Democracy defiled? Enfield Council and housing licensing

Last night Enfield Council’s overview & scrutiny committee met to consider whether the cabinet’s decision to implement private rental sector housing licensing should be confirmed, referred back to the cabinet or referred to the full council. Valid questions from some members of the committee, and from the public, were ignored by the chair of the committee, by officials, and by the cabinet member for housing. New evidence, published here in the public interest, shows why the council blocked the uncomfortable questions.

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Elsenham station, Essex

Level Crossings: Network Rail responds to MPs’ report

The House of Commons Transport Committee published its wide-ranging report on safety at level crossings in March this year. Today, the committee published a response from Network Rail. MPs had levelled heavy criticism at the rail infrastructure operator for the “callous disregard” they had shown bereaved relatives. Today Network Rail proved that they still don’t get it. The company still tries to push blame onto level crossing users. NR also claims to have previously disclosed vital information and has still not ruled out bonuses.
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NKM fig 3

Housing Licensing: 1) Needs assessment

[Update 15 April 2014: Scroll down to comments for a more detailed explanation of why the statistical report is flawed.]

The basis for Enfield Council’s private rented sector licensing proposal is quantitative research conducted by Mayhew Harper Associates (MHA/NKM), which has attempted to establish a link between the private rented sector and anti-social behaviour. This has been combined with qualitative research (focus groups etc.) run by  Opinion Research Services (ORS) to identify the need.
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How to appeal Enfield Council’s decision to license private rented sector properties

[Update 15 April 2014: Cllr Edward Smith, a Conservative who chairs Enfield Council’s housing scrutiny panel, has confirmed that the cabinet’s decision will be called in for consideration by the Overview & Scrutiny committee. Given that the committee (and the full council) has a Labour majority, the decision can only be overturned if the Labour councillors can be persuaded that the evidence base for the policy is flawed.]

Enfield Council wants to license private rented sector properties (and private landlords) in order to tackle anti-social behaviour. Is the council justified in taking this action?

The Council’s Cabinet has approved the proposal but there is still time for it to be challenged.

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Independent, impartial policy analysis and number crunching