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Getting. Away from Doughnuts. The. 'Discretion' in Discretionary Housing Payments. York Law School. York Law School. Today’s Argument in a nut-shell:. 2. That divergent ‘assumptive worlds’ are problematic – three key reasons for this:. ID: 270175

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Slide1

York Law School

Getting

Away from Doughnuts

The 'Discretion' in Discretionary Housing Payments

Slide2

York Law School

Slide3

York Law School

Today’s Argument in a nut-shell:

2. That divergent ‘assumptive worlds’ are problematic – three key reasons for this:

1. Problems of Function

2. Problems of Interpretations

3. Problems of Agency

The Problem of the ‘Assumptive Worlds’ in the interpretation of DHPsDWP + EWCALocal Authorities

Slide4

York Law School

Slide5

York Law School

Pot of money set aside by the DWP

(£155 million pot)

Dolled out to Local Authorities

People Apply for DHPs to help them

Slide6

York Law School

The Argument - Part One:

The Two

‘Assumptive Worlds’

Slide7

York Law School

Ken Young (1981)

A problem of the ‘assumptive worlds’ of those initiating the task, and those carrying it out

‘Problems of implementation’ as referring to the centre’s failure to understand the values, perceptions, motivations and ‘definitions of the situation’ held by the other body

‘Assumptive Worlds’

Social Good

Individual

Assumptive Worlds

Slide8

York Law School

Social Right

To Housing Benefit

(Article 1: Housing Benefit as a possession)

Court of Appeal

Local Authorities

Two Assumptive Worlds

The DWP

Slide9

York Law School

Assumptive Worlds

Economic Policy

(

Thain

, 1987; Dixon

and

Kouzmin

, 2003)

Education

(

Marshall, 1985, 1988

;

Kirst

et al, 2006;

Humes

, 2003; Bennett, 2001;

Sacken

and Medina, 1997; Finch

and Gordon, 1989;

Mazzeo

, 2002)

Jurisprudence

(

Lacey

, 1992; Kauffman, 2005)

Health

(

Marmor

, 2013, Worth, 2001; Porter, 1989;

Dopson

and Fitzgerald, 2006)

Social Policy

(Ham, 1980; Murray, 2006; Hill et al, 2009)

Slide10

York Law School

The Assumptive World of:

DWP + Courts

Slide11

York Law School

The Coalition Government Position – Giant Sticking Plaster

‘Discretionary

pot for [local authorities] to tailor to their local and individual

needs’ (Steve Webb MP)

‘the

key is in the title’ (Stephen Williams

MP)

the best way to incorporate ‘local issues’ on a ‘case by case

basis’

  

local

authorities are ‘best placed’ to make these decisions ‘according to their assessment of local needs and in order to best reflect their particular circumstances

’ (Lord Freud)

Slide12

York Law School

R

(MA & Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWCA

Civ 13

‘Central to [the Secretary of State’s] thinking is the idea that there are certain groups of persons whose needs for assistance with payment of their rent are better dealt with by DHPs than [housing benefit]…I consider that they amount to an objective and reasonable justification of the scheme.’

Slide13

York Law School

DHPs provide the ‘greater flexibility’ required to deal with the changing nature of ‘disability-related needs’ (para 74)…

'If read in isolation and without regard to the DHP scheme [the SSSC] plainly discriminates’ (para

39)

against the disabled, so it necessary to analyse ‘the scheme as a whole.’ (para

40)

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York Law School

Local Authority Assumptive World

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York Law School

The other world: Local Authorities

Behavioural and moralistic focus

(ties into the

responsibilisation

agenda:

Lister, 2014:12; McKee, 2012:855,

Trnka

and Trundle, 2014:3,

‘DIY project of the self’:

Kelly, 2001:29)

Widespread attachment of conditionality

(Robinson,

2013;

Bowpitt

et al, 2013; Jacobs and Manzi, 2013)

Potential influence of local politics (analysis of DWP data points to this)

Huge variation between localities - geographical element to the problem

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York Law School

‘The

present policy already gives consideration to

the incentive and

disincentive potential

of Discretionary Housing Payment

decisions, in particular with regard

to recognising

and encouraging responsible housing choices. We would also expect

to

take

into account other aspects of a claimant’s behaviour

, for instance in

their engagement

in activities to address worklessness or problematic and

antisocial behaviour

and in the steps they are taking to address debts and

budgeting difficulties.’

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York Law School

An inherently local affair…

Analysis of DWP Discretionary Housing Payment spend data, aligned with ‘predictor factors’:

Level of under-occupation

Number of Cases

Spend on other reforms

(Benefit Cap + LHA reforms)

(https://

www.gov.uk

/government/publications/use-of-discretionary-housing-payments)

Slide21

Average Level of Deduction (Bedroom Tax

)

Slide22

Measure combining level of under-occupation with the number of BT

cases

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York Law School

Role of Local Politics

Variable

Unstandardised Regression Coefficient

Standardised CoefficientAverage Bedroom Tax Deduction (£)33.865.383*Total number of Bedroom Tax Cases-.060-.446*LHAReforms (£ Expenditure).002.357*Benefit Cap (£ Expenditure).003.283*No Overall Political Control   vs Labour45.089.552*Conservative vs Labour-44.882-.577*

Note:

 

*p < 0.05.

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Argument Part One: Summary

Two very different interpretations of the discretion in DHPs by the DWP and Court

of Appeal

compared to the Local Authorities

Slide25

York Law School

The Argument - Part Two:

The Problem of the Assumptive Worlds – Why it is a problem?

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Problems of Interpretation

Slide27

Slide28

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Problems of Function

Slide29

York Law School

Policy Delivery by Discretion

Policy Delivery by Rules and Exemptions

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York Law School

Problems of Agency

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York Law School

The ‘street-level bureaucrat’ as a scapegoat for policy failure is a familiar figure.

(Young, 1981)

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