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Calls for evidence | Scrutiny news | Birmingham City Council

Calls for evidence

Committees carry out in-depth scrutiny inquiries into issues and make recommendations. Part of the process for gathering information is to launch a call for evidence. Calls for evidence will be advertised here.

Exempt Accommodation: Call for evidence

This inquiry will look at exempt accommodation in Birmingham, the role of the Council and what improvements need to be made – either directly by the City Council or through dialogue with Government.

In Birmingham the growth in exempt accommodation (i.e. supported accommodation exempt from HMO licensing) has been increasing significantly since 2017. The last 12 months have seen the sharpest increase in the amount of supported exempt accommodation claimants with over 18,500 in payment in September 2020 compared with 14,000 in November 2019. The range and quality of this accommodation varies and, at its worst, provides poor support to some of the most vulnerable people living in our city.

The scale and nature of the accommodation is causing problems for neighbourhoods and communities as well as reducing the available accommodation for families.  The situation is trapping some of the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest accommodation with inadequate support, unable to take up employment or with any pathway to move on.

The Committee wants to hear from residents in this type of accommodation, from residents who are their neighbours as well as from agencies and statutory partners. This inquiry seeks to amplify the voice of residents and agencies, and to furnish the City Council with a solid evidence base for on-going discussions with Government.

The key lines of inquiry include:

  • What issues are faced in Birmingham by residents and agencies associated with exempt accommodation?
  • Are City Council processes fit for purpose, sustainable, efficient or exacerbating any issues?
  • Why do people use exempt accommodation?
  • What are the drivers for landlords to enter into providing exempt accommodation?
  • What role can Planning legislation play within the confines of existing legislation and how can planning be used or amended to manage the growth of exempt accommodation?
  • What are the health needs faced by this group of vulnerable people?
  • What can we learn from people’s experiences and best practice in other parts of the country?

An inquiry is only as good as the evidence it receives. This is why we want people across the city to get involved.  We would welcome a written statement of your views and experience on any of the above points, along with any other comments you might have on the subject.  We will collect all the written submissions and use these as evidence to support our work. We may ask representatives of resident or community groups to give verbal evidence at a meeting of the committee.

We hope that you will use this opportunity to get involved in what we believe will be an influential piece of work.
If you would like any further information about this Scrutiny Inquiry or how to submit written evidence, please email emma.williamson@birmingham.gov.uk

The Inquiry group asks that written submissions are in Microsoft Word format wherever possible and are no longer than four pages. Please include contact details of the person or organisation submitting the evidence.

Submissions should be sent by email to emma.williamson@birmingham.gov.uk

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 19 February 2021.

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