Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, ex parte Abdul Wahid [23 August 2001] (unreported) (QBD)

Suitable accommodation – Part III and s21 National Assistance Act 1948 – s47 National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 – care and attention – duty to provide accommodation – otherwise available

Section 21 of the NAA 1948 required an applicant to be in need of care and attention and set out that the means of meeting that need was by the provision of residential accommodation. There was clear and binding authority that residential accommodation under s21 of the 1948 Act could include housing accommodation. However, the pre-condition for the duty remained the need for care and attention: section 21 of the 1948 Act was a provision of last resort and a need for better housing would not ordinarily give rise to a duty under that section.

The council had not assessed W as having a need for care and attention that was not otherwise available. W was mentally stable and was receiving the care and attention he required. The risk that W would relapse, exacerbated by his unsuitable accommodation, was not a present need for care and attention. Similarly, the need for suitable accommodation was not urgent. The council’s assessment was not irrational and was not based on an error of law.

This case differed from Batantu, where there was an assessed need for care and attention involving the provision of suitable housing that was urgent, and from Penfold, where there had been no s47 assessment. In this case W was receiving appropriate care and attention and no s21 duty had arisen.

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