Allocations Policy (Agenda Item 14)
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To agree the Allocations Policy for consultation.
1. the revised Allocations Policy be approved for consultation;
2. prior approval be given that should the Government bring forward a proposal to grant a mandatory additional preference to applicants under “Right to Move” that it can be incorporated without a further Cabinet report; and
3. the Policy be subject to partner and public consultation for 28 dys.
Reasons for the decision:
1 It is necessary to include legislative changes into the Allocations Policy particularly those concerning the prioritisation of applications from ex-forces personnel and dependants in certain circumstances and the exceptions to the local connection criteria under “Right to Move”. The government has recommended that authorities consider setting a quota for these moves and that if this is below 1% that they must justify their decision. Officers have considered whether a quota would be appropriate. They are not recommending the setting of a quota at present as they do not believe that sufficient monitoring information is available to make an informed decision. They propose to review this situation once twelve months of data from the new Choice Based Lettings system is available.
2 As well as relaxing the need to have an absolute local connection where an applicant has an offer of employment within Breckland in certain circumstances the Government has stated that it is mindful to grant a mandatory additional preference to such applicants. If it does so that change will have to be incorporated within the Allocations Policy so giving prior approval now will allow the change to be made with minimum bureaucracy.
3 Clarification has been given to special circumstances that may be taken into account to allow the allocation of housing to applicants not strictly meeting the local connection where otherwise certain stock may remain empty. An example would be sheltered housing. Furthermore there are circumstances where an applicant may not be able to demonstrate a local connection directly but that may need to receive care from someone who can and there are strong welfare grounds for that person being in Breckland. Clarification has also been given to circumstances where a person may have to relocate due to grounds of personal safety such as fleeing domestic violence, (such arrangements are reciprocal between Housing Authorities).
4 While the changes proposed are either driven by legislation or minor there is still a requirement to consult with Registered Providers of social housing in the District. A large scale public consultation would appear to be unnecessary given that there are minimal optional changes proposed and the cost would be disproportionate. However it is proposed to make available the report and policy on the website and in our one stops shops and provide the opportunity for comment at the same time as the consultation with Registered Providers.
Alternative options considered:
N/A – Legilsative changes have to be reflected in the Allocations Policy.
Report author: Tim Mills
Publication date: 23/09/2015
Date of decision: 22/09/2015
Decided at meeting: 22/09/2015 - Cabinet
Effective from: 01/10/2015