arrears, but then Housing Benefits seem to regard their existence as a trade secret.

So back to this trigger happy approach to sending out NSPs. There might be a clue in a report to NCC's Debt Recovery Task and Finsh Panel from July 2006. Here's a quote from early in the report;

"Nottingham’s Corporate Debt Policy states that ‘it is assumed that all individuals (…..) are won’t payers until they are identified as can’t payers.’ This should be reversed and all appropriate needs assessed and referrals made for debt advice early on. "

This was after NCH was set up. Do you think some of this 'won't pay' attitude remained behind at NCH?

I've got to admit, I still haven't read the whole report, if I find anything else in it I'll stick it up here.

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