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NIHE: Opportunities and Challenges of Reform Donald Hoodless Chairman Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

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Presentation on theme: "NIHE: Opportunities and Challenges of Reform Donald Hoodless Chairman Northern Ireland Housing Executive."— Presentation transcript:

1 NIHE: Opportunities and Challenges of Reform Donald Hoodless Chairman Northern Ireland Housing Executive

2 Change inevitable with devolution This leads to local political involvement Change is Necessary Insufficient public finance, opportunity to use private finance Public bodies limited in what they can do Need organisations to act as social entrepreneurs Building – range of tenures Developing community projects –Training –Employment

3 NIHE’s Reaction Housing Executive has supported the case for change We welcome the Minister’s intent to secure the future for social housing The separation of landlord and non- landlord roles is a logical step Landlord role giving access to private money provides scope for greater innovation This will benefit the Exchequer and tenants

4 Shaping the debate The Housing Executive will be a key part of this debate. We know housing and we need to use our knowledge to establish options through inputting our ideas e.g. –What sort of landlord? How many? How should they be arranged? –What might the regional body look like? How will homelessness services be delivered? How will the assessment of need be done?

5 We have already… Developed an interim structure that separates landlord and non-landlord services Split the organisation accounts into landlord and non landlord –Within landlord, introduced “trading accounts” at Area level Reflected this split in our corporate plan –And soon we will see separate plans with bespoke vision, values objectives and KPIs for each strand

6 Now moving to split staff into those providing Landlord Services those providing Regional Services Those providing services to both the Landlord & Region A generalist Housing Executive not split in this way lacks Focus on individual services –the landlord –Supporting People for example

7 Landlord –needs better IT –better reporting – tenancy turnover - why & where tenants go - maintenance Supporting People –what services are there for vulnerable people –what are the gaps

8 What happens to NIHE? Proposal is to split in two –Non-landlord functions to new regional body this should be NDPB with Board appointed on –basis of skills/competencies

9 Regional Body Easy to set up –Some difficult areas – homelessness Key issue is relationship with its Sponsoring Department Many of its functions would be carried out by local authorities in GB Therefore mixed roles – –a strategic agency of government –managing operational services

10 Rent Panel Its role needs to be clear –What is appropriate rent level for social housing tenants –What is appropriate annual increase Should it be part of an independent regulator

11 Regulation Two issues to debate 1.Does regulation by Department, turn Housing Association into public bodies? Should it be at Arms Length? 2.How regulation operates in practice –the current arrangements too detailed and interventionist –should the focus be on finance and governance

12 Landlords Role delivered through a new social enterprise model Model suggested is a Housing Association but other not for profit structures could be considered Key question on number of new landlords is whether or not they should serve the community as a whole or only one group – that determines the number If a decision is taken to divide the landlord, maintaining a Non-Sectarian focus would be a critical consideration

13 New Landlord Structures Key issues –Number and type of new landlords –Dealing with the existing Housing Executive debt –Paying for the assets Working assumption is that the new landlords are created from within NIHE but –What role for stock transfer? –Should the current 2,500 unit programme be increased? Why would tenants want to change landlord?

14 Key to new landlords role is close working with their tenants on a housing plus agenda

15 Challenges Maintaining Principles –Preserving the values of Housing Executive – fairness, equality, objectives and transparency Ensuring full engagement with staff and stakeholders Communication Changing Cultures –at Housing Executive – public body to a social business –at Housing Associations – social entrepreneurs? –at Department – what does being strategic mean in practice; hands-off or controlling –gaining political “buy in”

16 What does 2015 look like? We should aim to have by 2015 –Agreed functions / structures for regional body, and relationship with DSD, and any legislative requirements sorted –Have clarity over regulatory function –Have detailed proposals agreed on rent panel, and legislation drafted and progressing –Have agreed number and type of landlords, and their territories Agreement needs to be at NI Executive level Then it can happen


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