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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 1999): Social Housing - UK

ALLOCATION OF HOUSING CAPITAL RESOURCES: CONSULTATION PAPER

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

London: 1999

Reviews the needs indices used in the main allocations of housing capital resources to local authorities and registered social landlords (RSLs). Main proposed changes are:

  • to alter the shares of the Generalised Needs Index (GNI) indicators to reflect the introduction of the single pot for local authority housing capital;
  • to update the stock condition indicators for 1996 English House Condition Survey data;
  • to extend the New Provision Indicator used in both indices to include a measure based on numbers of homeless households in temporary accommodation.

BLAIR BID TO END HOUSING DIVIDE

A. McElvoy

Independent, July 12th 1999, p. 6

Announces that the government is to place housing at the centre of its social agenda in an attempt to redress a crisis of confidence in low-cost housing and the slump in property values in inner city areas in the North.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: MANAGING LOCAL AUTHORITY ESTATES AFTER TRANSFER

London School of Economics

London: London Housing Federation, 1999

Good practice guide on the management and maintenance of local authority estates transferring to RSLs based on interviews with RSL staff, local authority officers and residents. Focuses not only on good practice tips but also on the pitfalls and how to avoid the mistakes of the past.

HEALTHY HOUSING POLICIES: PUBLIC HEALTH STRIKES BACK

P. Wishart

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 2, June 1999, p. 18-21

Possible elements of a healthy housing policy include: improved energy efficiency, fire precaution measures, reduction of children in temporary accommodation, resettlement programmes, reduction in tenancy failures, reduction in the number of homeless people in temporary accommodation, rehabilitation of housing stock and better medical assessment of individuals in housing allocation.

HOME BALLOTS

P. Hetherington

Guardian, August 5th 1999, p.17

Reports on the wave of ballots in which council house tenants are being asked to vote to transfer their dwellings to social companies made up of councillors, tenants and independent board members from charities or business. In their anxiety to offload their decaying housing stock, councils have been accused of using heavy-handled tactics to get a yes vote.

HOUSING: WHO NEEDS IT?

J. Goodwin

Roof, May/June 1999, p. 20-22

Reports that the traditional system of allocating social housing solely on the basis of acute need is being challenged. Letting social housing to a mix of benefit - dependent families, families in employment and those who can made a "community contribution" will create more balanced and self-supporting communities, where tenants will want to live and will stay longer. Such an approach could help improve the least desirable inner city estates and regenerate no-go areas of unwanted housing in the north.

LICENSING HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION - ENGLAND: CONSULTATION PAPER

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

London: 1999

Proposes a major reform of the legal framework for regulating standards in HMOs. New scheme would require landlords to obtain licences and nominate a licensee responsible for ensuring compliance with licensing conditions. Standards will cover physical conditions, management, and fitness of the licensee, and drafts will be issued for consultation later in 1999. Some of the costs of administering the scheme will be met from public funds, and mechanisms will be put in place to protect tenants from homelessness where a licence is refused or revoked.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

P. Malpass

Roof, July/Aug. 1999, p. 30-31

Housing associations have been transformed from their voluntary roots into big businesses. They have become agents of the state, their voluntary element reduced to largely symbolic importance.

PFI: THE FUTURE FOR COUNCIL HOUSING

R. Terry

Public Finance, June 18th-24th 1999, p. 23

Argues that PFI could play a significant part in regenerating council housing stock, as long as tenants are fully involved.

REVIEWING THE RIGHT TO BUY

C. Jones and A. Murie

Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 1999

Report presents a wide ranging review of the Right to Buy council houses and some new data relating to recent purchasers, resales, spatial patterns, and links between the Right to Buy and social and economic regeneration.

RSLS SEE CONFLICTS WITH BEST VALUE

N. Merrick

Public Finance, June 25th- July 1st 1999, p. 5

Housing Associations believe they will have serious trouble cutting costs if they have to comply with Best Value.

SUPPORTING PEOPLE 1: IS THE GOVERNMENT LISTENING?

C. Tickell

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 2, June 1999, p. 4-6

The announcement of the new funding regime for supported housing has caused a crises of confidence among providers who previously looked kindly on ministerial intentions. Questions raised include:

  • how will provision for less welcome groups like ex-offenders be assured?
  • how will need be assessed?
  • how are existing services that rely on SHMC to be protected after transfer?

SUPPORTING PEOPLE 2: REALISING THE REFORMS

N. Rogers

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 2, June 1999, p. 7-9

Argues that the proposed changes in the funding regime for supported housing may lead to destabilisation of a financially fragile network of provision. Also points out that some planning for small client groups needs to be done at the regional and not the local authority level and strongly opposes any means-testing of support grant.

UNDERSTANDING SERVICE QUALITY IN THE NEW PUBLIC SECTOR: AN EXPLORATION OF RELATIONSHIPS IN THE PROCESS OF FUNDING SOCIAL HOUSING

C. S. Williams, M. N. K. Saunders, and R. V. W. Staughton

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 12, 1999, p. 366-379

Paper reports on recent research which explored relationships in the process through which grants for social housing are bid for and allocated and the overall development programme managed. After discussing the process by which social housing is funded, authors review measures of quality in relation to such service relationships. An alternative approach to measurement, based on the Service Template process, is then outlined. Findings using this process are then discussed focusing on the relationship between the Housing Corporation, Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords in the bids and allocation process. Concludes by emphasising the importance of a partnership approach in funding social housing and the need for longer time scales in the joint planning process.

WHERE HAS SOCIAL HOUSING GONE? POLITICS, HOUSING NEED AND SOCIAL HOUSING CONSTRUCTION IN ENGLAND

K. Hoggart

Space and Polity, vol. 3, 1999, p. 35-65

Paper focuses on the changing geography of social housing supply in England since the passing of the 1988 Housing Act, which transferred primary responsibility for social housing provision from local authorities to housing associations. Findings show that a key consequence of the Act has been to bring social housing construction rates and housing need into a closer relationship.

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