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The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy Seminar 3: St Andrews Choice and voice? Social housing allocations policy and tenant participation across.

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Presentation on theme: "The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy Seminar 3: St Andrews Choice and voice? Social housing allocations policy and tenant participation across."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy Seminar 3: St Andrews Choice and voice? Social housing allocations policy and tenant participation across the UK Dr Jenny Muir 13 th March 2014

2 Contents  Devolution, localism and variegated neoliberalism Financialisation and responsibilisation/ coercion  UK devolution in 2014  Localism and the Big Society in 2014  Social housing cases: Allocations policy Tenant participation  Analysis  Conclusions

3 Devolution, localism and variegated neoliberalism (1) The context for devolution, localism and the Big Society is: 1. ‘Roll back’ neoliberalism - financialisation State intervention ‘rolled back’ to focus on support for capital accumulation: commodification Primacy of market mechanisms: including use of private finance and privatisation in the state sector, along with quasi-market structures International policy transfer; deregulation of economic transactions Welfare costs transferred to the individual and to ‘communities’ 2. ‘Roll out’ neoliberalism – responsibilisation/ coercion:  ‘.. active state-building and regulatory reform’ (Peck and Tickell, 2002: 384)  New forms of governance, institutions, and state structures  Regulation of services  Regulation of conduct

4 Devolution, localism and variegated neoliberalism (2)  Neoliberalisation is uneven, or ‘variegated’  It involves ‘marketized forms of regulatory restructuring’ imposed on existing structures and practices: ‘across all contexts in which they have been mobilized, neoliberalization processes have facilitated marketization and commodification while simultaneously intensifying the uneven development of regulatory forms across places, territories and scales’ (Brenner et al, 2010: 184)  Variegated neoliberalism is multi-level, contingent, and anchored by: Financialisation: market or quasi-market processes, use of credit, individualisation of service provision Responsibilisation: regulation of the individual, with use of coercion if consent cannot be obtained

5 Understanding devolution and localism under variegated neoliberalism  Both devolution and localism contribute towards ideological change and state restructuring: Role of the state: smaller, more regulatory, less direct provision, decline of rights-based services Role of civil society: informal support for ‘communities’ and responsibilised, ‘resilient ‘individuals; paid service provision under contract with the state Role of the market: expanded to include provision of non-market services by the private sector as a key aspect of financialisation  But the process is uneven and takes into account context and history - neoliberalisation as assemblage: ‘... asking how the interplay of multi-scalar actants around a specific project in a specific locality will configure local engagements with neoliberal ideologies or governmentalities’ (Newman, 2013: 7).

6 UK devolution in 2014 (1)  Scotland: 1997 referendum: 74% in favour; 63% in favour of tax-raising powers Scotland Act 1998: established Scottish Parliament, wide range of powers including housing, also tax-raising powers, never used. Welfare reform not devolved Scotland Act 2012: Scottish rate of income tax to replace part of UK income tax, plus other tax powers and new borrowing powers including for capital expenditure (following Calman Commission) Referendum on independence 18 th September 2014  Northern Ireland: 1998 cross-border referendum: 71% in Northern Ireland and 94% in Irish Republic in favour of devolved government Northern Ireland Act 1998: established NI Assembly, wide range of powers including housing; run by enforced cross-community coalition Suspended October 2002 – May 2007 Policing and Justice devolved 2010; provision for Border Poll from 1998 Parity agreement on welfare reform: bedroom tax likely to be only for new tenants

7 UK devolution in 2014 (2)  Wales: 1997 referendum: 50.3% support Welsh Assembly Government of Wales Act 1998: established National Assembly for Wales, no legislative powers but wide rage of administrative powers including housing Government of Wales Act 2006 provided law-making powers 2011 referendum: 63% support Assembly having law-making powers (63%): now the Welsh Government. Welfare reform not devolved Silk Commission Part 1 (2012): taxation and borrowing powers recommended; 2013 Bill to take forward; Silk Commission Part 2 (2014): Policing and Justice should be devolved; but welfare measures should not  Policy convergence or divergence? Most policy areas have remained similar, perhaps due to the retained powers, but some significant differences university fees, care of the elderly, prescription charges, homelessness. Scotland most divergent. Could policy divergence increase due to Coalition government? Or is ‘policy ownership’ more important than policy difference? (McEwan, 2005; Muir, 2013)

8 What devolution is, and what it’s not It is.... Conditional and constrained: -Powers can be changed by legislation at Westminster -Powers not devolved include constitutional matters, defence, foreign affairs, welfare benefits (except NI), most taxation -Westminster may legislate on devolved matters It isn’t...... Federalism: where powers can only be taken away by constitutional change Localism: There is an important layer of government below the devolved administrations – devolution cannot be equated with localism in England, it is more like regionalism

9 Devolution and the changing UK  Political differences with England: Scottish Parliament: Scottish National Party Welsh Government: minority Labour administration Northern Ireland Assembly: 5-party coalition, statist and clientilist All against the Coalition’s ‘smaller state’ agenda  Breaking up or strengthening the UK? Scottish independence referendum Absence of a Northern Ireland border poll The ‘West Lothian question’ hasn’t gone away  New and continuing links: Policy networks: issue-based and professional, civil service (Keating et al, 2012) British – Irish Council established 1998: 8 jurisdictions EU links: Directives, funding, UK-wide negotiations (FCO leads)

10 What is localism? ‘When localism is used in political discourse, its meaning is often purposefully vague and imprecise. It brings geographical understandings about scale and place together with sets of political understandings about decentralisation, participation and community, and managerialist understandings about efficiency and forms of market delivery – moving easily between each of them, even when their fit is uncertain’ (Clarke & Cochrane, 2013:11, emphases added)  Localism is not new: 1970s: left-wing localism e.g. Community Development Projects, voluntary housing movement 1980s: ‘individualistic localism’ including RTB and tenant participation Late 1990s: ‘pragmatic localism’ – to achieve the rights and responsibilities agenda, partnership working, social capital (Jacobs and Manzi, 2013) Some continuity between New Labour’s localism and that of the Coalition – community involvement remains, but without a national framework of standards (Clarke and Cochrane, 2013)

11 Localism in England, 2014  Localism Act 2011: Statutory Regional Development Agencies replaced by non-statutory Local Enterprise Partnerships: ‘the legislative death of regional governance, policy making and administration’ (Bentley and Pugalis, 2013: 262) General power of competence for local government; Council Tax referenda Communities and individuals have right to challenge who delivers a council service; to take over buildings of community value e.g. libraries Planning reforms: abolition of regional strategies; right to draw up a neighbourhood plan; community right to build; community infrastructure levy – but infrastructure projects of national significance are exempt Social housing allocation and tenancy conditions to be decided locally  Social Value Act 2012: Civil society bodies may compete for public service contracts

12 Examples of ‘localism’ in the devolved jurisdictions, 2014  Scotland: Community Right to Buy (rural areas) Community Land Trusts (GB wide) Community Based Housing Associations; Public Asset Transfer Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill: possible extension of Community Right to Buy to urban areas; community right to challenge; more say in council budget decisions; encouragement of tenant management People and Communities Fund: Community-led regeneration  Wales: Community Facilities Programme (community led capital bids) Community Asset Transfer; participatory budgeting (GB wide)  Northern Ireland: Community Asset Transfer: DSD draft policy and NIHE involvement Reform of Public Administration: community development, planning and regeneration to go to councils, but not social housing

13 Whatever happened to the Big Society?  Cabinet Office ‘Big Society’ web page now ‘Community and society’  As well as statutory measures, initiatives have included: Big Society Capital (UK wide, launched July 2011) – investment in social economy projects National Citizen Service Pilots (volunteering for 16-year olds) – evaluation of pilots generally positive Community Organiser training (England): over 400 so far Community First Fund (England) £80m over 4 years Big Society Awards (UK)  Big Society Audit (Slocock, 2013; England only) found: Community empowerment: increased community control of assets, greater transparency from public services, but only a minority feel they can influence decisions and voluntary organisations struggling with rising demand and falling income

14 Big Society Audit contd. Opening up public services: public service outsourcing has been dominated by large private companies; voluntary sector funding has been cut; public services are in some cases failing to deliver a high standard of care. ‘Co-design’ of services is not working Social action: Volunteering levels have risen and so have the number of community organisers, but there has been a ‘dramatic fall’ in charitable giving In all three of the categories above, there is a big class divide – ‘affluent and rural’ communities do best Trust levels have fallen Political engagement, volunteering and charitable giving are all higher amongst older people (all Slocock, 2013) And.... the concept never caught on in the devolved jurisdictions So.... The intended rebalancing between state and civil society has been uneven and has favoured the private sector where markets are involved

15 Social housing case: allocations policy in the UK (1) EnglandWalesNIScotland Eligibility measures Homelessness definition includes priority need YYYN Waiting list residence restriction Y – 2 years advised YYN Exclusion from waiting list for anti-social behaviour Locally determined YYY Access measures Use of private rented sector to discharge duty to homeless applicant without their consent YNNN Short-term tenancies as option (excluding introductory tenancies) YNNN

16 Social housing case: allocations policy in the UK (2) EnglandWalesNIScotland Local lettings schemes, can prioritise working households YYWith DSD permission only Y Bedroom tax (applicant has less control) YYNot yet agreed, likely to be new tenancies only Y Use of choice based lettings (applicant has more control) YYN – pilot under way Y England and Wales after the 2011 Localism Act: ‘Previously almost anyone could apply to live in social housing, whether they need it or not.... The previous arrangements encouraged false expectations and large waiting lists’ (CLG, 2011:15).

17 Analysis: allocations policy  Eligibility: most restricted in England and least so in Scotland  Access measures are also more restricted and more conditional in England, more finely balanced between the other 3 jurisdictions  Financialisation occurs through: use of PRS; bedroom tax (quasi market measure); short-term tenancies – much more so in England than elsewhere. Waiting list restrictions also likely to financialise by pushing more applicants into the PRS  Supply has been financialised through use of RSLs/ private finance  Responsibilisation occurs through: residence and other restrictions to waiting list, short-term tenancies (regular reviews of need), local lettings, CBL, bedroom tax (coercion). Less so in Northern Ireland  Contributions to restructuring: smaller state due to increased gatekeeping role especially in England and reduction of rights to services; increased role of the market through use of PRS, again especially in England

18 Social housing case: tenant participation in the UK (1)  England: Tenant Empowerment Programme including tenant scrutiny panels and training Tenants involved in regulatory framework under principle of co- regulation: regulator only intervenes in breaches of the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard if failure will lead to ‘serious harm’ to tenants TPAS Resident Involvement Quality Standard for social landlords Several provisions in Localism Act aimed at tenants:  Right to Manage resurrected: TMOs and JMBs  Community Cashback: individual services managed by tenants Tenant Cashback: Manage your own repairs But n.b. Big Society Audit findings earlier

19 Social housing case: tenant participation in the UK (2)  Scotland: Statutory right to participate from Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 System of Registered Tenant Organisations; all social landlords must have a tenant participation strategy Tradition of majority tenant Board members: Community based housing associations Scottish Social Housing Charter from 2012, monitored by the Scottish Social Housing Regulator Engagement with social landlords by regulator is proportionate to assessed risk National Panel of Tenants and Service Users: direct feedback to regulator but no structural involvement in regulation Housing associations included as ‘anchor organisations’ for community asset ownership (McKee, 2013)

20 Social housing case: tenant participation in the UK (3)  Wales: Currently no involvement in regulation Tenant Advisory Panel Wales from 2010 – for housing association tenants TMOs possible under legislation but there are none Community Asset Transfer Fund (Big Lottery)  Northern Ireland: NIHE Community Involvement Strategy and well established TP structure for NIHE tenants; involvement of HA tenants weaker but improving; many have tenants on Boards NIHE involved in Community Asset Transfer; Social Housing Enterprise Strategy in development No involvement in regulation: Tenant Scrutiny Panels proposed for NIHE and regulation is being discussed as part of the restructuring of social housing Consultant’s report on restructuring included tenant majority social housing providers, rejected by DSD and the Minister No TMOs or smaller scale opportunities for tenant management

21 Analysis: tenant participation  Rights to participation and to take over service delivery: Former in Scotland, latter much stronger in England than elsewhere  Formal participation in regulation: Co-regulation in England; other jurisdictions advisory or absent  Formal involvement in governance: Tenant majority tradition in Scotland; via TMOs in England; less strong elsewhere  (Minor) Financialisation occurs through: Service delivery transfer, community asset transfer and other social enterprise measures.  Responsibilisation occurs through: Everything! Stronger in England and Scotland; much weaker in Wales and Northern Ireland  Restructuring: state to civil society, but varies across UK: Rights based in Scotland Service based in England State still stronger in Wales and Northern Ireland  Increasing use of PRS likely to decrease involvement?

22 Conclusions  Differences in allocations policies and TP across the UK may be analysed via the dynamics of assemblage configurations, e.g. context; history; laws, policies and practice; regulation; rights based or conditional access to services; role of private sector; role of civil society including campaigning  ‘Choice’ in allocations is being restricted by changes to eligibility and access measures, particularly in England  ‘Voice’ via TP is being directed towards co-production and co-regulation, particularly (in different ways) in both England and Scotland  Allocations policies and use of tenant participation have contributed to the restructuring of social housing provision towards: A smaller state Market or quasi-market measures (including the social economy) Civil society involvement in service delivery and regulation  BUT this varies across the UK jurisdictions – and the state still has an important part to play in social housing policy and delivery

23 References (1)  Bentley, G. and Pugalis, L. (2013) ‘New directions in economic development: Localist policy discourses and the Localism Act’, Local Economy 28(3): 257-274.  Brenner, N., Peck, J. and Theodore, N. (2010) ‘Variegated neoliberalization: geographies, modalities, pathways’, Global Networks 10(2): 182-222.  Clarke, N. and Cochrane, A. (2013) ‘Geographies and politics of localism: The localism of the United Kingdom’s coalition government’, Political Geography 34: 10- 23.  Corbett, S. and Walker, A. (2013) ‘The big society: Rediscovery of ‘the social’ or rhetorical fig-leaf for neo-liberalism?’, Critical Social Policy 33(3): 451-472.  Jacobs, K. and Manzi, T. (2013) ‘New Localism, Old Retrenchment: The ‘Big Society’, Housing Policy and the Politics of Welfare Reform’, Housing, Theory and Society 30(1): 29-45.  Keating, M., Cairney, P. and Hepburn, E. (2012) ‘Policy Convergence, Transfer and Learning in the UK under Devolution’, Regional and Federal Studies 22(3): 289- 307.  Leyland, P. (2011) ‘The multifaceted constitutional dynamics of UK devolution’, International Journal of Constitutional Law 9(1): 251-273.

24 References (2)  Lowndes, V. and Pratchett, V. (2012) ‘Local Governance under the Coalition Government: Austerity, Localism and the ‘Big Society’’, Local Government Studies 38(1): 21-40.  Maclennan, G. and O’Sullivan, T. (2013) ‘Localism, Devolution and Housing Policies’, Housing Studies, 28(4): 599-615.  McEwan, N. (2005) ‘The Territorial Politics of Social Policy Development in Multi-Level States’, Regional and Federal Studies 15 (4): 537-554.  McKee, K. (2013) ‘Housing Associations and the ‘New Localism’: understanding the contested nature of neoliberal governing practices at the local scale’, presentation to ESRC seminar series The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy, 7 th March, Sheffield.  Muir, J. (2013) ‘The dynamics of policy-making under UK devolution: social housing in Northern Ireland’, Housing Studies 28(7): 1081-1093.  Newman, J. (2013) ‘Landscapes of Antagonism: Local Governance, Neoliberalism and Austerity’, Urban Studies published online 24 th September 2013.  Peck, J. and Tickell, A. (2002) ‘Neoliberalizing Space’, Antipode 34(3): 380-404.  Slocock, S. (2013) The Big Society Audit 2013, Civil Exchange.


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