The Government has given councils more flexibility in how they manage their waiting lists. New statutory housing guidance makes clear that those in greatest housing need must be given priority. But it also gives councils more freedom to allocate their homes according to needs specific to their local area.
Councils have said they will use this extra flexibility to prioritise families with local connections, those seeking local employment and to tackle overcrowding and under-occupation in their communities.
Manchester City Council, who are planning to prioritise those who are working, volunteering or taking up training and educational opportunities;
The London Borough of Newham, who plan to use revised allocation policies to tackle overcrowding;
Bournemouth Borough Council, who plan to use the flexibilities to reduce the number of under-occupied homes; and
Test Valley Borough Council, who are looking at the possibility of setting a quota for a proportion of their housing stock to be available to those with a connection to the local area.
Issuing the new guidance, Housing Minister John Healey said:
"People must be given confidence that council homes in their area are allocated fairly. Councils must make sure people can see more clearly how homes are being allocated in their area.
"I'm giving councils greater leeway to do this. While priority will still be given to those in greatest housing need, they will now also be able to allocate according to needs specific to their local area.
"And with these greater freedoms, I expect councils to take greater responsibility in consulting with their communities, and explaining their allocation policies, to combat the myths and misunderstandings that often develop around council housing."