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    I have just read the discussion paper.
    My first observation is that the examples of outcomes given are all areas where we are regulated under the present system and I don't see how the Charter will change very much in either our regulation or our desire to improve our service to customers. Good practice guides already cover all of these areas.

    My second observation is that most of the suggested outcomes are self evident.

    I would still like to see the Scottish Government be clear on who social housing is for. Is it part of our welfare state where people access when they need it and then move on or is it a tenure that we want people to aspire to and stay in for life? I suppose these issues are for the "Fresh Thinking/New Ideas " consultation rather than the social housing charter but it is important in managing customer expectations in future.

    The outcome on anti social behaviour is of great importance to customers and most will want firm action from landlords on enforcement of tenancy conditions. However, a growing proportion of the customers who cause the anti social behaviour are themselves vulnerable and come from very difficult backgrounds. Enforcing tenancy conditions can lead to eviction or abandonment which perpetuates the cycle of homelessness. Housing the Homeless is already a government priority so the proportion of vulnerable tenants being housed will increase and so the cycle continues.

    Serious consideration should be given to expanding the use of short tenancies with support. This would give existing customers some comfort that, should a new tenant fail to show that they are able to meet their tenancy conditions, the landlord can act quickly to remove them from the property. Finding the support will be difficult in the current climate, however, this is vital to starting a tenancy well and sustaining a tenancy which is what we are striving for.

    Value for money and efficiency means we should collect more of our rental income and our customers who do pay rent are very keen that we take action against those who don't. The move to a Universal Credit, which is a good idea, will create difficulties for landlords used to receiving over 50% of their income directly from Councils through HB. Giving customers choice about how they spend their benefit will lead to higher arrears and either more evictions or less efficient organisations.

    The Charter is self evident, the challenge of meeting it is tough!

    Posted on behalf of -

    Sandy Welsh
    Head Of Housing Services
    Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division (admin) - 28/02/2011
    Tagged as: outcomes, Charter process, tenancy support, anti social behaviour,

    1 comment

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