Date Published: 16.01.2023
Status: Past
Type: Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination
Outcome: Early case resolution

The Allocation of Accommodation and Homelessness (Wales)

Summary of Information

In October 2022 the IMA identified guidance:  Allocation of accommodation and homelessness: guidance for local authorities in Wales (“the Code”), that did not appear to have been updated to reflect the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

In particular, Chapter 2 of the Code which is concerned with ‘Eligibility for Allocation’ did not appear to reflect Appendix EU or the EU Settlement Scheme. The IMA felt that this had the potential to lead to misunderstanding over eligibility for allocation in respect of EU and EEA EFTA citizens.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

Having carefully considered the issues identified, the IMA approached the Welsh Government to seek clarity.

The Welsh Government helpfully provided information outlining the engagement that had already taken place with Local Authorities in Wales in connection with changes reflecting the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This included an explanation of the impact of the changes and the responsibilities a local authority would have for assessing the eligibility of EU and EEA EFTA citizens, and their family members, to access social housing and homelessness assistance in Wales.

The Welsh Government also agreed that updating the Code would broaden understanding and awareness of the rights of those protected by the Citizen’ Rights Agreements.

As a result, the IMA engaged further with the Welsh Government to identify improvements to avoid the potential for misunderstanding and to further ensure that Local Authorities are able to correctly identify EU, EEA and EFTA citizens that are eligible in accordance with Chapter 2 of the Code. The Welsh Government responded promptly and positively to proposals made and agreed to a series of actions designed to resolve the concerns identified.

Summary of Decision

The Welsh Government has agreed to undertake the following actions:

  1. Provide the IMA with a draft copy of the addendum that is proposed to be used alongside the Code (by 20 January 2023)
  2. Publish the proposed addendum to the Code to reflect eligibility for those citizens who have rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (by 31 January 2023)
  3. Write to all Welsh Local Authorities to make them aware of the changes and that they must consider this within their own allocations policies. Update the IMA when this has been completed and provide a copy of the letter (by 7 February 2023)

On the basis of the proposed actions that the Welsh Government has agreed to, the IMA believes that the concerns identified can be resolved and the issue concluded as an Early Case Resolution.

The IMA will monitor the Welsh Government’s compliance with these actions with a proposed end date of 7 February 2023. An update will be published at the end of the monitoring phase.

Update of Monitoring and Compliance

The IMA has concluded the Monitoring & Compliance period with the Welsh Government and consider the actions that have been completed will resolve the potential systemic issues identified.

However, should the IMA receive any further intelligence or complaints regarding the issue in future, further enquiries may be made with the relevant public authority, wherever necessary.

Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.