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Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Allocations Policy Consultation Survey

The council is reviewing the policy that we use to allocate vacant social housing properties in the area. We are considering a number of ideas and are looking for feedback on these. We want to encourage as many people as possible to complete this survey, because the feedback will help determine the content of the future policy.

Please let us know if you need this information in a different format (for example in large print or on a CD) or have any queries about this survey.  You can contact us by:

* email:  
telephone: 01256 844844 (Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5.30pm and Friday 8.30am to 5pm
 except bank holidays)
* fax: 01256 845200
* BT Relay: 18001 01256 844844
* SMS text messaging 07797877006

Until last year the law required us to put everybody who applied onto the housing register, even if they had no local connection or already owned their own homes. The law on this changed and we need to look at whether we should change our open approach to the housing register. There are a number of options open to us and we welcome your thoughts and comments.  The following questions cover some of the options that we are considering.  

Q1 Housing applicants with no actual housing need

We may consider not registering applicants who don't actually have a housing need.*  
This would reduce the number of people on the housing register.

* The law says that there are certain groups of people who have to receive priority within any allocation policy.  These include people who are homeless, people who live in unsatisfactory housing or who are overcrowded, plus those who need to move because of medical or welfare needs.  The council needs to make sure any new allocations policy gives priority to these people

Do you agree with this?
Q2 Local connection - living locally

We may consider bringing in rules that give priority to local people, which would stop non-local people from being housed in local housing association properties. It is not straightforward to define exactly what is a local connection, so we would have to consider how many years an applicant should live within the borough to establish a connection.

What would be a reasonable period of time living in Basingstoke and Deane, that would mean an applicant had a strong connection?
Q3 Local connection - working locally

Currently applicants who work but don’t live in the borough are able to apply for housing. We may consider removing this. This would mean that if an applicant works here, that would not give him or her a local connection and the application would not be accepted onto the housing register.

Do you agree with this suggestion?
Q4 Applicants with bad behaviour

We may consider excluding applicants with a history of bad behaviour. This could include people who have been evicted for significant rent arrears, perpetrators of domestic violence or racial harassment. We may consider banning these people altogether from the housing register. They would only be able to reapply after a period of time and where they could prove that they had reformed behaviour.  

Do you agree with this approach?

Applicants with significant financial resources or who are home owners

Q5 Where an applicant is earning a significant amount, we may require them to look to the private sector, rather than social housing, to find a home. We could consider introducing a total household income threshold that says if households earn more than a certain amount they should not be allowed onto the housing register.

What do you think would be an appropriate cut-off level?
Q6 We could consider that where applicants have significant savings or other assets, they should not be able to join the housing register. We could set a threshold of £30,000 for this.

Do you agree with the idea?
Q7 Is £30,000 about right?
Q8 As a general rule we can consider excluding home owners, but we do recognise that there is a need for flexibility in some circumstances. Which of these might apply as exceptions to this ban?
Q9 Applicants who have deliberately worsened their circumstances to get extra points

There may be a very small number of applicants who we believe deliberately worsen their housing circumstances to give themselves an advantage over other people. For example, they might move into accommodation that is unsuitable for them on health grounds, knowing this is the case, and then apply for medical priority for a speedy move. Or they might move people into their household deliberately to get an overcrowding priority. This is unfair on other applicants who ask to be assessed in line with the policy and who are simply waiting their turn.

With the backing of very clear procedures, we may want to introduce a penalty for applicants who worsen their own circumstances to disadvantage others. The penalty would be removal from the register for 12 months.

Do you agree with this approach?

Move to a simpler banding scheme

Q10 The council may consider moving to a simpler banding scheme, which would have just two or three bands. This would make it much easier to understand and more transparent. All applicants would understand where they were in the ‘queue’ for housing. Fewer bands would mean that applicants in housing need would be registered in date order, apart from those with an absolute emergency need to move, who would be given extra priority.

Are you in favour of this approach?  

About You

We are committed to improving our services, eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity for all people. By answering the questions below, you will be helping us greatly with this task.

It is not compulsory and for each question there is an option to tick 'Prefer not to say’ or you can leave it blank.  All responses will be treated in confidence and in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Q11 Are you completing this survey as an individual or as a representative from an organisation
Q12 1. What is your gender?
Q13 2. What is your age group?
Q14 3. Do you consider yourself as disabled or do you have a long-term physical or mental health condition?

Which of these ethnic groups do you feel you belong to?

Q15 White
Q16 Black or Black British
Q17 Asian or Asian British
Q18 Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Groups

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey

In complying with the Data Protection Act 1998, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council confirms that it will process personal data gathered from this form only for the purposes of this survey. We will not pass on your details to any other organisation without your consent unless required by law to do so.  Information provided in response to this consultation, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).
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