In the light of recent reforms to the legislation governing private sector housing renewal, local authorities now have a greatly increased level of flexibility to develop policies to deal with poor housing conditions in the private sector which match local circumstances. This report is based on a study which examined the extent to which local authorities are exercising this flexibility and whether they had implemented a policy framework to enable them to do so. The research assessed a number of factors which could enhance local authorities' level of flexibility, including resources and private sector support, to highlight good practice in policy development. The report outlines innovative approaches (both effective and ineffective) in encouraging and supporting private sector renewal and evaluates the extent of change in policy or arrangements made by local authorities to accommodate the changes in the system. It also identifies gaps in provision, such as the contrast between the scale of the problem of private sector housing conditions and local authority staff resources, and suggests how these might be overcome.
This report will be of particular interest to be policy makers and practitioners and builds further on the Foundation's housing market renewal programme of work. It will be helpful to local authorities wishing to implement the new policy framework effectively and will complement "ODPM's Housing Statistics" work on the redesign of the P4 form local authorities return.
Rick Groves is Acting Head of Department, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at the University of Birmingham, and holds a Diploma in Town Planning and an MTech (Social Administration). He has undertaken a wide range of research and consultancy into various aspects of housing policy and urban development both in UK and overseas, including previous work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the ESRC and a variety of other organisations and authorities. Sian Sankey is a Research Associate at CURS whose current research interests include community (development) and engagement methods used within regeneration initiatives and the impact of regeneration on neighbourhoods and communities, social exclusion and deprivation.