Some Borough Residents Have Been Waiting For Social Housing for 40 Years.

Many borough residents rightfully complain about being on the social housing waiting list for over ten years.

The record for waiting must be held by those residents who have been waiting for 30-40 years.

Yep. Thirty to forty years.

This was just one snippet of information that Moley stumbled upon after spending more than two days fruitlessly trying to find records of Cabinet decisions on housing programmes.

The internal audit report concerns the Housing Allocations and Lettings functions and was undertaken in March 2021.

The extracts below are verbatim, our comments are clearly marked.

This audit examined the systems and controls for assessing, approving and prioritising applications to the Housing Register and resulting lettings in order to ensure that decisions taken are in accordance with Council policy and statutory guidance.

The following issues were reported:

  • From our testing we identified that 5 out of the 20 applicants either failed to submit the required two pieces of identity documentation or proof of three years residency in the borough.
  • There was no evidence that officer checks had been undertaken to confirm that applicants had not been evicted, nor subject of bad behaviour in the last three years or that they do not have sole or joint income of more than £85,000 per annum.
  • Two applicants were identified as homeowners however, there were no notes held on the system to explain why these applicants could join the housing register. [WTF?]
  • Our review of 20 applicants who have remained on the waiting list the longest (circa 30-40 years) [HOW LONG?!] revealed that seven had last had a biennial review between 2013-2015, seven had never been contacted and asked to express an interest if they wished to remain or not, and six were categorised as band three and would not have been subject to a review.
  • 20 live applications on the housing register were reviewed for applicants within an age group of 80 to 103 years. This revealed that 17 had never received an annual review, 3 were found to have had an annual review the last being in 2014. Further testing of this sample group revealed that 5 had moved out of Borough, and 11 were deceased. [Not that surprising…]
  • We were advised that the new system that was introduced in July 2019 does not include an officer’s mandatory checklist of application process checks that should be carried out.
  • 20 live applicants selected from the months of January 2019 – October 2019 were reviewed for their bidding history. This revealed that 13 of the 20 applicants (65%) had never bid for any properties since being accepted onto the housing register. [In that case they will not notice when they are kicked off it, would they?]

No doubt there are other gems in this audit report that you can find here and in many others that you can find somewhere on the Council website.

Good luck with that.

Many of these issues warrant a follow-up question to the Council but to be honest it would not be the slightest bit of difference and life is too short.

As to Mole’s Cabinet decisions search he has had to resort to submitting another Freedom of Information request.