Nick Sedgwick
Blog 20/11/2018 Housing

Social Housing Green Paper joint response

Back in September we highlighted that the Government had published a Green Paper on Social Housing - we submitted a joint response (pdf, 191kb) with Anchor last week.

The Green Paper was based on five core themes:

  1. Ensuring homes are safe and decent
  2. Effective resolution of complaints
  3. Empowering residents and strengthening the regulator
  4. Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities
  5. Expanding supply and supporting home ownership

We consulted residents from both organisations to help inform our submission. This is important, as customer focus and listening to our customers is very much key to the new Anchor Hanover brand.

It’s difficult to summarise everything we included because of the wide range of issues and questions. Below is a summary of the information included in our joint response.

We were all shocked by the Grenfell fire tragedy so we support proportionate actions to ensure the quality and safety of homes. There is already considerable regulation, which Hanover and Anchor work hard to meet. However, it would be appropriate to review the Decent Homes Standard and to introduce additional measures to ensure homes in high rise blocks are safe.

Anchor and Hanover have strong approaches to dealing with complaints, supported by resident complaints panels. However, we understand that there is mixed performance across landlords and there are concerns about how seriously complaints are treated and the amount of time it can take to resolve complaints.

A core point of the Green Paper is to ensure residents can be more influential understanding the performance of landlords to drive improvement in services. We are keen that any new approaches introduced by the Government are focused on supporting transparency, rather than producing a range of information that will not be useful to residents. We believe the current approach by the Regulator of Social Housing is effective, but we would support developing their approach to ensure residents experience good quality homes and services.

Many residents told us that they don’t feel stigmatised as a result of living in social housing. However, if a stigma exists it is important that we do not do anything that may add to it. There is the risk that, by focusing only on neighbourhoods that are primarily social housing, we will do just that.

The Government has now announced most of its actions to support the development of new social housing, including:

  • A new £2bn affordable homes programme from 2022
  • Removing the cap from the amount that local councils can borrow to build new homes

It is important that there is sufficient focus on developing housing for older people.

Meanwhile, we await any response from Government, plus also the planned Green Paper on Adult Social Care, which has been promised for the autumn.

Nick Sedgwick
Director of Service Development at Hanover

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