The Social Housing Green Paper: A new deal for social housing?

The Green Paper published on 14 August 2018 comes over 18 months after the Government pledged to fix the “broken housing market” in its February 2017 White Paper. Here we take a brief look at what the Green Paper proposes.

In the 18 month period between the White and Green Paper, the tragedy at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 brought the reality of some of the issues facing social housing to the attention of the nation and the Government’s Green Paper seeks to address those issues.

Unlike the White Paper, which focused on encouraging the supply of new homes in England, the Green Paper’s stated focus is on fundamental reform to ensure social homes provide an essential, safe, well managed service for all those who need it and re-balancing the relationship between residents and landlords to ensure issues are resolved swiftly and residents’ voices are heard.
Resident views already submitted to Government have resulted in five core principles being identified by MHCLG as the basis for improvements to social housing. These are:

a. Expanding supply and ownership
b. Ensuring safe and decent homes
c. Effective complaint resolution
d. Empowerment of residents and the Regulator
e. Ending stigma

This Green Paper represents a fundamental shift in the state’s approach to social housing and the people who call it home. In seeking this change, the Green Paper identifies Five Principles to underpin the same:

1. A safe and decent home which is fundamental to a sense of security and our ability to get on in life.
2. Improving and speeding up how complaints are resolved.
3. Empowering residents and ensuring their voices are heard so that landlords are held to account.
4. Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities, challenging the stereotypes that exist about residents and their communities.
5. Building the social homes that we need and ensuring that those homes can act as a springboard to home ownership.

Nearly eight years have passed since the last review of social housing regulation, and the proposals in this Green Paper present the opportunity to look afresh at the regulatory framework. With the current consultation on the Green Paper continuing until 5 November 2018, we are yet to determine what impact this “landmark opportunity…to improve fairness, quality and safety for residents living in social housing” will have on the sector in practical terms but we will continue to provide updates as the consultation progresses.

For more information about the Social Housing Green Paper, please contact Hannah Keane.

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