Wed, 12 Sep 07
The government must be more ambitious if it is to accomplish its objective of truly empowering tenants, a leading private sector provider of housing solutions warned today...
In a response to ‘Delivering Housing and Regeneration’, a consultation carried out by Communities and Local Government, Northgate Information Solutions, the UK’s leading provider of housing solutions, advised the government to avoid paying lip service to the notion of tenant empowerment and instead make practical proposals to ensure that tenants’ needs are placed at the heart of any reorganisation of social housing regeneration and regulation.
The government’s proposals to establish the new homes agency, until recently known as Communities England, to head up regeneration and investment in social housing along with a separate social housing regulator are in danger of becoming over-centralised and bureaucratic without an ambitious change programme in place.
The response argues that such a programme must support a significant cultural shift towards tenant empowerment and involvement and new forms of collaboration between the social housing sector, public authorities and the private sector.
In addition, the response calls for:
- Representation of tenants on the Board of the new regeneration body;
- Tenants’ involvement in the development of the regeneration body’s strategy;
- An independent and proactive social housing regulator who will work in a co-regulatory way to ensure that tenants’ needs are incorporated into local provision;
- Social housing providers to be statutorily required to provide to the regulator enhanced information about services including levels of tenant satisfaction, tenant involvement and choice;
- All social housing tenants, including local authority tenants, to be governed by the same regulator.
Joe Bradley, Managing Director of Local Government & Social Housing at Northgate Public Services, said today: If we are to solve the current housing shortage, we have to make social housing a success. We must reach out to all those living on low incomes and within vulnerable communities and we must work in collaboration to achieve high quality, well managed housing which promotes community well-being.
Whilst in principle we support the creation of the new homes agency, until recently known as Communities England, and the social housing regulator, we believe that the government now has the opportunity to be much more ambitious in its policy making. The consultation is high on promises about tenant empowerment and must be robust on the practicalities required to achieve this.
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