Issue - meetings

Allocations Policy Review

Meeting: 19/02/2020 - Cabinet (Item 15)

15 Allocations Policy Review pdf icon PDF 243 KB

[To approve amendments to the Allocations Policy for council housing to ensure it remains fit for purpose, making best use of stock and addressing housing need within the City]

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.     That the implementation, from 1 April 2020, of the aspects of the revised Allocation Policy that are not dependant on the development of the IT system as detailed in paragraph 6.4 of the report be approved.  The remainder of the policy, that is dependant on the development of the IT system to be implemented from February 2021.

 

2.     That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing to approve any minor changes to the final policy, where any structural constraints to the IT system are identified which are not able to support implementation of minor aspects of the recommended changes.

 

3.     That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing, to make minor editorial changes to the Allocations Policy when necessary.

 

4.     That the recommendations from the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel referred to in the pre-decision scrutiny at appendix 1 to the report be noted.

 

5.     That it be noted that the Allocations Policy continues to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing, to approve local lettings plans which are time limited variations to the Allocations Policy to achieve specific objectives pertaining to a local area or addressing a specific issue.

Minutes:

Councillor Louise Miles presented to approval a revised Allocations Policy, the scheme by which applicants on the City’s housing register are prioritised for social housing. The Allocations Policy had been reviewed alongside the development of the new City Housing Strategy, adopted in October 2019, which emphasised the need to provide a range of good quality homes whilst making the best use of the social housing stock that we own.

 

Councillor Miles also reported that Councillor Peter Bilson’s commitment to social housing was reflected in major changes to the policy.  A new band would be introduced that gave the greatest priority for housing to applicants with a full homelessness duty who are also care leavers, members of the Armed Forces, require a substantially adapted property, or anyone who requires rehousing due to a significant threat to life. Priority would also be given to residents committed to adopting and fostering, and increased priority for households that are overcrowded. The proposal had undergone pre decision scrutiny by the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel, who had made a suggested change to the Policy that had been reflected in the revised policy document.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the implementation, from 1 April 2020, of the aspects of the revised Allocation Policy that are not dependant on the development of the IT system as detailed in paragraph 6.4 of the report be approved.  The remainder of the policy, that is dependant on the development of the IT system to be implemented from February 2021.

 

2.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing to approve any minor changes to the final policy, where any structural constraints to the IT system are identified which are not able to support implementation of minor aspects of the recommended changes.

 

3.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing, to make minor editorial changes to the Allocations Policy when necessary.

 

4.    That the recommendations from the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel referred to in the pre-decision scrutiny at appendix 1 to the report be noted.

 

5.    That it be noted that the Allocations Policy continues to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, in consultation with the Director for City Assets and Housing, to approve local lettings plans which are time limited variations to the Allocations Policy to achieve specific objectives pertaining to a local area or addressing a specific issue. 


Meeting: 30/01/2020 - Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel (Item 5)

5 Allocations Policy Review pdf icon PDF 240 KB

[To consider the Allocations Policy Review as a Pre-Decision item]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair remarked that the Housing Allocations Policy was being considered by the Panel as a Pre-Decision item, this allowed them to make recommendations to Cabinet before being received by Cabinet in February 2020.

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy opened the presentation on the proposed Housing Allocations Policy.  The Council owned over 22,000 properties within the City, that were managed across five managing agents; Wolverhampton Homes and the City’s four tenant management organisations (TMOs).  Local authorities were legally required to have a policy for allocating housing.  The Council’s Allocation Policy was a choice based letting scheme which had been adopted in 2007.  The Council was undertaking its first full review in twelve years.  They had begun the policy review to ensure it remained modern and fit for purpose.  The key reasons were in part due to the increasing demand on stock, which was decreasing year on year.  Through the Right to Buy Policy about 300 properties were sold each year.  Whilst new houses were built by Wolverhampton Homes and WV Living, they could not replace the housing stock being sold at the same rate.  There had also been an increase in expenditure on emergency accommodation within the City.            

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy remarked that in January 2019 a steering Group had been established led by Council Officers involving Wolverhampton Homes, the Tenant Management Organisations and Legal Services.  Proposals were drawn up based on evidence and analysis.  During September and October 2019 there was internal and public consultation on the proposed changes.  Following consultation a revised policy had been written which was now before the Members of the Panel for consideration.

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy stated that the policy objectives had been updated.  She listed the objectives as follows: -

 

1)    Ensure people in the greatest housing need have the greatest opportunity to access suitable housing that best meets their needs.

 

2)    Make use of a range of housing options and tenures to prevent and relieve homelessness.

 

3)    Make best use of the Council’s and partner registered providers housing stock.

 

4)    Manage applicants’ expectations by being realistic about stock availability, to support them in making informed choices about their housing options, and the extent to which they are able to express reasonable preference.

 

5)    Ensure that the Council’s legal duties and corporate responsibilities are met and that they contribute to delivering the Council’s priorities. 

 

All of the changes proposed in the new policy were designed to meet the five policy objectives. 

 

The Housing Customer Insight Manager remarked that there were 5 levels of need in the current policy.  Emergency was the highest level of need down to Band 4.  Band 4 was for people with no recognised housing need, who had joined the register as they wished to move into social housing.  Band 4 currently accounted for 50% of the total people on the housing register.  One of the key proposals in the new policy was to no longer operate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5