09 January 2011
Closing Date Nears on 'Local Decisions' Consultation
The closing date for responses to the Government Consultation paper "Local decisions: a fairer future for social housing" is next Monday 17th.
The NFTMO will be submitting a response and we are interested to hear the views of your organisation, assuming you have had an opportunity to discuss the Government’s proposals in what has been a very short consultation period.
The Government paper sets out plans for what it calls "radical reform to the social housing system." This includes:-
· Proposals to allow flexibility to both local authorities and housing associations to offer (to new tenants) shorter fixed term tenancies.
· An option for housing associations to let to new tenants at higher rents up to 80% of local market rents.
· A new duty on local authorities to publish a strategic policy on tenancies.
· Introduction of a new ‘Tenancy Standard’
· Proposals to remove transfer applicants from the constraints of the allocation legislation
· Proposals to give local authorities back the power to determine which categories of applicants should qualify to join the waiting list whilst retaining the existing statutory ‘reasonable preference’ criteria which determine who should have priority for social housing.
· A nationwide social home swap programme
· Legislation to enable local authorities to fully discharge a duty to secure accommodation by arranging an offer of suitable accommodation in the private rented sector, without requiring the applicant’s agreement.
· The abolition of the TSA and transfer of some regulatory functions to the HCA.
· The introduction of ‘tenant panels’ as part of the formal process for dealing with tenant complaints.
· Reform of the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system to create self-financing housing accounts enabling local authorities to plan in the long term.
The consultation document can be downloaded through this link http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/socialhousingreform
The NFTMO Executive Committee has been looking particularly at how these proposals will help or hinder TMOs in their work to create stable, empowered communities and homes that people want to live in. Our response will say that TMOs are in many ways the ‘Big Society’ in action and the Government should consider how these proposed reforms will impact on the Government’s own aspiration to encourage strong communities and more volunteering and to promote conditions where people are more likely to commit time and energy to improving services in their local community.
If your TMO is responding directly to the consultation could you please send us a copy of your response?