The Government published its Social Housing Green Paper on 14 August, 2018 in response to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
The Green Paper sets out a 12 week consultation, closing on 6 November, where the Government will work with our tenants at Arawak Walton Housing Association to feed into the consultation response.
The Green Paper draws upon a listening exercise ministers carried out with social housing tenants, and strikes a positive tone about social housing. It repeatedly stresses the importance of social housing for the country, and is presented as “a fundamental shift in the states approach to social housing and the people who call it home”.
The paper covers five key themes as follows:
- Ensuring homes are safe and decent
The emphasis on safety is very much based on the response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Echoing to the Hackitt Review, it calls for better information and new approaches to communicating with and engagement with residents on safety issues.
The paper also calls for a review of the Decent Homes Standard, and points out that some safety measures applying to private landlords do not extend to social landlords.
- Effective resolution of complaints
The Government is seeking views on how to ensure complaints are resolved swiftly and effectively, and whether landlords reporting of complaints handling can be improved.
- Empowering residents and strengthening the regulator
The Government suggests league tables based on key performance indicators covering matters such as repairs, safety, handling complaints, engagement with residents and neighbourhood management. It calls for data on landlord performance to be made available and accessible residents.
- Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities
The most consistent theme raised by residents was the perceived stigma of being a social housing tenant. The Green Paper looks at ways of overcoming this and refers to a number of initiatives by housing associations including the “see the person” campaign.
- Expanding supply and supporting home ownership
The paper acknowledges the need of social housing, stressing both its importance in its own right and its contribution to the overall supply of new housing. It reaffirms the target in last year’s White Paper of 300,000 houses annually by the mid-2020s and proposes to ease borrowing rules for local authorities.