HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 c419W
Mr. Hilary Benn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidance to police forces about sharing information with local housing authorities about persons with previous convictions for burglary who are applying for local authority housing so that those authorities can consider whether to make an offer of accommodation; and if he will make a statement. [97036]

Mr. Charles Clarke

Under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996, local housing authorities are required to have an allocation scheme which sets out their procedures and priorities for allocating social housing. There are a number of classes of household or person who must be given "reasonable preference" under an allocation scheme. This framework is designed to ensure that priority for subsidised housing is given to those with the greatest need.

Authorities have the power to define which classes of people are eligible for local authority housing. When deciding which classes of people should be non-qualifying, they are entitled to decide on the basis of objective criteria and evidence, whether granting a tenancy to a person is likely to result in disruption to the stability of the community.

The Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions' "Code of Guidance for Local Authorities on the Allocation of Accommodation and Homelessness", which will be published shortly, will recommend that any decision to exclude classes of persons on the grounds of the need to protect the community or reduce levels of crime on an estate should be taken in consultation with relevant organisations in the criminal justice system, in particular the police and probation services.

We shall consider the need for further guidance on the disclosure of information by the police if necessary.