The Northern Ireland Executive launched a public consultation to gather views on the outcomes of research into social housing allocations. The research had been commissioned as part of an ongoing review and there would now be three public events to discuss the findings before the consultation would close on 4 March 2014.
Source: Northern Ireland Executive
Report 1: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Report 1: Current approaches to accessing and allocating social housing in Northern Ireland, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge
Report 2: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Report 2: Best practice approaches to accessing and allocating social housing in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge
Report 3: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Final Report: Conclusions and recommendations, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge
A study examined the impact of welfare reform on housing employees. The report said that: 77 per cent of respondents thought customer interactions had become more challenging and 42 per cent felt only slightly/moderately equipped to cope with the increased challenge; 90 per cent reported customers to be in more financial difficulty than six months ago; 58 per cent had found increased mental health issues among their customer base; and 45 per cent had experienced customers making suicide threats. More than half of respondents (55 per cent) reported feeling stressed at work. The report made recommendations for consideration by employers.
Source: Impact of Welfare Reform on Housing Employees, Straightforward
A government department published new statutory guidance for social housing allocations, supplemental to existing guidance issued in June 2012. The new guidance would require housing providers to ensure that applicants had a local connection of at least 2 years' duration. It also clarified the eligibility of members of the armed forces, and encouraged the publication of local allocations outcomes.
Source: Providing Social Housing for Local People: Statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local authorities in England, Department for Communities and Local Government
An article examined the right of social landlords in England (under the Localism Act 2011) to award fixed-term (flexible) tenancies, thereby ending the right of new tenants to a secure tenancy. Reform had been justified by the idea that security of tenure promoted dependency, undercut social mobility, and prevented the effective operation of the sector as a welfare service, but interviews with social tenants showed that security of tenure was a source of stability that helped to mediate the precariousness of life on low incomes. It said that policy-makers should be looking to extend, rather than curtail, these benefits through an improved rental housing 'offer'.
Source: David Robinson and Aimee Walshaw, 'Security of tenure in social housing in England', Social Policy and Society, Volume 13 Issue 1
A report examined the costs to housing associations in Scotland of the the removal of the spare room subsidy (also known as the 'bedroom tax'). It said that their modelling estimated the total costs over first three years to be £79 million. The report called on the United Kingdom government to repeal the measure, and for the Scottish government to help mitigate the impact.
Source: The Real Cost of the Bedroom Tax for Scottish Housing Associations and Co-operatives, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations