Housing Minister John Healey today announced a full scale assessment of the Decent Homes Programme - the Government drive to improve social housing stock.
Launched in 2001, the Programme has already invested over £33 billion in homes occupied by council and housing association tenants to ensure they have decent heating, wiring, windows, doors insulation, kitchen and bathrooms.
The Programme has delivered 700,000 new kitchens, 525,000 new bathrooms and over 1 million new central heating systems over the past ten years.
On top of delivering improved and more energy efficient social housing, the Decent Homes Programme has also encouraged better ways of working and managing homes, given tenants more say and created employment opportunities across the country.
Announcing the Programme Assessment, John Healey said;
"In 1997 we inherited over two million homes in disrepair and we have taken great strides in making sure tenants have a decent home. Unprecedented government investment and help has meant that next year a total of 92% of our public homes will be at a decent level."
But Mr. Healey says more needs to be done. He's particularly concerned about 27 rogue councils that have actually seen an increase in their non decent housing stock; 13 that still have over 50% of their housing stock classified as non decent; and ten more with a third of their housing stock still not up to scratch.
Mr. Healey says the Programme assessment will enable landlords to share best practice, provide a helping hand to those councils struggling to make sure all their tenants live in a decent home, and ensure that the standards achieved in recent years are maintained.
The Decent Homes Programme formally ends in December 2010, but Mr. Healey stresses the Government remains committed to fully funding and completing the Programme so that all homes are made decent.
Social landlords are being invited to submit evidence about the successes of the Decent Homes Programme and any lessons they have learnt along the way. The Government is also appointing researchers to undertake field work and write an assessment report.
Specifically, social landlords are encouraged to document:
- How their local standard reflects or exceeds the Decent Homes standard and where they chose to rebuild homes
rather than improve them;
- How they have ensured their programme offers value for money;
- Details of any "bolt-on" schemes to their investment programme, e.g., job
creation/apprenticeships, community programmes, etc; &
- Any local issues or lessons learnt.
Each submission should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org marked "Decent Homes Evaluation Evidence" by 8 January 2010 and:
- be no more than 3,000 words in length;
- begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
- have numbered paragraphs;
- be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos
as possible; &
- be accompanied by a covering letter containing the name and contact details of the individual or organisation submitting evidence.