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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2003): Social Housing - UK

BIRMINGHAM TO GIVE POWER TO THE PEOPLE

J. Guthrie

Financial Times, December 10th 2002, p.5

Birmingham is poised to launch a radical experiment in devolving power to the tenants of its 84,000 council houses and flats in line with the recommendations of an independent review, chaired by Anne Power, of the London School of Economics. Its example will be followed by other councils struggling to maintain more than 2 million such dwellings.

FUTURE FOR HOUSING FINANCE IS STILL IN THE AIR

N. Merrick

Public Finance, Dec 6th-12th 2002, p.13

There is still great uncertainty about the future finance of council housing. Prudential borrowing by councils is likely to be permitted. A proposal for the pooling of the receipts from council house sales, regardless of council indebtedness, has not found favour with debt-free authorities who would prefer to keep the money.

HOT PROPERTY

J. Perry

Public Finance, Nov 22nd-28th 2002, p.22-23

Arms Length Management Organisations (Almos) are showing signs of replacing stock transfer to housing associations as the favoured mechanism for improving council housing.

Audit Commission

London: 2002

Local authorities still have an important housing role to play after their stock has been transferred to housing associations. They need to retain sufficient staff and expertise to meet ongoing responsibilities, such as housing strategy and homelessness. They should aim to develop good partnership working with the housing associations which have become the major providers. Councils should also ensure that they monitor the performance of housing providers and drive local improvement.

HOUSING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN LEGISLATION, WAYS OF WORKING AND PREVENTION

A. Jackson

Housing, Care and Support, vol 5. Nov 2002, p. 4-7

The Homelessness Act 2002, the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and the Priority Need Order all imposed new duties on local authorities to support young people living independently. Article outlines measures to challenge the current patchy practice of inter-agency co-operation, and promote a strategy for better co-ordinated ways of dealing with the housing needs of young people who have left home or care.

LOCAL HOUSING STRATEGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES: CREATING A PLAN THAT SURVIVES ITS PUBLICATION

K. Whitehouse

Housing Care and Support, vol 5, Nov. 2002, p. 17-22

Learning Disability Partnership Boards in England have been asked to develop local housing strategies for people with learning disabilities by 2002/03. Article presents a case study of the preparation of such a strategy plan by Southdown Housing and West Sussex Council Council.

MIND THE STEP

M Delargy and E Hawkey

Roof, Jan/Feb 2003, p. 18-23

Housing professionals suggest solutions to the current lack of affordable housing. Proposals include:

  • reducing pressure on housing in the South East by moving jobs North;
  • provision of long term funding for affordable housing, decent homes targets and tackling low demand;
  • reform of the "right to buy" scheme to end the loss of family stock;
  • a final decision on whether the government prefers arms length management organisations (almos) or PFI schemes for refurbishing stock.

MISSED HOUSING TARGET ADDS TO LABOURS LIST OF FAILURES

P. Wintour

The Guardian, December 19th 2002, p.1

The government's struggle to meet its targets for a wide range of public services was highlighted yesterday by the admission that 100 local councils will not be able to comply with aims to make all council housing decent by 2010. The admission comes in the new "autumn departmental performance reports" published by Whitehall Departments.

RISKY BUSINESS

J. Dethick

Roof, Jan/Feb. 2003, p.37

Describes how Ashfield District Council set up an arms length management organisation (almo) to manage its housing stock. Focuses on the costs and financial risks involved.

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