Regeneration: dead or alive?
Mike Wood, Strategic Planning and Development Manager, South Lanarkshire Council
Fraser Stewart, Director, New Gorbals Housing Association
‘Regeneration’s about making the place ‘normal’. Nowadays, regeneration will take longer, might not deliver the same outcomes and will involve different partners and funding. The social and economic costs of doing something have to be offset against the costs of doing nothing. Big programmes are gone, but let’s focus on what we CAN do. For some, a‘community anchor’ more than a ‘housing regen’ role’.
The future for Public Services
Colin Mair, Chief Executive, Improvement Service
Elma Murray, Chair, SOLACE and Chief Executive, North Ayrshire Council
Ross Martin, Policy Director, Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP)
Inequality drives unsustainable patterns of demand in public services and is therefore the key driver for public sector reform. Public sector reform is a need regardless of public sector cuts and the challenge is to think through how to do things differently given the lack of evidence to support any claim that increased investment improves performance.
Starter tenancies and tenancy sustainment
John Urwin, Manager, Your Homes Newcastle
Darren Asquith, Housing Managemnet Group Manager, Berneslai Homes
Starter tenancies provide an effective management tool, supporting tenancy sustainment and reducing evictions – for John this was from around 300 pa in 2002 to 27 last year. Darren made clear distinctions between the ‘can’t do’ and ‘won’t do’ tenants, with both reiterating that eviction is last resort. Effective use means having clear links into vulnerability strategies and more focused pre-tenancy work.
How housing providers can influence health and social care
Brian Cavanagh, Consultant
"Stop thinking about what health can do for you, but what you as housing providers can do to help health meet its own targets, e.g. on reducing the number of unscheduled A&E admissions by older people who've had falls. Think who you (and your board members) already know in the health board - you may have more routes to influence than you realise."
Evolving to deliver your services
Duncan McNaught, Chief Executive, West of Scotland Housing Association
Olga Clayton, Head of Housing and Community Care, North Ayrshire Council
John Craggs, Deputy Chief Executive, Gentoo Group
Drivers for change come in many guises, positive and negative, you must continuously scan the horizon looking for threats and opportunities. As Duncan put it, “Better to do it yourself than have it done to you!” John Greggs agreed, warning “if you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less!”. Whilst Olga pondered, is it evolution or revolution we’re talking about in the current climate?
Welfare Reform: the local authority's wider role in mitigation
Lorna Campbell, Principal Benefits Officer, Dumfries & Galloway Council
Peter Barry, Head of Customer and Community Services, West Dunbartonshire Council
Lorna Campbell said: “Our demonstration project has made it clear the universal credit is going to have a massive impact. We know we are going to have some crisis management to do.” Peter Barry said that West Dunbartonshire – one of the poorest communities in western Europe – already has enough problems to deal with without the “bombshell” of universal credit.
Who can build social rented housing?
Susan Torrance, Policy Manager, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Tony Cain, Head of Housing and Customer Service, Stirling Council
Other than legacy RSL site starts the sums just don't add up for new social supply at 40% grant rates without willingness to see rents at £120pw. To unleash the full potential of LA new build capacity will take HRA transparency and that means facing the tricky issue of HRA accountability. Meanwhile, let's make more of buying back empty homes.
Welfare Reform: payment methods and collection systems
Siobhan Mullen, Customer Service Manager, West Lothian Council
Alison Wright, Marketing and Development Manager, West Lothian Credit Union
Siobhan Mullen said: "Welfare reform is both attacking vulnerable members of society and hitting many of our key priorities as housing providers. Our two main objectives have been training and communication."
Alison Wright outlined a new 'jam jar' account being developed by the credit union for the most vulnerable tenants, where benefits are paid in and immediately ring-fenced into different ‘jam jars’ for rent, council tax etc.
Housing for wheelchair users – sweating our assets
Fraser Gilmore, Casework and Development Manager, Housing Options Scotland
Grant Carson, Director, Employment and Housing Services, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living
Has housing forgotten wheelchair users? The answer is yes. In Scotland 5.1 per cent of homes have a wheelchair user and 1 in 4 (17,042 households) do not meet the needs of wheelchairs users. In addition, disabled people are being hit hard by Welfare Reform. The solution is not just about new homes, but also about making best use of existing homes through adaptations and effective allocation.
ng homes wins Regeneration Award
From extensive physical regeneration to the creation of permanent job opportunities, with close working with schools and colleges and an extensive programme of promoting sport and physical activity, the range of activities instigated by ng was considered by the award judges to be extremely impressive. The judges felt it would be difficult to imagine a better example of a housing body acting as a community anchor.
The Minister said that local councils’ strategic local programmes would produce over 8,000 affordable homes, of which 70% would be for affordable rent. She announced a working group was being set up to consider how best to maintain a strong supply programme – looking at affordability of rents, financial capacity and subsidy rates. CIH Scotland will be among the group members.
Chair says UK Govt 'in a mess' over bedroom tax
“The Prime Minister said last week that families with disabled children would not be penalised, and yet his government is fighting a legal challenge from 10 disabled children who say the bedroom tax is discriminatory. These mixed messages are unhelpful for landlords and tenants and also suggest that the UK Government is itself confused. They really need to sort out this mess.”