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Business group urges social housing competition

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Councils should open management of their housing to competition from the private sector, the CBI has said.

It claimed service standards had declined because they lacked the spur to innovation created by competition.

According to the CBI just one home in 80 is managed by a private body at present.

“With no requirement to go to the market and see if another provider can deliver better services for the same or less cost, many housing managers simply opt for the status quo,” its report Improving Homes, Improving Lives, said.

Compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) for social housing management was briefly enforced in the mid-1990s but was abandoned after it was shunned by the private sector and only a handful of councils let contracts to outside bidders.

Report author Susan Anderson, the CBI’s director of public services and skills, said: “This would not be a return to CCT, but we are saying councils should look at what the private sector can provide it could be a way to get a better quality service for social housing.

Abbie Davies, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “It would be interesting to see what different providers could offer but tenants nowadays get a lot of information and they look at costs and are the drivers for action if they think a housing manager is not providing good value.”

One observer said they thought the CBI had produced the report because “it has obviously been lobbied by firms that want to create a market for housing management”.

Click here to read CBI report Improving Homes, Improving Lives

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