"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Norwich social housing system on the brink after council agrees to withdraw from scheme


EDP article

The system through which thousands of families in and around Norwich are allocated social housing and council houses is on the brink of being scrapped, after one of the councils involved agreed to withdraw from the scheme.

The Home Options scheme was set up in 2007 with the aim that a single system would be used to find social housing for people in Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.

The government gave the councils a £100,000 grant to set up the system, which sees people apply on the internet for the type of housing they want.

Once on the housing register – and around 14,000 people are – they are given a banding ranging from emergency to low, through gold, silver and bronze.

They can then ‘bid’ for properties when they come up on the Home Options website and landlords, either one of a number of housing associations or the city council, offers the property to the applicant who falls into the highest banding of those who have applied and who has been registered for the scheme the longest.

But members of Broadland District Council’s cabinet today agreed to give officers the go-ahead to withdraw from the scheme and, with South Norfolk Council likely to follow suit next month, that will almost certainly trigger the end of Home Options.

The most likely outcome of the scheme being dissolved is that each council would set up its own system to allocate housing.

At today’s meeting, Roger Foulger, Broadland’s cabinet member for planning policy and conservation, said: “It’s a sound decision on two fronts – one that it will improve the service and second, that it will get rid of the waste which has been inherent in the scheme.”

Jo Cottingham, cabinet member for housing and environmental services said there would still be a need to link with other authorities over whatever scheme replaces Home Options.

South Norfolk Council had called in consultants KPMG earlier this year to look at the way the system operated, concluding it was wasteful and not good value for money.

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