New lettings policy to be presented to Cabinet

A new policy to help make sure we can make the best use of our council housing stock to meet the borough’s housing needs is to be presented to our Cabinet for approval on Wednesday February 8.

The proposed new Lettings Policy aims to improve how we allocate council housing stock to better meet housing need, meet the expectations of applicants and make the best use of our administrative resources.

If approved by Cabinet, it will be recommended to Full Council on Thursday, 30 March 2023.

Numbers on the housing waiting list have continued to rise over the last few years, while at the same time there has been a decreasing number of homes becoming available each year. To ensure the council makes the best use of housing stock to address housing need, Cabinet approved a full review of the Council’s Lettings Policy in March 2021.

Cabinet will now be asked to approve the final draft of the new Barnsley Council Lettings Policy to be introduced from 1 December 2023. The new policy has been produced following an independent review by the Northern Housing Consortium and Campbell Tickell. Development of the draft policy has been led by a Lettings Policy Review Board made up of councillors and officers from both Berneslai Homes and Barnsley Council. A full consultation process involving councillors, partner organisations and tenants of council properties has been carried out.

Some of the key changes in the policy include a more streamlined process with fewer bands making it easier to house those in greatest need more quickly. There will also be a tighter qualification process before people can join the housing waiting list.

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We’re committed to making sure our borough has a variety of housing, so you can live in the right home for you. The changes in this policy will help us make sure we can improve how we allocate council housing to better meet housing need, and provide an improved service to people applying for housing. It will also help us make the best use of the resources we have.

“As part of this we’ve looked carefully at who is able to join our housing waiting list in the first place. We’ve also looked at how we can streamline the process of matching the housing we have to those in greatest need.

“I’m pleased to recommend this policy to Cabinet for approval.”

Sarah Barnes, Head of Customer Services at Berneslai Homes, said: “We work closely with the council to make sure we house those in the greatest need first. This new policy will help applicants to understand the process and will help us to make the best possible use of our housing stock.”

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