Partnership bid success

PUBLISHED: 11:47 06 January 2006 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2010

A PARTNERSHIP bid for funding to give those applying for affordable/social housing in the Cambridge sub-region a greater choice in where they live, has been successful. The seven local authorities and partner housing associations will use the £181,000 t

A PARTNERSHIP bid for funding to give those applying for 'affordable/social housing' in the Cambridge sub-region a greater choice in where they live, has been successful.

The seven local authorities and partner housing associations will use the £181,000 to develop and implement a choice based lettings (CBL) scheme as part of a Government drive to offer more choice and better services for home-seekers.

The Cambridge sub-region is seen as one of the UK's major growth areas and the partnership comprising Cambridge City, East Cambs, Fenland, Forest Heath, Huntingdonshire, South Cambs and St Edmundsbury Councils will now be able to offer value for money by enabling the scheme partners to share the ICT and implementation costs associated with CBL.

It is anticipated that CBL will go live in the sub-region in 2007 and will:

* Provide new and existing social housing tenants with the maximum possible choice

* Promote partnership working between social landlords and the private rented sector

* Increase mobility in the social housing sector

Each council and participating housing association has agreed to advertise the vast majority of the homes that become vacant. There will be a common application process regardless of which local authority people live in.

It is only in the last five years that choice based letting schemes have been adopted in this country and a number of pilot schemes, funded by the Government, have been evaluated and found to be a success. The scheme being run by the partners in the sub-region is unique because it covers such a large and socially diverse area with an urban and rural mix.

Housing Minister, Baroness Andrews, said "The schemes would ensure social housing tenants in England had greater choice and flexibility over their housing."

A wide-scale consultation process will now be undertaken across the sub-region to develop a common allocation policy and banding system. The involvement of statutory agencies and the voluntary sector in the consultation is vital to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable and excluded groups are taken into consideration so that the scheme is able to meet their needs.

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