The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
What George Osborne has delivered is the prospect of some new money being raised in particular by local authorities and a £1.5 billion increase in the Better Care Fund. Whilst this is welcome, it does not feel like a permanent solution. Our concern is that the areas most in need of investment will not be able to raise the extra funding needed, accentuating the regional disparities in services. Will any new money that is raised really be sufficient to deliver the National Living Wage over the longer term? For some providers, any increase in income will be lost to the new apprenticeship levy. So how should providers respond?
Enhanced local engagement
Social care providers have already been taking a long hard look at their services, area by area, to work out where they should focus and where it may not be viable to continue. The potential for further funding for social care to be raised locally will increase the need for providers to have effective ways for working with and influencing local authorities’ commissioners and CCGs locally, recognising that a “one size fits all” approach across the country is unworkable. This may need team members with new skills at a local level. Have you invested time in understanding the local market and building the necessary relationships? Have you identified who you should be collaborating with? Do you have the people who can do those things? Can they come up with creative solutions? Are they empowered to do so?
However adept providers become at influencing commissioning arrangements locally, the stark reality is that all providers are going to have to deliver greater efficiencies even if they already feel they are doing so. We will be producing a checklist of efficiencies to consider but the reality is that it will be more than marginal changes that will be needed. Providers will have to look at their whole service model and consider how it needs to adapt for the longer term.
Unleashing the innovators
The Care Act and the light touch procurement regime open the door to greater innovation in commissioning. Providers who can unleash the innovators in their organisations to find creative solutions will be the most likely to be facing the future with confidence.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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