The Decent Homes Standard
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.
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. 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.
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 will look closely at the information used to support decent homes submissions.
The course format is varied to suit the differing requirements of social landlords and local housing authorities but includes the following key elements:
- Background to the decent homes standard and introduction to the requirements
- Criterion A: The minimum legal standard for housing (Housing Health and Safety Rating System)
- Criterion B: Reasonable repair
- Criterion C: Reasonably Modern Facilities and Services
- Criterion D: Thermal comfort
- Stock condition survey issues
Shortcomings and decent homes plus
With social landlords the course includes information on target issues and asset management. With local housing authority clients, the course includes information on the meaning of vulnerable households and target monitoring.
Welsh Housing Quality Standard
For Welsh authorities, we can provide training on the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, or on both the Decent Homes Standard and WHQS contrasting the two. This training incorporates information from the Living in Wales 2008 stock condition survey. Both directors acted as surveyors on the 2008 LIW survey.