The Council was required to have an Allocation Policy setting out who was eligible to be considered for social housing and how eligible households would be prioritised. New legislation in respect of homelessness duties and a corporate need to look at ICT systems had prompted a full review of the operation and effectiveness of the current Allocation Policy.
The current Allocation Policy prioritised each application by points awarded for various housing need and local factors, with the accumulative points score giving applicants their priority on the Housing Register. The draft Allocation Policy removed this in favour of a banding system, where groups of households with similar need characteristics were placed together in ‘band’ and then prioritised in date order.
It was suggested that banding offered a more transparent framework for applicants and would reduce the administrative burden on the Housing Solutions Team, freeing up case officers to do more proactive homeless prevention work.
Concerns were expressed by some Members about a number of aspects of the draft Allocation Policy, in particular relating to the proposed limit of one offer for applicants falling into certain categories within the bandings; it therefore suggested that the item be deferred until the next meeting in order to review the wording in the draft policy, when there would also be an opportunity to consider it alongside the draft Homelessness Strategy.
The Executive agreed to adopt the draft Allocation Policy. However, the Policy would be kept under review and meetings between Members raising concerns, the Portfolio Holder, and relevant officers would be undertaken to address these matters.
RESOLVED that the draft Allocations Policy setting out the framework for the allocation of housing association homes in the Borough, as set out at Annex B to the agenda report, be implemented but kept under regular review in light of concerns regarding the intention, interpretation and impact of the Policy in relation to its application to specific cases and further legislative or regulatory changes.