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New Roles and Challenges1 Local Authority Housing: New Roles and Challenges n Introduction: Past two decades very difficult for local authority sector.

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Presentation on theme: "New Roles and Challenges1 Local Authority Housing: New Roles and Challenges n Introduction: Past two decades very difficult for local authority sector."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Roles and Challenges1 Local Authority Housing: New Roles and Challenges n Introduction: Past two decades very difficult for local authority sector in Irland. n Sector has suffered from declining reputation, poor standing relative to other tenures, poor morale within housing departments, questions and doubt about its future role in the housing system. n Experience not unique to Ireland, also evident in other European countries.

2 2 Social Housing Trends in Europe n Key features of European Social Housing since mid 1970’s n Onset of Residualisation n Segregation and Differentiation of Municipal and Local Authority rented stock n Impact of Management Weakness

3 3 Onset of Residualisation n Onset of Residualisation marked by a number of trends: n Change in social composition of tenants n Higher proportion of poorer and marginalised households n Shift from mass role to welfare role n Departure of better off tenants and households

4 4 Segregation and Differentiation n Segregation of local authority and municipal stock from mainstream social housing. n Increasing association with “problem estates”. n Many estates marked by racial tension, social problems, isolation and exclusion from surrounding areas.

5 5 Management Weakness in Municipal Sector n Management often seen as remote, bureaucratic and unresponsive to tenant needs. n Lack of response especially to peripheral high rise estates fed into disenchantment with sector as a whole. n Poor structures of tenant consultation and communication.

6 6 Reasons for Decline n Decline in level of political support for Social Housing in most European countries from mid 1970’s onwards. n Changes in nature of subsidy and financing of social housing, greater targetting at poor households. n New emphasis on policies of privatisation, demunicipalisation, transfer to new landlord

7 7 Decline in Political Support n Perception that ‘post war’ housing problems had been solved. n Wider dissilussionment with role and performance of welfare state. n Emergence of New Right and emphasis on rolling back the state, reliance on markets and private provision, cutting public spending.

8 8 Changes in Subsidy and Finance n Shift from producer subsidy to consumer subsidy n Introduction of Housing Allowances n Market rents spurred departure of better off tenants. n New incentives to expand home ownership. n Restructring and contraction of private rental sector.

9 9 Policies of Privatisation and Deregulation n Widspread deregulation of social landlords: reinvented as commercial landlords. n Sales to tenants of dwellings especially in UK n Opt out legislation reduced role of local authorities through establishment of Housing Action Trusts, LSVT. n LA landlords left with poorest stock and poorest tenants

10 10 The Irish Experience. n Broad similarities with European Trends n 1980’s Policies aimed at reducing absolute and relative size of sector: n Capital cutbacks, 1984 Surrender Grant Scheme, 1988 Tenant Purchase n 1990’s Focus on broadening alternatives to Local Authority provision n Critique of management and practice models

11 11 Alternative Sources n Plan for Social Housing, implicit criticism of Local Authority housing performance. n Proposed range of alternative housing providers from social and voluntary sector to supplement output of local authorities. n Also offered schemes to promote shared ownership, rental subsidy, capital assistance n Co-ordinating and Promotional role for L.A.

12 12 Management Reform n Reports of Housing Management Group (1996, 1998) offered recommendations on good housing practice: n Better co-ordination between sections involved in housing provision. n Stronger focus on estates n Better implementation of tenancy agreements, responding to anti-social behaviour

13 13 Reform of Housing Practice n More efficient, effective and closely monitored maintenance service n Better mangement of lettings n Debvelopment of communications and consultation with tenants n Better training and development of staff n Development of performance indicators n Introduction of I.T. for management info

14 14 Constraints on Good Practice n Barriers to imlementing good pracice guidelines of a structural nature outside direct control of housing depts. n Local Governenment versus Local Administration: Deskbound & Rule Driven n Dual Sysem stronger influence of technical grades “bricks and mortar” view andabsence of active management response to problems

15 15 Constraints on Good Practice n Industrial relations: Rigid work practices,restrictive work practices inefficiencies and resistance to change n Overemphasis on physical aspects of estates, refurbishment and rehabilitation to cure all problems, absence of community development or social dimension n Rental income below management and maintenance costs, revenue pressures on local authorities

16 16 Constraints on Good Practice n Relationship of LA with DoELG based on narrow auditing culture n Absence of strong strategic leadership from DoELG which could turn tradition of centralisation in positive direction. n Generation of knowledge: monitoring of housing management performance, efficiency of maintenance, defining and assessing problem estates etc.

17 17 Future Challenges n Critical role in alleviating housing need, largest providers of non-market housing. n Return to large scale provision ie pre 1980’s should be restored - to between 20% and 30% of new provision via mix of LA and voluntary providers. n Creative responses to meeting need should be explored eg turn key developments, acquisitions.

18 18 Future Challenges n Housing practice and management reform still sporadic and fragmented. Continuing reliance on initiative of individual officers rather than organisational and structural change. n Role of IPA Housing Unit as strategic resource in offering research, evaluation and training to housing departments especially

19 19 Future Challenges n addressing the information deficit. n Defining and applying criteria of housing performance; assessment of responsivness, and efficiency of maintenance services, correlation of national data on voids and abandoned dwellings; extent and effectiveness of tenant participation, detailed picture of tenant population.

20 20 Future Challenges n Preparing LA for new sources of demand eg racial and ethnic minorities. n Assessing performance of SPC’s role in developing greater co-ordination within housing sphere. n Long term aim: Broaden remit of LA housing beyond welfare housing as way of eliminating social segregation from the system.


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