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Local authorities do not have to address the Public Sector Equality Duty separately when making a homelessness vulnerability assessment (McMahon v Watford Borough Council; Kiefer v Hertsmere Borough Council)

Local authorities do not have to address the Public Sector Equality Duty separately when making a homelessness vulnerability assessment (McMahon v Watford Borough Council; Kiefer v Hertsmere Borough Council)
Published on: 09 April 2020
Published by: LexisPSL
  • Local authorities do not have to address the Public Sector Equality Duty separately when making a homelessness vulnerability assessment (McMahon v Watford Borough Council; Kiefer v Hertsmere Borough Council)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Case details

Article summary

Local Government analysis: This is a judgment that looks set to end Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) challenges to local authority decisions on priority need assessments of homeless applicants for housing assistance. Lewison LJ decided that the overlap between the statutory vulnerability assessment and the issues that need to be considered under the PSED was substantial enough that, if a housing officer properly concentrates on the circumstances of the individual case, having regard to mental illness, handicap or physical disability in assessing vulnerability, it will likely meet the PSED requirements even if the PSED is not addressed separately, or even mentioned. An assessment of disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) will remain necessary for the investigation stages of the review, other related decisions and for the practical performance of a local authority’s duty to homeless applicants. Written by Adam Heppinstall, barrister, at Henderson Chambers. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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