Irwell Valley residents have responded to government proposals that Housing Associations should publish details of spending over £500.00 – and it’s a resounding thumbs down.
In a recent consultation we held at Radcliffe Civic Suite, 88% of our resident customers said the proposal is not the best use of their money and is bureaucratic and time consuming for the organisation.
They were also consulted on the new Welfare Reforms, which begin to come into effect from April 2013. The changes include the Universal credit where housing benefit will be combined with other benefits into one monthly payment and paid directly to tenants as opposed to landlords. There was a near unanimous rejection of the move – with 98% of residents preferring the current system.
I think the coalition governmnet would do well to take heed of this consultation. There are more consultations to come – and I suspect the message will be the same.
The social housing sector has for years routinely and voluntarily made public its accounts and they are open to scrutiny from residents and other regulatory mechanisms. The proposal that the sector should publish expenditure over £500 is excessively bureaucratic and our customers clearly don’t want money diverted from the services we offer them to implement a costly exercise. It also reveals little understanding of what is involved in running a business that provides homes and services for thousands of people.
Direct payments to residents who are not used to managing their benefit income or budgeting effectively could result in higher arrears and more evictions. There’s a danger we will lose the face-to-face benefit advice that many of our customers need and value and they are emphatically saying in this consultation that the current system works for them.
We also asked our customers what they thought about the coalition government’s measures to encourage housing associations to build more homes. 100% of residents canvassed said that funding would be better spent on bringing empty homes into use and improving neighbourhoods.
We’re taking this consultation to all our residents. Next stop – Manchester South on April 26th. Further details about all these events will be posted on our Facebook and Twitter pages – and we’ll be sure to post the outcome of all our customer surveys on these critical issues to No. 10!
I would love to hear your opinion on this subject, so please feel free to submit a comment through the form below.
Toms Blog - What The Residents Said...