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DEBATE ON CUSTOMER FOCUSED APPROACHES TO HOUSING ALLOCATIONS ENCOURAGED

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The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland today launched a report 'Allocations and choice in Scotland - A Disc...
The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland today launched a report 'Allocations and choice in Scotland - A Discussion Paper'.*

The report highlights how traditional housing allocation systems are increasingly being seen as bureaucratic and in need of reform. This conclusion is based on the results of a series of focus groups with social landlord staff, tenants and other housing bodies.

In England 27 pilot choice based lettings projects have been funded by the government largely based on Dutch allocation models. Scotland has been more cautious and debate on increasing choice more limited. To date only two landlords (Edinburgh City Council and Berwickshire Housing Association) have actively developed choice-based lettings systems.

Alan Ferguson, director of CIH in Scotland said:

'Developing customer focused services is rightly becoming increasingly important in the provision of social housing. We need to move away from being seen as the gatekeepers to housing and as paternalistic in our dealings with potential tenants. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, in prompting common housing registers and tenant participation, has helped to give a clearer focus on developing a customer focused approaches.

'The CIH feels that now is the time to push the allocation of social housing debate further by turning the spotlight on how much choice potential tenants have in accessing housing that meets their needs and aspirations. With this launch we are asking how best can social housing consumers be given real choice?'

The report itself aims to facilitate this debate. It clearly presents the issues and the pros and cons of existing and new allocation systems. It looks at how improvements could be delivered through both choice based lettings schemes and measures to improve current systems.

Alan Ferguson went on to say:

'With this report we are saying that social landlords need to start assessing how well their exiting systems empower their customers. If there are shortcomings then they should look at what options exist to improve choice. This report should help them do that.'

Notes

The CIH in Scotland report 'Allocations and choice in Scotland - A Discussion Paper' is available by contacting the CIH on 024 7685 1752. Price£15 +£1.50 P&P.

Visit our website for up to date information on CIH policy: www.cihscotland.org

* See LGCnet.

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