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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Social housing - UK

Putting the HRA's house in order

L. Lodge

Public Finance, Sept. 12th-18th 2008, p. 16

It is generally agreed that local authorities could build more social housing if they could break free of the rules governing council housing finance. Some people are suggesting that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) ring fence should be abolished. The ring fence was introduced in 1989 to ensure that the HRA, as a landlord account, was kept strictly separate from the council's general fund revenue account. It is argued that the ring fence should remain to avoid tenants either subsidising, or being subsidised by, the general council taxpayer.

RSLs and councils given major mortgage rescue role

N. Merrick

Public Finance, Sept. 5th-11th 2008, p. 9

Housing associations and local authorities are to head a 200m mortgage rescue scheme aimed at cutting the rising number of homes being repossessed. Vulnerable home owners will be offered a choice of either selling a share or equity stake in their property to a registered social landlord, or selling the entire dwelling and paying rent in the same way as other tenants.

Service user involvement: reaching the hard to reach in supported housing

H. Brafield and T. Eckersley

London: J. Kingsley, 2008

Involving service users in both day-to-day and long-term strategic planning is known to empower clients and result in improved services, yet there is a lack of practical guidance on how this can be achieved. Drawing on original research, this book offers strategies for consulting with service users who have been historically difficult to engage with, including homeless people, care leavers, ex-offenders, travellers, women escaping domestic violence and black and minority ethnic groups. It explores traditional consultation methods such as meetings and questionnaires, as well as informal and creative activities such as writing, art, photography and video work as ways of gathering clients' views. It makes practical suggestions as to how organizational structures and individual attitudes can be changed to overcome the barriers to successful consultation. Including many real-life examples of good practice, the book is a step-by-step guide to creating a complete service user involvement strategy and also contains exercises for managers to use with their teams.

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