The Government introduced the decent homes standard in 2001 at the start of a drive to achieve improvements in social housing. Coupled with significant increases in capital allocations, a target was set for social landlords to make all their stock decent by 2010. In 2002, targets for the private housing sector were also introduced (PSA7). This, however, related to vulnerable households only and also was for a maximum of 75% of households by 2020. The most recent guidance on the definition of a decent homes and issued by CLG is available here.
Many social landlords state that they have met the 2000 target but a significant number have not and the programme has been extended past 2010. It is, of course, important to bear in mind bringing properties up to the standard is not a one-off event; general wear and tear and weathering mean that properties may fall again into non decency. The standard is complex to assess and it is important for staff involved with the decent homes standard to have a good understanding of the way it operates. Social landlords are finding increasingly that the housing inspectorate carrying out audits will look closely at the information used to support statements on decent homes performance. Lavender & Wilson provide training on how the decent homes standard operates, but also consultancy on decent homes compliance.
Failures of the disrepair, facilities and thermal comfort criteria are generally straightforward to assess. Failures of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System can be much more problematic. Lavender & Wilson offer consultancy and advice on assessing decent homes compliance and, working with a specialist research company, can arrange for independent analysis and validation of stock condition data. We can also advise on the data provided by stock condition survey contractors. An initial telephone consultation is always given free of charge, and agreements on consultancy can be reached on hourly or day rates or for a fixed fee. Private Sector Housing Whilst the formal PSA7 target for local housing authorities was dropped in 2008, the percentage of vulnerable households in decent homes in the private sector remained part of CLG’s Departmental Strategic Objectives and many authorities still monitor against the target. Lavender & Wilson provide training on the decent homes standard operates, and can also advise on analysis of stock condition survey data and performance against the former PSA7 target.
Welsh Housing Quality Standard
For Welsh authorities, we can provide consultancy on the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, or on both the Decent Homes Standard and WHQS contrasting the two.