William Eichler 08 April 2016

Essex council forced to amend law banning ‘rough sleepers’

Essex council forced to amend law banning ‘rough sleepers’ image

An Essex council has amended a controversial law that criminalised ‘rough sleeping’ after public outcry.

Chelmsford City Council has changed the criteria for a proposed Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) designed to restrict activities it views as having a detrimental impact on residents.

The initial PSPO prohibited ‘rough sleeping where it is resulting in anti-social behaviour and an appropriate offer of accommodation has been made’.

This caused a backlash with campaigners arguing the legislation led to homeless people being victimised.

The protest group Chelmsford Momentum started a petition for a ‘Homelessness is not a crime’ campaign and managed to collect 4,000 signatures.

Representatives from the council met with Momentum and agreed to drop the clause on ‘rough sleeping’ and change the section on begging to say ‘aggressive begging’.

The leader of Chelmsford City Council, Cllr Roy Whitehead, said: ‘We sought the views of our residents during a formal consultation period and as a result have amended our proposal.’

There has been a lot of controversy over PSPOs ever since they were introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act in 2014.

Last year the Manifesto Club, an anti-regulation group, condemned PSPOs for allowing town halls to ‘ban pretty much anything’ and create a ‘patchwork of criminal law’.

Chelmsford is not the only council to use the contested legislation. Last year Hackney Council passed one to ban rough sleeping and begging, but was forced to drop it after 80,000 people signed a petition opposing the policy.

Freedom of Information requests made earlier this year by the VICE news outlet revealed one in 10 councils have introduced policies banning behaviour linked to homelessness.  

Declaring a climate change emergency image

Declaring a climate change emergency

Local authorities can play a key role in tackling climate change – and there is plenty for them to do. Never before has thinking globally and acting locally been more important, says Mark Whitehead.
Open letter to Boris Johnson image

Open letter to Boris Johnson

The MJ's editor Heather Jameson asks the new PM a simple question: do you want to fund local government or do you want to scale back services to the basics?
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Placement Finding Team

Essex County Council
£28500.0 - £50400.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - Children and Young People Placement Service- Placement Finding Team Interviews to be held on the 10th September at County Hall, England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

People Information Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £33330 per annum
Please note this is a fixed term contract role for a duration of 12 months. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local au England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Key stage Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32430 - £34794
Key Stage Education Officer (Secondary Phase) to work with children in our care, supporting them in classrooms and in their homes with their education SE18 6HQ
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Solicitor/Barrister Advocate - Children’s x4

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band I, SCP 44 - 47 (£46,564 - £49,538 per annum) (£24.14 - 25.68 per hour)
To act as the principal advocate for all aspects of advocacy legal work relating to the children’s social care in the county court and high court. Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Business Support Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band C, SCP 5 - 8 (£18,795 - £19,945 per annum) pro rata (£9.74 - £10.34 per hour)
The successful candidate will provide administrative business support to service teams within Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing. The Lyng, Health & Social Care Centre, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich, B70 7AW
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine