Following a comprehensive review of the Housing Management Division, we are now recruiting to vacant posts to ensure we are organised in the best way to deliver the Council's vision and ambitions to make Hammersmith and Fulham the best place to live and work.
We're redesigning roles to provide a new customer focussed service that delivers high-quality services to all residents and businesses.
The Reviews Officer will be responsible for undertaking statutory reviews under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended), as well as Part VI reviews (including suitability and banding).
The role will support the wider objectives of the Council of preventing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation, whilst ensuring legal compliance.
There is also a responsibility to support continuous development and learning of the rest of the service, especially in cases where decisions are overturned, and the emergence of new case law and codes of guidance.
The role requires strong case management skills, adhering to statutory timescales, and best practice guidelines. Maintaining high-quality case notes, in support of appropriate decision making and notifications, is essential.
The successful candidate will also be committed to delivering continuous service improvement, that put residents at the heart of what we want to achieve.
- To develop and maintain a detailed knowledge of the Housing Act 1996 Parts VI and VII, the Code of Guidance, all associated case law, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Council policy and local working procedures as applied to housing applications, allocations and homelessness assessments. To apply this in the context of statutory reviews and appeals.
- To have, develop and maintain a detailed knowledge of other legislation relevant to homelessness assessments, including immigration and eligibility rules, judgements, directives and other legislative instruments, landlord and tenant, family, welfare benefits and welfare reform, childcare, legislation relevant to asylum seekers and other persons from abroad and other related law as may be relevant to the post.
- To certify what housing duty is owed and how that duty is to be discharged, to individual applicants in accordance with homelessness law, local policy and working procedure.
- To conduct statutory homelessness reviews under s.202 of the Housing Act 1996 of decisions relating to the acceptance of duties and the suitability of temporary and permanent accommodation: interviewing applicants and carrying out further enquiries as necessary; assessing the reasonableness of decisions in the light of legislation, case law, the Code of Guidance, and all relevant matters of fact and law.
- To conduct statutory reviews on the suitability of accommodation under s.202 of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the 2002 Homelessness Act and the discharge or cessation of interim duty under s.188 for applicants refusing suitable offers of accommodation.
- To make and notify all statutory decisions arising from the review process, including decisions whether to provide temporary accommodation pending the completion of reviews and appeals, and the Council’s final decision on review completing risk assessments as required.
- To conduct statutory reviews requested under s.167 of the Housing Act 1996 and to respond to any legal challenge regarding the lawfulness of the council’s Housing Allocation Scheme.
- To ensure that in the event of the s.193 duty being brought to an end (other than through permanent re-housing or the acceptance of a qualifying offer) appropriate “cessation of duty” letters are issued to applicants, especially in cases where an applicant is judged to have made themselves intentionally homeless from temporary accommodation.
- To instruct the Legal Services Department in cases where applicants are seeking judicial review of the council’s decisions or exercising their right of appeal to the County Court: to attend Court as necessary; to consult with Counsel and give evidence in support of the council’s decision.
- To work closely with the front line staff in H&F Advice providing advice and support on a duty basis, and carrying out joint assessments if necessary.
- To maintain accurate file notes in relation to all casework undertaken and to ensure that all relevant databases are kept up to date at all times and decisions notified through comprehensive notification letters.
- To ensure that all administrative duties including the copying of files as required to support the service and to maintain relevant databases/information systems are carried out as necessary.
- To respond to and initiate correspondence and verbal advice to Councillors, Members of Parliament, solicitors, senior staff in other sections of the authority, other Councils and other statutory and non-statutory agencies, in relation to the conduct of reviews.
- To respond to correspondence and telephone contact from Councillors, advocates and other agencies and statutory bodies on matters relating to Reviews and complex homelessness assessment and to prepare relevant briefings as required.
- To prepare reports on the volume of reviews, the outcome of individual cases, and the council’s compliance with statutory timescales, and to make recommendations regarding future practice and procedures in this area.
- To identify training needs arising from legal developments and to deliver training to officers and managers in respect of all relevant legal issues; to be responsible for compiling and updating training materials for staff and internal and external customers and stakeholders; to attend relevant seminars and forums as the service’s representative on legal issues.
- To prevent abuses of the process by applicants for housing, maintaining an awareness of applicant fraud. To liaise with the Corporate Anti-Fraud Service in cases where prima facie abuses are identified and assist in the investigation and prosecution of cases as appropriate, maintaining awareness of fraud issues among officers
- To maintain an up to date detailed knowledge of national policy development and legal issues as they relate to Housing and Welfare Reform.
- To deputise where necessary in the absence of the Housing Advice and Homelessness Manager(s).
- To carry out other duties consistent with the job purpose as may arise from time to time.
Contact details for an informal discussion: Brendan Morrow on 07776 673062 or via email: BRENDAN.MORROW@LBHF.GOV.UK
To discover more and apply, please go to: https://bit.ly/2MpBern
Closing date: 27 October 2019.