Plans to review and redesign Bradford district’s social housing allocations policy will be heard next week.
The Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet on January 10 for an update on whether the Social Housing Allocations Policy is fit for purpose and meeting the needs of the district’s population.
The policy was last reviewed in 2009 but since then there have been changes including new guidance to housing allocations and new welfare measures, bringing about a need for an updated review.
It is hoped the review will enable better management of waiting lists, promote mobility for existing social tenants, meet local need and circumstances, ensure social homes go to those in greatest need, and take into account Government policy changes and welfare reform.
Among welfare reforms are changes to the way housing benefit is calculated for working-age households renting from a social landlord.
From April 1 this year, housing benefit will be calculated based on the size of the household. Current figures show that in Bradford 3,134 households are over-accommodated by one bedroom and will receive a 14 per cent reduction in benefit payments. A further 860 households are over-accommodated by two or more bedrooms and will get a 25 per cent reduction in payments.
Some tenants may be moved into vacant properties or be involved in a mutual exchange with overcrowded households.
The current policy for social housing in the district is a Choice Based Lettings (CBL) scheme, which operates a four-band system ranking from urgent need for housing to no specific needs.
Although the CBL system is said to have worked well in Bradford, it is believed to have its limitations, especially in its aim to empower applicants to ‘bid’ for properties.
A joint Bradford Council and Incommunities pilot scheme has been running in Airewharfe to try and address the CBL’s weaknesses.
Feedback from the pilot includes an improvement in the proportion of lettings to those in greatest need, better flexibility and reduced bureaucracy.