CWAG News Update March 2020

CWAG News Update March 2020

This update includes the following: 

 
·         Budget 2020 – Housing Announcements
·         Housing Ombudsman - changes to Complaints Arrangements
·         First Homes- Consultation
·         Coronavirus and future CWAG Events
·         New in the Library / Recent Publications
 

This update includes the following: 

 
·         Budget 2020 – Housing Announcements
·         Housing Ombudsman Announces changes to Complaints Arrangements
·         First Homes- Consultation
·         Coronavirus and future CWAG Events
·         New in the Library / Recent Publications
 

Budget 2020

 The Chancellor announced a number of funding commitments including a £12 billion investment in the Affordable Homes Programme, a further £1billon fund to remediate un-safe ACM cladding on residential buildings over 18m along with further funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

 
 

Housing Ombudsman Announces Changes to Complaints Arrangements

 The Housing Ombudsman Service has published its Business Plan for 2020-21 alongside a revised Ombudsman Scheme setting out enhanced powers and more resources to deliver significant improvements in housing redress.
The new arrangements come into force from 1 July 2020 and include the following changes:
  • A new power will allow the Ombudsman to issue complaint handling failure orders when a complaint gets stuck in the landlord’s process or where landlords do not provide evidence in a timely manner.
 
  • The introduction of a ‘severe maladministration’ finding to clarify the range of determinations from service failure through to maladministration and severe maladministration. There will also be a requirement for the landlord to demonstrate learning after the Ombudsman’s decision.
 
  • A more proactive approach to identifying possible systemic failure including investigation into an individual landlord or sector-wide issues. Any systemic failing found will be referred to the Regulator of Social Housing, as part of closer working between the two organisations.
 
  • A new complaint handling code is being developed to achieve greater consistency across landlords’ complaint procedures.
 
A key objective of the changes is to reduce the average determination time on cases by half over the next two years (to 4-5 months in 2020-21 and to 3-4 months by 2021-22). The Ombudsman highlights that in over 25% of cases, it is the slow response of landlords to information requests that is adversely impacting on the rate at which individual complaints are resolved. The new power to issue complaint failure orders will address this.
 
The plan also includes the creation of a team to undertake investigations into potential systemic issues. This will provide greater analysis and insight on complaints, promoting shared learning and positive change in the sector. individual landlord complaint handling performance data will also be published each year along with all determinations, enhancing transparency within the sector.
 
The subscription fee for landlords will also rise for the first time in three years to £2.16 per home.
 
Further guidance on how complaint handling orders will work, the framework for systemic investigations and the complaint handling code will all be published during the year.
 

Government Consultation - First Homes (discounted purchase scheme)

 The consultation sets out government proposals for a new discounted housing purchase scheme targeting first time buyers and offering a discount of at least 30%.

 
Key features
·         The scheme is for first time buyers and will prioritise veterans of the Armed Forces and key workers.
·         Applicants will need to demonstrate a local connection to qualify, although this requirement will not apply to Armed Forces personnel.
·         The discount will remain in the property in perpetuity. The intention is that future purchasers will also benefit from the discount when the First Home is resold.
·         The scheme will be funded by developer contributions through the planning system.
·         The government is also proposing refocussing entry level exception sites exclusively as a delivery vehicle for First Homes.
 
CWAG is intending to send in a general response summarising common themes raised by more one local authority.
 
A summary of the general comments received to date can be accessed here.
 
If you are able to share copies of your individual local authority responses when these are available, this would be much appreciated. The Consultation closes Friday 3rd April 2020.
 

Coronavirus and Future CWAG Events

CWAG was intending to hold the next General Meeting in the Spring but due to the evolving situation with COVID19 we will now look to meet later in the year in the autumn.
 

Recent Publications / New in the Library

 
 
 
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