Decision details

To approve the revised HomeseekerPlus Allocations policy for adoption in early
2022.

Decision Maker: Managing Director - Place and Growth - Tim Atkins

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

To approve the revised HomeseekerPlus Allocations policy for adoption in early

2022

.

This decision is in line with the approval given at the cabinet meeting on the

11.02.20 to:

 Consult on the revised HomeseekerPlus Policy

 

 Delegate authority to the Managing Director Place & Growth, in

consultation with the Cabinet Member Housing, to approve the new policy

after the consultation period has ended; provided that there are no further

material changes other than those that have already been identified within

this report.

Reasons for the decision:

HomeseekerPlus is a choice based lettings (CBL) scheme run by the HomeseekerPlus

Partnership which consists of the six local authorities within Gloucestershire and

West Oxfordshire District Council who work in partnership with social landlords to

provide affordable homes for people to rent. Properties from these housing

providers are advertised on the HomeseekerPlus website, which applicants can then

apply for.

 

The purpose of the HomeseekerPlus Allocations Policy is to explain who is eligible to

apply for affordable housing and how their housing needs will be assessed. This

assessment must be in line with relevant legislation and the statutory code of

guidance on the allocation of accommodation, as these set out how applications will

be assessed in a fair and transparent way based on housing need.

 

The revised HomeseekerPlus Policy has been developed in collaboration with key

stakeholders including officers from Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham

Borough Homes and the other local authorities and housing providers who make up

the membership of the HomeseekerPlus Operational Group and the

HomeseekerPlus Management Board.

 

Public consultation on the proposed changes ran from 1st February for a period of 8

weeks, ending on the 29th March 2021 with Forest of Dean District Council

coordinating the consultation on behalf of the partnership.

 

Following the collaboration and consultation exercises two additional minor

changes were made to the policy, as follows:

 In cases where a member of a household is disabled and requires

rehousing, greater clarity has been provided in order to distinguish

people with minor non housing related physical barriers from those

with urgent housing related physical barriers where the current

home cannot be adapted to meet the person’s needs.

 

 A paragraph which allowed social housing landlords to make a

decision on an allocation where two or more applicants have the

same application dates has been removed in order to reflect current

practices.

 

There are a number of other minor changes to the policy which are to address

spelling, punctuation and grammar in relation to presentation. These changes have

not changed the overall document, meanings, or how applicants are assessed or

allocated housing and some formatting updates are still required to the final

document. The final version of the policy will be proof-read for further typos, etc.,

ahead of publication.

Alternative options considered:

To not approve and adopt the revised HomeseekerPlus Policy

It is recommended that this is rejected as the revised HomeseekerPlus Policy reflects

the aims of recent legislative changes and provides clarification to ensure that the

policy is applied more consistently throughout the partnership

Wards Affected: (All Wards);

Other reasons / organisations consulted

The consultation survey sought views on a range of aspects of the policy such as

the objectives of the allocation policy, banding criteria, methods of bidding and the

qualifying criteria.

 

In total there were 232 responses to the consultation survey. The overall responses

were positive to the suggested changes and no changes were made as a result of

the responses received.

 

Officers have also consulted with Councillor Mike Collins – cabinet member for

housing who is supportive of the decision to adopt the revised policy.

Consultees

The revised HomeseekerPlus Policy has been developed in collaboration and

consultation with key stakeholders including officers from Cheltenham Borough

Council and Cheltenham Borough Homes and the other local authorities and housing

providers who make up the membership of the HomeseekerPlus Operational Group

and the HomeseekerPlus Management Board.

 

A formal public consultation on the proposed changes ran from 1st February for a

period of 8 weeks, ending on the 29th March 2021 with Forest of Dean District Council

coordinating the consultation survey on behalf of the partnership.

 

Additionally the consultation was publicised to all 19,000 applicants who are

registered on HomeseekerPlus, housing providers and councils and consultees

included applicants, District Councillors and key internal and external stakeholders.

It was also publicised via social media platforms and on the HomeseekerPlus

website.

Contact: Tim Atkins, Managing Director Place and Growth 01242 264103 Email: tim.atkins@cheltenham.gov.uk.

Publication date: 19/11/2021

Date of decision: 19/11/2021