Transfer of Functions

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					      SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES




SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES
                  TO THE
PROPOSAL TO TRANSFER MANAGEMENT OF
  THE SOCIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
PROGRAMME TO THE NORTHERN IRELAND
          HOUSING EXECUTIVE




             OCTOBER 2005




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Contents                                        Page


1    Introduction                                 3


2    Background                                   4


3    Proposal                                     5


4    Summary of comments sought                   7


5    What you thought about the proposal          8


6    ANNEX 1 - Summary of Comments               15


7    ANNEX 2 - List of Consultees                34




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1.0   Introduction
1.1   The Department for Social Development (DSD) issued a consultation
      paper which set out proposals to transfer responsibility for the
      management of the Social Housing Development Programme (SDHP)
      from DSD to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) on 4th
      March 2005. The paper set out the background to the review and
      explained the various factors that convinced DSD that such a transfer
      was timely.


1.2   The rationale for separating strategic and operational activities was set
      out along with the issues considered when reviewing the DSD’s role in
      delivery of the SHDP. Some of the perceived advantages and
      disadvantages attached to the proposal were explained and views on
      these issues were specifically requested. DSD recommended that the
      NIHE adopt the management of the SHDP to achieve pre-determined
      physical and financial targets and this paper details consultee’s
      response to this and the other issues raised.




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2.0   Background
2.1   The proposal to transfer some responsibilities related to the
      management of the SHDP was initiated, in part, to take account of:
            The outcome of two major inquiries into the delivery of social
             housing in Northern Ireland;
            The need to examine all activities to determine if efficiency
             savings can be achieved over the next financial planning cycle;
             and,
            Policy initiatives emerging from Great Britain and Europe.


2.2   DSD was especially conscious of the NIHE’s ability to form and
      maintain meaningful partnerships across traditional sectoral boundaries
      demonstrated by its participation in numerous national, regional and
      local partnerships and networks. NIHE has worked successfully with
      the voluntary and community sectors, the private sector and local
      government to progress important housing policies. The NIHE’s record
      in this regard is well documented via annual reports on specific issues
      of which the annual Home Energy Conservation Reports are an
      example and via the Business Plan Monitor which routinely reports on
      the NIHE’s achievements against pre-defined physical and financial
      targets. The high level of transparency and accountability that the
      NIHE has achieved in its general operations suggests that the NIHE is
      well positioned to use and develop the lessons gained from
      participating in and facilitating partnerships to co-ordinate operational
      activity in the future.


2.3   The proposals reflect DSD’s determination to optimise the value that
      NIHE can bring to the delivery of the SHDP in terms of management
      experience and knowledge of local housing markets and to fully explore
      opportunities for further integration and co-ordination to secure real
      improvements in service delivery for end-users.




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3.0   Proposal
3.1   The proposed changes to the arrangements for managing the SHDP
      outlined in the consultation paper related solely to:
         Assembly and Management of the Programme.
          DSD, through its Housing Associations Branch, is responsible for
          the management of the SHDP. It controls delivery to achieve pre-
          set physical and financial targets based on available financial
          resources. It is proposed that this function be transferred to the
          NIHE.

         Scheme Approvals and Payment of Grant.
          DSD assesses schemes against technical and value for money
          criteria. A level of grant is agreed before approval stage. Typically,
          family housing will be grant aided at around 60% of the scheme
          cost, with RHAs providing the remaining 40% through their reserves
          or by borrowing from the private sector. Projects for people with
          special needs are 100% grant aided. It is proposed that
          responsibility for scheme approvals and payment of Housing
          Association Grant (HAG) are transferred to the NIHE.


3.2   DSD will retain full responsibility for the regulation of RHAs and will
      continue, via its Housing Division, to:
         Promote and assist the development of RHAs and unregistered
          self-build societies;
         Facilitate the proper exercise and function of RHAs and of
          publicising their aims and principles;
         Maintain a register, exercise supervision and control, consider
          applications for and make payment of grants with the approval of
          the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) to bodies
          representative of the voluntary housing movement and other
          voluntary bodies that advise or provide services to RHAs.




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3.3   DSD has committed to review the Dossier of Controls* to integrate
      provisions for the effective monitoring and evaluation of NIHE in
      respect of management of the Development Programme. The DSD will
      also scrutinise the NIHE and RHAs under the new inspection regime
      and regulatory framework. DSD will advance new housing legislation
      to modify existing legislation to take account of the new administrative
      arrangements.


3.4   DSD suggested that the transfer would take place incrementally with
      some functions transferring prior to legislation; it was proposed that the
      NIHE assume full responsibility from 1st April 2006 but clearly this
      timeframe will depend on the agreement and co-operation of the key
      stakeholders..


      *Dossier of Controls sets out the controls to be exercised over the
      different areas of NIHE activities by DSD directly or under delegated
      authority, it represents a formal statement of by DSD of the standards it
      requires the NIHE to achieve in relation to the probity of activities.




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4.0       Summary of Comments Sought


4.1       DSD specifically requested comment on the following issues:


         Their assessment of the NIHE’s ability to co-ordinate operational
          activity.


         The perceived advantages and disadvantages of the proposed
          transfer and asked if there are other issues that should have been
          taken into consideration.


         The range of functions proposed for transfer and on the functions
          the DSD proposed to retain.


         The proposal to progress the transfer administratively in advance
          of legislation.


         The potential impact of the proposal on any of the section 75
          groups and if there are potentially adverse impacts what DSD
          might do to mitigate these.


4.2       A summary of comments from each respondent is attached in tabular
form at Annex 1.




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5.0    What you thought about the Proposal

5.1    What you liked about the Proposal
5.1.1 The proposal was widely welcomed and is generally seen as a positive
initial step which will enable the partnership between DSD, the NIHE and the
voluntary housing sector to develop further. DSD’s commitment to work with
all stakeholders was a particularly welcome feature. The layout and language
of the document was generally favourably received.

5.1.2 DSD’s acknowledgement of the valuable contribution of the voluntary
housing movement was appreciated and some respondents indicated that the
thrust of the proposal demonstrated DSD’s willingness to work closely with the
sector.


5.1.3 Respondents welcomed the opportunity that the proposal presented to
clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders.


5.1.4 Respondents suggested that an explicit statement of the various
stakeholder’s roles will enhance accountability, particularly in terms of the
NIHE’s role in the management of the SHDP.


5.1.5 Many respondents also identified the opportunity the proposal
presented to encourage wider participation in policy and programme
development. Some respondents specifically requested debate on and input
to the various methodologies that are applied by the NIHE, for example in
relation to the determination of need, assessment of performance and
capacity or in the allocation of schemes.


5.1.6 Respondents welcomed the opportunity to become involved in
partnerships to advance the proposal. Respondents from the voluntary
housing movement recommended the development of an Implementation
Plan; many members of the voluntary housing movement also requested that
a mechanism for evaluating any change be integrated from the outset stating
that this would encourage openness in reporting.



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5.1.7 Respondents from the voluntary housing movement recognised the
potential advantages the proposal may present in terms of refining and
streamlining administrative processes, specifically in relation to revenue
funding for supported housing schemes which many providers indicated would
be a very positive step.


5.1.8 The need to secure sufficient resources for the effective
implementation of the changes and the delivery of the SHDP was a recurrent
theme in responses from across sectors.


5.1.9 The opportunity presented by the separation of DSD’s operational and
strategic responsibilities was highlighted by many respondents especially in
relation to the development of a housing strategy for Northern Ireland.


5.2    What you wanted to change about the Proposal
5.2.1 You wanted greater clarity about the strategic direction of the NIHE
particularly on its ability to borrow and its position on the role of the voluntary
housing movement. This was a recurrent theme expressed by all
respondents from the voluntary housing movement.


5.2.2 Clarification was also sought on more practical matters related to
implementation, for instance: the NIHE’s role in land assembly, in assessing
RHA performance and in safeguarding the budget dedicated to the SHDP.


5.2.3 Clarification was requested on which activities that the transfer of the
scheme approval process, the payment of grant and programme assembly
and management will impact upon. Some respondents requested more
information on NIHE current operational commitments to enable a fair
assessment of the organisations capacity to undertake the new role.


5.2.4 Although the emphasis on the separation of strategic and operational
activities was welcome, a significant number of you wanted more specific



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information on the out-workings of the proposal and many members of the
voluntary housing movement expressed a desire to participate in the
development of an Implementation Plan with time-bounded action points.


5.2.5 Many of you expressed a view that issues connected to resourcing of
the SHDP and the management of the SHDP budget within the NIHE’s overall
finances need to be agreed prior to implementation.


5.2.6 There was some criticism that the proposal did not address concerns of
the voluntary housing movement in terms of both maintaining the sectors
independence and encouraging innovation in design and delivery.


5.2.7 A small but significant number of responses reflected the need to
provide greater clarification in respect of how monitoring and evaluation
arrangements would be taken forward.


5.3    Conclusion
5.3.1 To conclude, feedback on the whole was positive with only one
objection to the proposal. There was clear recognition that the consultation
related to Departmental policy. Issues about implementation would be
addressed as key stakeholders are engaged in detailed negotiations to agree
the necessary legislative, structural and administrative changes. The
proposal was acknowledged as the beginning of a process for developing
greater synergy between policies and actions across housing. Respondents
recognised that it would be some time before the proposal will be fully
effective but were generally in favour of progressing the proposal in advance
of legislation.


5.4    Initial Equality Impact Assessment
5.4.1 Respondents generally felt that the implementation of the Proposal
would have no adverse impact in terms of equality. Many respondents
suggested that implementation of the Proposal may have a positive impact by
streamlining and securing delivery. A full Equality Impact Assessment will be



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produced in support of legislative proposals and these will be consulted on in
due course.


5.5    What has happened since the close of consultation
5.5.1 Every response has been acknowledged and we have carefully
considered all comments. The Minister has been briefed on the comments
received and a series of focused consultations with the NIHE, NIFHA,
developing RHAs, NIPSA and the NIAO are planned to take forward the
proposal.


5.5.2 Directly as a result of the consultation, action has already been taken to
engage with stakeholders in developing an Implementation Plan. DSD is
currently working closely with NIHE, NIFHA and the NIAO to consider the
necessary structural, administrative and legislative modifications. In light of
your comments a detailed Communications Plan will be an integral part of the
Implementation Plan to ensure that all stakeholders are kept aware of
progress.


5.6    What will happen next
5.6.1 A further consultation paper will be published in support of the draft
legislation giving effect to the proposals.


5.7    Thanks
5.7.1 DSD would like to thank all those who contributed to the consultation
exercise.




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                                                                                                                                 ANNEX 1
        Summary of Responses
TABLE 1.1
ISSUE ONE                     CONSULTEE’S ASSESSMENT OF THE NIHE’S ABILITY TO CO-ORDINATE OPERATIONAL
                              ACTIVITY.
ORGANISATION                  COMMENTS

1.    Ards Borough Council    The Council accepts DSD‟s conclusions that there is a role for the NIHE in the management of the SHDP.

2.    Ballymena Borough       The Council have noted the content and made no comment.
      Council
3.    Limavady Borough        The Council supportive of rationalisation of the process of social housing development and feels the
      Council                 centralisation of responsibility with NIHE can only assist in ensuring a co-ordinated approach to alleviating
                              on-going social housing shortages.
4.    Lisburn City Council    The Council notes the leading implementation role already played by the NIHE in relation to a wide range of
                              housing issues. The Council notes the existing duplication of effort and the sometimes unwieldy and
                              inefficient decision-making process that exists. The Council considers that the Consultation Document
                              contains little detailed information about the exact capacity of the NIHE to co-ordinate operational activity
                              related to the Development Programme. However, the Council assumes, on the basis of other areas of
                              NIHE operational activity, that DSD‟s assessment is accurate.

5.    Housing Council         The Housing Council in welcoming transfer accept DSD‟s assessment of NIHE‟s capacity, they would also
                              welcome the transfer of the provider role but accept that this is option is not attractive under current HM
                              Treasury rules. The Council suggest that NIHE can contribute to the delivery of the SHDP through various
                              Pilot Schemes they are advancing.
6.    NIHE                    NIHE agrees with DSD‟s assessment of their ability to co-ordinate operational activity. In reinforcing the
                              DSD‟s assessment the NIHE emphasise their record in:
                                       Forming and maintaining meaningful partnerships across traditional sectoral boundaries; and,
                                       Working successfully with the voluntary & community sectors, the private sector, and local




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                                           government to progress a range of important housing policies.
                                 The high levels of transparency, professionalism and accountability that NIHE has achieved in its general
                                 operations are reflected in the partnerships in which they participate.
7.    NIFHA                      NIFHA state that the key criterion for judging the DSD‟s proposal should be whether, within the public
                                 expenditure available, it is likely to produce better outcomes for people in housing need in Northern Ireland.
                                 NIFHA believe the proposed reform would improve the situation so, subject to certain clarification and
                                 safeguards, NIFHA and its members support the initiative and welcome the opportunity to work even more
                                 closely with the region‟s strategic housing authority. NIFHA‟s support rests on the fundamental principle that
                                 the DSD will retain responsibility for regulating and inspecting all social housing providers, namely the NIHE
                                 and the RHAs. NIFHA considers that NIHE is capable of co-ordinating operational activity.
8.    NICHA                      NICHA welcome proposal to transfer the SHDP to NIHE, they believe it will foster a cohesive programme of
                                 policy, programmes and partnerships focused on addressing issues such as increasing demand yet
                                 declining supply of social housing (both in stock and new build).
9.    Ark Housing Association    Ark Housing concurs with DSD‟s assessment of the NIHE‟s ability to manage the operational activity
                                 associated with the SHDP. As this activity would be a new function for the NIHE, it is essential that the DSD
                                 provides adequate resources, training, guidance and any necessary support to ensure that DSD‟s expertise
                                 and experience in respect of working with RHA sector is embedded in any new regime managed by NIHE.
                                 Ark reiterate that DSD must ensure that adequate resources and associated support is provided to enable
                                 the NIHE to undertake this new role as the current programme management experience of the NIHE is not
                                 sufficient to undertake the new function in isolation.
10.   Belfast Community           BCHA state that in the areas of approving needs requests, assisting in making sites available, assisting in
      Housing Association         acquiring satisfactory dwellings through the transfer of NIHE land performance has not always been at its
                                  most effective. BCHA request performance standards for all relevant departments in the areas of scheme
                                  approvals and grant payments. BCHA also request that an open and transparent mechanism is put in place
                                  to manage any difficulties.
11.   BIH                        BIH state that it seems a logical way forward for DSD to delegate operational functions to the NIHE and
                                 retain the strategic functions. It also has the added advantage that procurement for future housing schemes
                                 does not reflect on the DSD‟s balance sheet – DSD have advanced £10million this year for acquisition of
                                 sites for development in future years. BIH has this year spent £3.25 million in acquiring sites for future
                                 development. BIH state that the competence of NIHE to deliver the management of the programme will be
                                 judged by the success of the programme management.




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12.   Clanmil Housing          NIHE staff have previous experience of development work and this may enable them to reduce bureaucracy
      Association              and improve delivery through partnership between NIHE and RHAs. Clanmil see no reason why the NIHE
                               can not effectively manage the programme provided this process is clearly ring-fenced.
13.   Fold Housing Association Agree - The NIHE should have more direct involvement in the management of the SHDP. The new
                               arrangements should ensure the accountability of NIHE. The DSD role should be confined to policy,
                               legislation, overall funding and regulation.
14.   Habinteg Housing         Habinteg accept that the NHE has the experience and skills to co-ordinate operational activity. They
      Association              recommend that appropriate structures are jointly agreed with all affected by the proposal and that
                               bureaucracy is, where possible, reduced.
15.   North & West Housing     North and West accepts DSD‟s view that “more timely and joined up decision-making would result from
      Association              operational management by one body” (this being the NIHE) but with the following qualification:
                               North & West have concerns that, due to the complex departmentalised structure of the NIHE, the delays
                               experienced within the current system could continue to exist. The key role carried out by many of the
                               NIHE‟s departments (Land and Property, Programme Planning, Design Services, Planning and Feasibility,
                               Supporting People) in respect of the new build programme generally, and Transfer Schemes in particular,
                               will require strong leadership, co-ordination and direction from the NIHE‟s directorate to ensure targets are
                               met. This being the case, North & West suggest the efficient management of the SHDP can be anticipated.
16.   Oaklee Housing           Oaklee accepts that the transfer is likely to occur, and welcome this change of responsibilities in a spirit of
      Association              partnership.

17.   CIH                      The CIH (NI) supports the proposed transfer to the NIHE as this will place the delivery of the Development
                               Programme at the centre of the full range of housing programmes ensuring proper integration in
                               neighbourhood renewal, regeneration, health action zones, community saftey partnerships and integrated
                               housing pilots. It is also clear that the NIHE is better equipped than the DSD to oversee the management of
                               this core housing function, enabling the DSD to concentrate on strategic policy issues. Standing at "arms-
                               length" from the operation of the housing programme would enable the DSD to regulate and inspect all
                               providers involved in development and delivery of the programme in a consistent, fair and equitable manner.
18.   EHSSB                    Agree - Role of NIHE as assessor of need & in Supporting People partnerships and belief in the benefits of
                               separating strategic & operational activities has convinced EHSSB of the merit of the proposal.




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19.   Housing Rights Service       HRS welcome DSD‟s intention to focus on strategic issues and believe this will provide an opportunity to
                                   develop a Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland. HRS makes no comment on NIHE capacity.

20.   North Belfast Partnership    The North Belfast Housing and Environmental Forum believes that the NIHE is better equipped to oversee
                                   the management of social housing development than the DSD. There is consensus among Forum members
                                   that the NIHE has provided a successful framework for delivering social housing since its inception in 1971
                                   and the Forum concurs with the DSD‟s view that the NIHE is better placed than DSD to co – ordinate and aid
                                   direct provision of housing related services at “grass roots” community level, including direct management of
                                   the SHDP. The NIHE has demonstrated its ability to form and maintain meaningful partnerships across
                                   traditional sectoral boundaries and is held in high regard for its community development work. It is therefore
                                   better positioned than DSD to ensure integration of the SHDP with many of the other policies and initiatives
                                   in which the NIHE is playing a direct role such as Neighbourhood Renewal and Health Action Zones.
21.   Ulster Unionist Party        The Ulster Unionist Party does not agree with the proposal to the transfer management of the SHDP.


22.   Sinn Fein                    Welcoming the review of the management of social housing, Sinn Fein contest that the NIHE is the only
                                   housing body capable of the effective management and delivery of a social housing programme.
23.   DARD                         No comment.

24.   DRD                          No comment.

25.   Court Service NI             No comment.
26.   Equality Commission          No comment.

27.   NI Ombudsman                 No comment.

28.   Paddy Gray                   Agrees that NIHE are well placed to co-ordinate operational activity.




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TABLE 1.2
ISSUE TWO                     CONSULTEE’S COMMENTS ON THE PERCEIVED ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF
                              THE PROPOSED TRANSFER AND IDENTIFICATION OF OTHER ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE
                              TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.
ORGANISATION                  COMMENTS

1.    Ards Borough Council    The Council accepts DSD‟s conclusions that there is a role for the NIHE in the management of the SHDP.
2.    Ballymena Borough       The Council have noted the content and made no comment.
      Council
3.    Limavady Borough        The Council are supportive.
      Council
4.    Lisburn City Council    The Council considers that the assessment of the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the proposed
                              transfer to be fair. The Council notes the DSD view that NIHE is better placed to co-ordinate and facilitate
                              housing related services at „grass-root‟ level including the direct management of the SHDP. The Council
                              requests that Local Authorities are recognised through appropriate consultative, advisory and decision-
                              making roles in relation to the SHDP.
5.    Housing Council         The Housing Council state that NIHE will facilitate the earlier identification of land and suggest that NIHE‟s
                              experience in progressing regeneration pilot projects will support delivery of the SHDP. The Housing Council
                              would also like more recognition of rural needs, affordability issues and management of "Hot Spots". In
                              general terms the Housing Council have also suggested that reducing the back-loading of the programme
                              will improve delivery of the SHDP.
6.    NIHE                    NIHE concurs with DSD‟s view that more timely and joined up decision-making would result from operational
                              management of the SHDP by one body i.e. the NIHE. NIHE suggest such an arrangement would facilitate a
                              more strategic approach, and enable better co-ordination of investment across a wide range of operational
                              areas from new build through to the management of NIHE‟s own programme of maintenance and
                              improvement works. NIHE agrees with the summary of perceived advantages and in their response have
                              further amplified the potential benefits that would flow from the new arrangements resulting, ultimately, in the
                              NIHE responding to its statutory responsibilities in a more timely, co-ordinated and effective manner. In
                              terms of perceived disadvantages the NIHE has identified where controls can be strengthened or introduced.
                              The NIHE have also identified a range of issues where further clarification is required DSD will address




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                                these concerns during detailed negotiations.

7.   NIFHA                      NIFHA sees two main advantages in the DSD‟s proposal:
                                (a) Better value for the taxpayer, flowing from administrative savings and improved co-ordination between
                                housing and related programmes,
                                (b) A more effective system for producing social housing, by aligning the objectives of the NIHE and the
                                RHAs.
                                NIFHA have also identified a range of issues related to the practical implementation of the proposal - these
                                will be addressed by DSD via further consultation with both NIFHA and NIHE.
8.   NICHA                      NICHA suggest that the proposal will enable NIHE to fulfil role as Regional Housing Authority including
                                making own land available for development.

9.   Ark Housing Association    Ark Housing accepts the advantages outlined by the DSD in respect of the transfer proposal. It is in
                                accordance with the recommendations of the influential NI Committee of the House of Commons in their
                                Report on Social Housing provision in Northern Ireland and the N I Assembly Social Development
                                Committee. It is widely recognised that the NIHE is accepted by the general public and has wider political
                                acceptance within Northern Ireland. DSD would be able to concentrate on strategy, budgeting, performance
                                monitoring and regulation of all social housing providers. The new role of the NIHE would mean that a
                                greater degree of accountability in relation to programme outcomes would be possible and the NIHE would
                                be directly accountable to the DSD for those performance outturns. Considering the current strategic
                                responsibilities of the NIHE in regard to the SHDP, the lack of direct accountability for outturn performance
                                would be addressed. Other more general issues would also be addressed including removal of the need for
                                dual approval for scheme developments, more improved co-ordination of linked policy objectives such as
                                energy efficiency, area, neighbourhood and community renewal strategies, sustainable development and in
                                the implementation of supporting people revenue funding commitments. There may also be the opportunity
                                to achieve improved quality and efficiencies in procurement.

                                Ark Housing have concerns as to the future potential role of RHA‟s in relation to participation in delivery of
                                the wider regeneration agenda. The centralising of all such programmes within a single body such as the
                                NIHE, which in its current format is also a social landlord provider, has the potential to create difficulties for
                                the future. Such problems may also relate to issues around the use of both capital and revenue funding
                                streams when these are determined and managed solely by the NIHE. Ark suggest there is potential for the
                                demise of RHA‟s status to mere delivery agents of an NIHE agenda which Ark believe would have a
                                detrimental impact on the voluntary housing sector. DSD must ensure that robust measures are in place to




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                             prevent the adverse effects that such centralisation has the potential to create and ensure that a full and
                             equitable partnership in the delivery of housing solutions to the population of Northern Ireland can be
                             achieved. NIFHA has indicated that the NIHE would gain a controlling influence over RHA‟s while at the
                             same time remaining a dominant landlord provider and that operational challenges would detrimentally
                             influence the NIHE‟s decision making capabilities. NIFHA has also argued that the determination of strategic
                             regional housing needs and operational management of programme delivery would produce an
                             unacceptable conflict of interest. Without proper consideration of a methodology to prevent this situation, Ark
                             considers that NIFHA‟s argument does have merit and support this position. Ark Housing are concerned as
                             to the lack of active debate on the issue of the separation of the NIHE‟s strategic and operational
                             responsibilities and suggest that further examination of this issue is critical in allaying concerns in this area.
                             A further concern is the capacity of the DSD to actively regulate and inspect the NIHE which, given the
                             diversity, size and complexity of the organisation would prove a significant challenge. Ark is concerned
                             about the ability of DSD‟s inspection team in this regard.
10.   Belfast Community      BCHA note that the proposal is in line with recommendations made by NIAC and suggest the proposals
      Housing Association    would be have broad approval from the local assembly. BCHA acknowledge the positive profile NIHE enjoys
                             amongst politicians and recognises the significant breadth and depth of the NIHE‟s experience. BCHA also
                             note the potential benefits of the NIHE as a Centre of Excellence in public procurement. BCHA state that the
                             proposal would allow DSD to focus on strategic issues, legislation and regulation, noting that the regulatory
                             framework will apply to all social housing providers. BCHA suggest the proposal may facilitate
                             improvements in processes.
                             BCHA note a potential conflict of interest between NIHE‟s strategic and operational roles and suggest that
                             the issue was examined by the HACAS study. BCHA believe that NIHE and RHAs would be treated
                             differently under the regulatory framework and query whether actual efficiencies could be achieved. BCHA
                             suggest that further resources may be required, even in the short term to implement the proposal without
                             disruption to programme delivery.
11.   BIH                    BIH has raised a number of issues related to implementation of the proposal and has expressed a
                             commitment to contribute to the development of an Implementation Plan and to work with the NIHE to
                             respond to the ongoing demands for social housing of a high standard and for improvements in the delivery
                             of the housing programme.
12.   Clanmil Housing        Clanmil concurs with NIFHA‟s view.
      Association




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13.   Fold Housing Association Agree -The new arrangements should ensure the accountability of NIHE. The DSD role should be confined
                               to policy, legislation, overall funding and regulation. Transfer will benefit effectiveness and efficiency as
                               current arrangements are overly complex. The role of NIHE in identifying land and influencing the zoning of
                               land should also be of benefit – Fold propose that NIHE adopts role similar to English Partnerships.

14.   Habinteg Housing           Habinteg accept the DSD‟s analysis of the advantages and disadvantages and strongly advise that the
      Association                potential disadvantage of dual scrutiny is avoided.

15.   North & West               The document sets out in broad terms the functions being proposed for transfer to the NIHE:
                                 (a) the assembly and management of the development programme;
                                 (b) the issuing of scheme approvals and the payment of grant.
                                 North & West suggest this will allow NIHE to target the considerable resources of its various departments
                                 towards one common goal – the successful achievement of the published SHDP to meet housing need
                                 identified by them. At the same time it removes any conflict of interest for the DSD in its key role of
                                 regulating RHAs. Although not specially referred to in the document it would be logical that functions
                                 fundamental to the programme such as:
                                 (a) design standards and procedures laid down in the Housing Association Guide and;
                                 (b) calculation of TCI;
                                 should also be considered for transfer.
16.   Oaklee Housing             The details of how the programme will be apportioned to associations, monitored and managed under
      Association                performance guidelines, should be agreed with a group including representatives from RHAs.
                                 Representation should be created on the NIHE Board, and access to the NI Housing Council, for the housing
                                 association movement
17.   CIH                        When the transfer of the management of the SHDP to the NIHE was first proposed as part of the "Building
                                 on Success" housing policy review, some respondents felt that the NIHE, to take on this role, would need to
                                 divest itself of its landlord function and become a purely strategic housing body. However, the CIH, at that
                                 time and consistently since, has argued that there is no need for these roles to be mutually exclusive. The
                                 important consideration is that the programme can and will be delivered in a cost effective and efficient
                                 manner. While over the last few years RHAs have been criticised for failing to achieve annual new build
                                 targets, performance over the last two years in particular has shown that working in partnership with RHAs,
                                 the NIHE and DSD can be effective.




                                Page 19 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                            SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

18.   EHSSB                        EHSSB have considered the perceived advantages & disadvantages of the proposal and welcome the
                                   enhanced clarity which it should bring to liaison and communication between stakeholders.

19.   Housing Rights Service       HRS welcome DSD‟s intention to focus on its strategic policy making role, and suggest that divesting of
                                   operational responsibilities will provide DSD the opportunity to concentrate on the development of a Housing
                                   Strategy for Northern Ireland. The responsibility for meeting targets related to the development should also
                                   transfer to NIHE, DSD would be responsible for monitoring and evaluating performance in this area.
20.   North Belfast Partnership    NBP consider the NIHE‟s determination and management of the SHDP will facilitate better co –ordination
                                   across a wide range of operational areas and enhance and strengthen the NIHE‟s role as the Regional
                                   Housing Authority for Northern Ireland enabling a more cohesive SHDP to be produced. The Forum also
                                   feels that expertise within the NIHE could be better utilized enabling the DSD to concentrate on strategic
                                   policy issues. The Forum has no concerns regarding the NIHE‟s ability, professionalism or accountability to
                                   take on the DSD‟s current operational role in the delivery of the SHDP. Indeed the North Belfast Housing
                                   and Environmental Forum believe there should be serious consideration given to the recommendations
                                   contained in the 1995 Housing Policy Review regarding the transference of responsibilities from the DSD‟s
                                   to the NIHE as regards the DSD‟s regulatory role of RHAs.
21.   Ulster Unionist Party        No comments.
22.   Sinn Fein                    Sinn Féin endorse the view of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that all revenue from the house sales
                                   scheme should go back into the SHDP as additional funding not as part of the housing block, this will help in
                                   pulling back some of the serious mistakes of underdevelopment in this past decade. Sinn Féin request a
                                   review of the appointment process to the board of the NIHE as it lacks democratic accountability and is
                                   discriminatory in its make up. Sinn Féin states that their absence from the Board, despite requests, is
                                   evidence of this. Sinn Fein call for significant representation from elected politicians appointed according to
                                   the d‟Hondt system. Sinn Fein suggests there is also a need to review all aspects of social housing and how
                                   the lack of regular reviews can impact negatively not only on the flow of new build but consequently on
                                   homelessness. Sinn Féin believes that this review should be viewed as the beginning of a process stating
                                   that the job NIHE was given a to do 30 years ago remains as necessary as ever. It is still in the process of
                                   building relationships with in communities, something the DSD and in many cases RHAs shied away from.
29.   DARD                         No comments.
30.   DRD                          No comments.




                                  Page 20 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                      SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

31.   Court Service NI       No comments.
32.   NI Ombudsman           No comments.
33.   Equality Commission    No comments.
34.   Paddy Gray             Agrees that the public perception of the NIHE as an impartial, professional organisation with an excellent track
                             record in managing a diverse range of programmes with a diverse range of private and public providers
                             should counter any concerns that exist. Mr. Gray doubts the public would disagree with this, he is also
                             confident that there is a strong cross section of political support for the NIHE to have direct control of the
                             delivery and management of social housing. In Mr. Gray‟s view there would be no potential conflict of
                             interest.




                            Page 21 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                       SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

TABLE 1.3
ISSUE THREE                   CONSULTEE’S COMMENTS ON THE RANGE OF FUNCTIONS DSD PROPOSES TO
                              TRANSFER AND TO RETAIN.
ORGANISATION                  COMMENTS

1.    Ards Borough Council    The Council accepts DSD‟s conclusions that there is a role for the NIHE in the management of the SHDP.

2.    Ballymena Borough       The Council have noted the content and made no comment.
      Council
3.    Limavady Borough        The Council are supportive.
      Council
4.    Lisburn City Council    The Council welcomes the proposed transfer of the assembly and management of the SHDP and scheme
                              approvals and payment of grant to the NIHE provided the highest standards of transparency and
                              accountability are maintained. The Council welcomes DSD „s retention of full responsibility for the regulation
                              of RHAs.
5.    Housing Council         The Housing Council would have welcomed transfer of further roles and responsibilities.

6.    NIHE                    NIHE supports the proposal that DSD should retain responsibility for the regulation and inspection of RHAs .
                              NIHE has commented extensively on the range of functions and seek clarity on a number of issues related to
                              implementation; these will be addressed during detailed discussions with key stakeholders.
7.    NIFHA                   NIFHA assert that the consultation paper seriously understates the importance of the conflict of interest
                              issues and suggests the mitigation offered is far from adequate. Secondly, the DSD should ensure that:
                                      (a) the NIHE is adequately resourced to discharge the functions transferred from the DSD
                                      (b) the DSD has access to sufficient technical staff to maintain the Housing Association Guide and
                                          undertake the technical aspects of the DSD‟s inspection of the NIHE and associations.
                              Thirdly, a disadvantage of the proposal is that the NIHE will be less well placed than the DSD when seeking
                              liaison or assistance from government departments such as the Planning Service or the Department of
                              Health, Social Security and Public Safety. NIFHA believe the proposed reform would improve the situation
                              so, subject to certain clarification and safeguards, NIFHA support the initiative and welcome the opportunity
                              to work even more closely with the region‟s strategic housing authority. NIFHA‟s support rests on the
                              fundamental principle that the DSD will retain responsibility for regulating and inspecting all social housing




                             Page 22 of 35                                DC 10-6
                                          SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

                                 providers, namely the NIHE and the registered housing associations. NIFHA commends DSD for carefully
                                 determining the appropriate scope of reform and welcome the fact that the consultation document clearly
                                 states, several times, that the regulation and inspection of registered housing associations will continue to be
                                 undertaken by the DSD and the same standards and processes will be applied to the NIHE. There must be
                                 no dilution of this twin principle because:
                                     (a) it is entirely appropriate that the sponsoring government department should oversee both types of
                                         social landlord
                                     (b) unacceptable conflicts of interest would arise if the NIHE became the regulator of registered housing
                                         associations.
8.    NICHA                      NICHA state that DSD‟s role in implementing the updated regulatory and monitoring framework will provide
                                 sufficient assurance and a strategic appreciation of the programme environment.
9.    Ark Housing Association    Ark considers that given adequate resources, training, advisory and support services from the DSD that the
                                 NIHE could effectively manage the assembly of the new build programme. Ark have reservations as to the
                                 current capacity of the NIHE‟s existing programme management arrangements in relation to this new
                                 function and would therefore suggest that the DSD‟s role during any transitional period must be sufficiently
                                 commensurate with the identified needs. Ark suggests it would be undesirable to lose the expertise,
                                 knowledge and experience already gained within DSD in respect of this function. With regard to the issue of
                                 scheme approvals and payment of grant, likewise Ark has concerns as to the capacity of the NIHE to provide
                                 technical scheme assessments. Ark state it would be incumbent on DSD to ensure adequate resources,
                                 control and monitoring of performance during any transitional and future period to ensure that the existing
                                 levels of service are maintained and, if possible, improved upon. Ark Housing considers that the NIHE does
                                 have the capacity to undertake payments of capital to RHA‟s and that there is limited potential for difficulties
                                 in this area providing adequate resources and working arrangements are made available.
10.   Belfast Community          BCHA request further detail on the functions proposed for transfer however they state that clear standards of
      Housing Association        service must be established.
11.   BIH                        BIH request further detail of the functions that would transfer under the proposal and seek clarity to enable a
                                 fuller assessment of the proposal to ensure that potential conflicts of interest are identified and addressed.
12.   Clanmil Housing            Clanmil make no specific comments on the range of functions proposed for transfer.
      Association




                                Page 23 of 35                                DC 10-6
                                          SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

13.   Fold Housing Association Fold state that there must be absolute clarity in the proposed new arrangements. Clear demarcation
                               between NIHE role as landlord and strategic role is required and internal management arrangements must
                               demonstrate clear divisions between various responsibilities especially with regard to NIHE Design Teams
                               and the assessment of their work during the scheme approval process. Fold requests clarity on: the
                               assessment of strategic housing need, policy & programme priorities, and the methodology applied when
                               allocating schemes (including transfer schemes) to associations against annual bids. DSD should set
                               targets of annual build and spend for the NIHE within the PES. DSD should retain regulation, inspection and
                               audit role, control the HA Guide and periodic TCI/ Grant Level reviews. The NIHE should be subject to the
                               same regulation & inspection framework as RHAs. Fold recommend that the current Tri-partite Group
                               (expanded if necessary) could progress the detailed arrangements.
14.   Habinteg Housing         Habinteg accept the proposal in principle. Detailed work will be required and Habinteg request that this
      Association              involves all stakeholders. Habinteg recommend further consultation to ensure appropriate arrangements
                               can be agreed.
15.   North & West               North & West feels that this is an issue for DSD to decide. What is important for North & West is that there is
                                 a seamless transfer with no disruption to the delivery of the programme. This will not only require adequate
                                 training for new staff but shadowing of existing staff. North & West state that it is important that a sufficient
                                 period of time is allowed to ensure a smooth transfer of funding.
16.   Oaklee Housing             The NIHE role should be restricted to the management of the SHDP and the payment of HAG. The policy
      Association                and regulation role should remain with the DSD, as well as the setting of the overall targets for programme
                                 delivery.
17.   CIH                        The proposed transfer of the management function further enhances the tripartite arrangement that has
                                 been put in place over the last few years ensuring that all partners are committed, responsible and
                                 accountable for achieving the required annual targets and output. Currently the NIHE has some
                                 responsibility for the programme through the assessment of need and transfer schemes but have little or no
                                 accountability for the overall programme delivery and performance. The current proposals changes this
                                 dynamic and the NIHE would share the timely delivery of the programme and achieving output targets. The
                                 CIH (NI) believes that the proposals have much merit and can influence and assist in achieving economies
                                 through Egan Principles being extended to new build development and delivery and better procurement
                                 policy and procedures. The proposals do present a number of operational challenges to all parties involved
                                 in development and delivery of the SHDP but none appear insurmountable.
18.   EHSSB                      Agree with the scope of the transfer – EHSSB advises that robust monitoring arrangements will minimise
                                 any potential conflicts of interest.




                               Page 24 of 35                                 DC 10-6
                                            SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

19.   Housing Rights Service       HRS believes that DSD should retain responsibility for regulating RHAs.

20.   North Belfast Partnership    The Forum welcomes the proposal to transfer the management of the SHDP to the NIHE. It believes that
                                   the NIHE is better equipped to oversee the management of this core housing programme. However, it also
                                   believes that the proposal does not go far enough and that there are significant benefits in giving the NIHE
                                   not only oversight of the SHDP, together with a greater role on land identification, but also serious
                                   consideration should be given to granting the NIHE the appropriate powers to raise private finance so that it
                                   the NIHE can take on a role as a direct new build provider. This was one of the 27 recommendations from
                                   the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee – Social Housing Provision in Northern Ireland Sixth Report of
                                   Session 2003/04:Volume 1.
21.   Ulster Unionist Party        No comment.
22.   Sinn Fein                    Sinn Fein suggest that the demise of the NIHE as a provider of social housing has had a serious and
                                   detrimental impact on this sector and has led to a crisis in the social housing. Compounded, in part, by a
                                   combination of mismanagement by the DSD and the lack of supply from RHAs. The recommendations of
                                   the 1995 Housing Policy Review, which proposed transfer of additional powers to the NIHE, should be
                                   implemented. Sinn Féin believe that many RHAs provide an excellent service especially in the specialist
                                   sector, but since being elevated to the position of social housing providers, they have failed to keep pace
                                   with demand. This has led to serious problems for people living in areas of high demand and in the
                                   management of large schemes. Sinn Féin suggest that RHAs lack transparency and democratic
                                   accountability, with boards closed to public scrutiny. They contest this is exacerbated by the fact that there
                                   are too many RHAs. Sinn Fein believes a review of who builds social housing is also required. Sinn Féin
                                   believes that all functions of housing, bar audit, should be transferred from the DSD to the NIHE. The
                                   suggestion that strategic policy matters and decisions should remain is problematic. Sinn Fein state what is
                                   needed is a new approach in future housing strategy i.e. a policy advisory committee made up of the NIHE,
                                   DSD and representatives from the many specialist housing groups which exist. This will give those with an
                                   expertise in different aspects of housing provision an input in the shaping of housing policy. This may help
                                   overcome the mistakes of the past; it may also deal with the problem of accountability within departments.
20.   DARD                         No comment.
21.   DRD                          No comment.
22.   Court Service NI             No comment.
23.   NI Ombudsman                 No comment.




                                  Page 25 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                     SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

24.   Equality Commission    No comment.
25.   Paddy Gray             Mr Gray advises a review of future social housing in Northern Ireland, he suggests that DSD considers what
                             the development function was transferred in the first place and which issues have changed since then. Mr
                             Gray opposes the proposal, as he did in 1996, as he believes there are other methods of attracting private
                             finance for social housing development.




                            Page 26 of 35                              DC 10-6
                                      SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

TABLE 1.4
ISSUE FOUR                    CONSULTEE’S COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSAL TO PROGRESS THE TRANSFER
                              ADMINISTRATIVELY IN ADVANCE OF LEGISLATION.
ORGANISATION                  COMMENTS

1.    Ards Borough Council    The Council accepts DSD‟s conclusions that there is a role for the NIHE in the management of the SHDP.

2.    Ballymena Borough       The Council have noted the content and made no comment.
      Council
3.    Limavady Borough        The Council are supportive.
      Council
4.    Lisburn City Council   The Council accepts proposals to progress the transfer administratively prior to new legislation. However, the
                             Council would be concerned that administrative arrangements put in place, prior to the passing of new
                             housing legislation, may not be consistent with final legislation. The Council would stress the need for the
                             new administrative arrangements and legislation to be consistent with each other and to take into account
                             the outcomes of the public consultation exercise.

5.    Housing Council        The Housing Council made no specific comment on the proposal to progress the transfer administratively in
                             advance of the proposal. The Housing Council has requested that: the changes in roles and responsibilities
                             are communicated and that the Housing Community Network, residents' associations and notification to
                             elected representatives are used to affect this. Council members have indicated that they expect to receive
                             progress reports that demonstrate improvements in delivery.
6.    NIHE                   NIHE welcome a phased transfer of responsibilities NIHE suggest that the programme management function
                             would be compromised by the absence of appropriate legislation. NIHE seek DSD‟s commitment to
                             introduce legislation at an early date, not more that twelve months after the introduction of interim
                             arrangements.
7.    NIFHA                   NIFHA understands that the only aspect of the reform which would require legislation concerns the payment
                              of Housing Association Grant (HAG). NIFHA gather that, as the law stands, the DSD has no power to
                              delegate the payment of HAG. If the DSD intends to use the next legislative opportunity to permit this
                              financial delegation, NIFHA strongly urge DSD to also seek an amendment which would permit the NIHE to
                              delegate to RHAs the assessment of homelessness and of eligibility for social housing. Delegation in
                              relation to housing applicants would be entirely consistent with the principle of partnership on which the



                             Page 27 of 35                              DC 10-6
                                         SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

                                 Common Selection Scheme, as well as this present proposal about management of the SHDP, is founded.
                                 Even without legislation, NIFHA believes that nearly all of the proposed reform could, and should, be
                                 implemented by administrative means. NIFHA envisage that the NIHE could examine applications for
                                 project approval and HAG payments and recommend them for payment by the DSD. The DSD should not
                                 re-examine the applications but accept them as having been “passported” by its agent, the NIHE. Until the
                                 law is changed, NIFHA assume that the DSD will still have to sign the consent to dispose of property and the
                                 mortgage deeds for mixed funded schemes. The arrangements should ensure that this legal requirement
                                 does not produce “double scrutiny”.
8.    NICHA                      NICHA are committed to transparency and accountability and to work in partnership with the NIHE to
                                 produce tailored local housing solutions.
9.    Ark Housing Association   Ark Housing, in principle, supports the proposal to adopt administrative arrangements to enable the
                                introduction of the new delivery model. Ark recognises the difficulties associated with legislative issues and
                                would consider it desirable to enter into this new structure sooner rather than later via an administrative
                                „workaround‟ in advance of legislation. While support in principal is given, it must be recognised that such
                                support is dependant on the engagement of the RHA‟s in this whole new delivery model as a full and equal
                                partner and not as an instrument of the NIHE for the delivery of their agenda. The potential pitfalls and
                                dangers surrounding the use of administrative arrangements in the absence of such recognition is to be
                                avoided and each key player must be clear as to their role and involvement in the new delivery model. While
                                not directly compatible the current impasse with achieving progress on the pilot project for the common
                                selection scheme assessment of housing need by RHA‟s due to legislative, administrative and cultural
                                barriers only serves to highlight the potential for problems in operating in advance of legislative amendments.
10.   Belfast Community          BCHA state that due to the short-medium term practicalities, an Implementation Plan is vital. BCHA suggest
      Housing Association        that it is paramount that all parties – DSD, NIHE and RHAs are involved in the process. If the target date is
                                 to be achieved discussion on payment of grant, scheme approval and acquisition of properties must be
                                 immediate. Clear, open, transparent lines of accountability and authority and a mechanism for resolving
                                 disputes need to be considered and communicated to all stakeholders.
11.   BIH                        The payment of grant to RHAs could remain with the DSD in advance of any legislative change. The
                                 financing and the management of the programme are separate functions and the DSD will either have to
                                 transfer a ring-fenced housing association budget to the NIHE and regularly monitor spend by returns from
                                 the NIHE or internally monitor expenditure. This would not solve the issue of showing the efficiency savings
                                 as indicated in the consultation document. Further information on this matter should be released as soon as
                                 possible. However, an additional certification that the scheme had project approval from NIHE should be
                                 sufficient to process a grant claim. It would be prudent as part of the implementation process to carry out a




                                Page 28 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                           SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

                                  compatibility exercise on IT systems and to firmly agree the protocols for IT.
12.   Clanmil Housing             No comment.
      Association
13.   Habinteg Housing            Subject to appropriate arrangements being agreed with those affected and put in place, Habinteg accept the
      Association                 possibility of the transfer in advance of legislation.
14.   Fold Housing Association Fold agrees to the introduction of administrative arrangements to phase in new procedures in advance of
                               legislation. Fold acknowledge that negotiations between the NIHE and DSD are progressing to determine
                               resource requirements, Fold recommend that the current Tri-partite Group (expanded if necessary) could
                               progress the detailed arrangements. Fold has requested clarification of: the assessment of strategic housing
                               need, the NIHE/ DSD‟s policy & programme priorities, the methodology applied when allocating schemes
                               (including transfer schemes) to RHAs against annual bids.
15.   North & West             North & West feels that this is an issue for DSD to decide. What is important for North & West is that there is
                               a seamless transfer with no disruption to the delivery of the programme. This will not only require adequate
                               training for new staff but shadowing of existing staff. North & West state that It is important that a sufficient
                               period of time is allowed to ensure a smooth transfer of funding.
16.   Oaklee Housing           Clear parameters should be set from the outset on the transitional arrangements for the role changes.
      Association              Efforts should also be made to assess any potential conflicts of interest and to clarify longer-term policy
                               regarding the NIHE delivery of new build.
17.   CIH                      CIH (NI) suggests that the timetable to introduce the new arrangements in April 2006 may be ambitious.
                               The CIH (NI) believes that the existing primary legislation does not permit the DSD to transfer its statutory
                               responsibilities for the SHDP to any other body or organisation. The proposed changes would therefore
                               require amending primary legislation through Order in Council in Westminster and this is unlikely to take
                               place within a timeframe to allow the delegation of management of the SHDP to pass to the NIHE to take
                               effect from April next year. In the absence of the necessary change in legislation some interim
                               arrangements would need to be put in place that stops short of full delegation of management authority,
                               possibly taking the form of some sort of shadow arrangements, prior to the necessary change in legislation.
                               Such an interim arrangement would ensure that there would be little or no disruption to the delivery of
                               development programme when the legislation is enacted.
18.   EHSSB                       No comment.
19.   Housing Rights Service     HRS is concerned that without the supporting legislation the DSD may be vulnerable to judicial challenge.
                                 HRS believes that the transfer of functions should be delayed until proper statutory responsibility is given to




                                Page 29 of 35                                 DC 10-6
                                          SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

                                 NIHE to undertake to new administrative arrangements.
20.   North Belfast Partnership NBP agree that a phased approach to the transfer of functions from the DSD to the NIHE should be adopted
                                to ensure smooth transition with the NIHE assuming full responsibility by 1st April 2006. Current partnership
                                working arrangements between the key stakeholders (DSD, NIHE and RHA‟s) should aid the efficient
                                transfer of the proposed functions.
21.   Ulster Unionist Party      No comment.
22.   Sinn Fein                  No comment.
35.   DARD                       No comment.
36.   DRD                        No comment.
37.   Court Service NI           No comment.
38.   NI Ombudsman               No comment.
39.   Equality Commission        No comment.
40.   Paddy Gray                 Mr Gray welcomes the proposal.




                                Page 30 of 35                               DC 10-6
                                        SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

TABLE 1.5
ISSUE FIVE                     CONSULTEE’S COMMENTS ON HOW THE PROPOSALS MIGHT IMPACT ON ANY OF THE
                               SECTION 75 GROUPS AND ASKED IF THERE ARE POTENTIALLY ADVERSE IMPACTS
                               WHAT THE DEPARTMENT MIGHT DO TO MITIGATE THESE IMPACTS.
ORGANISATION                   COMMENTS

1.     Ards Borough Council    The Council accepts DSD‟s conclusions that there is a role for the NIHE in the management of the SHDP.

2.     Limavady Borough        The Council acknowledge the importance of social housing provision as being essential to the ensuring the
       Council                 essential housing needs of residents in NI, they identify no adverse equality implications.
3.     Ballymena Borough       The Council have noted the content and made no comment.
       Council
4.     Lisburn City Council    The Council notes that an equality screening exercise is to be carried out in relation to the proposal that
                               emerges from the consultation exercise. The Council highlights the role of the SHDP in meeting special
                               housing needs, particularly persons with a disability. The Council considers that the proposals to transfer
                               management should not impact negatively upon this or any other section 75 group. The Council considers
                               that a partnership approach and joined-up decision making between DSD and all relevant bodies, e.g. DoE
                               (in relation to Development Plan preparation and land zonings), DRD (in relation to regional housing growth
                               indicators) local authorities and relevant stakeholder groups, is necessary to avoid, as far as possible, the
                               need for mitigation measures. The Council recognises the importance of the SHDP. The Council would
                               highlight, irrespective of its administration, the critical importance of accurate, up-to-date Housing Needs
                               Assessments and appropriate recognition of the role that Local Authorities can play in relation to the
                               formation and delivery of the SHDP.

5.     Housing Council         The Housing Council has not recorded any views about how the proposal might impact on groups identified
                               under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act. However the Council has requested that changes in roles and
                               responsibilities are clearly communicated and that the Housing Community Network, residents' associations
                               and elected representatives are used to ensure this.
6.     NIHE                    NIHE state that there is unlikely that the proposal will present significant issues in respect of equality for the
                               various client groups.
7.     NIFHA                   NIFHA considers that the proposal would be neutral in terms of the statutory duties concerning equality and
                               the promotion of good relations, which apply to RHAs as well as the DSD and NIHE. Even though there may




                              Page 31 of 35                                 DC 10-6
                                         SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

                                 be no impact, NIFHA recommends that the DSD undertake screening.
8.    NICHA                      No comment.

9.    Ark Housing Association    Ark Housing is of the view that there would be little or no adverse impact on any of the Section 75 groups.
                                 The DSD, NIHE are fully committed to complying with their statutory obligations under the Northern Ireland
                                 Act 1988 and all RHA‟s are currently in the process of fully implementing their Equality schemes. The
                                 commitment by the DSD to undertake equality screening and if necessary equality impact assessments, will
                                 give sufficient guarantees that the statutory obligations can be achieved. We can make no comment as to
                                 how the DSD could mitigate against the potential adverse impact until the outcomes of any impact
                                 assessment are known.
10.   Belfast Community          No comment.
      Housing Association.
11.   BIH                        In bringing forward any new administrative arrangements there should be an evaluative study on the benefits
                                 achieved after a minimum of twelve months in operation but more reasonably after 2/3 years to assess the
                                 success of the decision. The impact of this proposal in relation to Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act
                                 1998 would in our view be minimal as the programme currently is established jointly between the NIHE and
                                 the DSD.
12.   Clanmil Housing            No comment.
      Association
13.   Fold Housing Association Fold have not recorded any specific concerns about the potential impact of the proposed transfer on any of
                               the groups identified under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
14.   Habinteg Housing         Habinteg accept that an equality screening exercise will be undertaken. Habinteg express increasing
      Association              concern about the way in which the housing needs of people with disabilities are being considered, but trusts
                               that the matter can be resolved prior to the proposed transfer.
15.   North & West               North & West indicate that it is difficult to see how the transfer of the SHDP from one public authority to
                                 another can adversely impact on any of the section 75 groups particularly as both bodies are subject to the
                                 Northern Ireland Act 1998. There could, however, be unexpected repercussions from the transfer of the
                                 programme which may have equality implications thus requiring the NIHE to keep the process under review.
16.   Oaklee Housing             No comment.
      Association
17.   CIH                        No comment.




                                Page 32 of 35                              DC 10-6
                                           SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

18.   EHSSB                        EHSSB not aware of any adverse equality implications arising from the proposal and suggest that new
                                   arrangements could positively help particular groups by more closely aligning needs assessment and the
                                   SHDP.
19.   North Belfast Partnership    Forum members have not identified any adverse impacts on any of the Section 75 groups should the
                                   proposed transfer of functions emerge as the preferred action following this consultation exercise. However
                                   we agree that an Equality Impact Assessment should be carried out before DSD begins the phased transfer
                                   of the management of the Social Housing Development Programme to the NIHE.
20.   Housing Rights Service       No comment.
21.   Ulster Unionist Party        No comment.
22.   Sinn Fein                    Increased membership of politicians on NIHE Board will enhance representativeness and ensure the
                                   interests of marginalised groups are considered.
23.   DARD                         No comment.

24.   DRD                          No comment.
25.   Court Service NI             No comment.

26.   Equality Commission          No comment.


27.   Paddy Gray                   Mr Gray suggests that there is no potential for adverse impacts.




                                  Page 33 of 35                               DC 10-6
             SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES


                                                         ANNEX 2
List of Consultees
  1.    10 Departmental Permanent Secretaries
  2.    26 councils
  3.    39 registered Housing Associations
  4.    112 MLA’s
  5.    18 NI MPs
  6.    10 NI Party Leaders
  7.    Advice Services Alliance
  8.    Age Concern (NI)
  9.    Barnardos
  10.   Baroness Blood
  11.   British Deaf Assoc (NI)
  12.   Carers UK
  13.   Chairman NIHE
  14.   Child Care NI
  15.   Child Poverty Action Group
  16.   Coalition on Sexual Orientation (COSO)
  17.   Dr C Paris School of Built Environment, UU
  18.   Eastern Health & Social Services Board
  19.   Equality Commission
  20.   General Consumer Council
  21.   Gingerbread
  22.   Help the Aged (NI)
  23.   Housing Rights Service
  24.   Law Centre (NI)
  25.   Library NIHE
  26.   Library Parliament Buildings
  27.   Lord Blease
  28.   Lord Fitt
  29.   Lord Glentoran CBE DL
  30.   Lord Kilclooney
  31.   Lord Laird
  32.   Lord Maginnis
  33.   Lord Molyneaux
  34.   Lord Rogan
  35.   Lord Smith of Clifton
  36.   Mencap
  37.   Mr Alex Solomon Council of Mortgage Lenders
  38.   Mr B Holmes NI Tenants Action Project
  39.   Mr J Taylor MP
  40.   Mr Kieran Walsh Chartered Institute of Housing




                              Page 34 of 35                DC 10-6
          SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES


41.   Mr Paddy Gray School of the Built Environment, UU
42.   Mr W Davies Shadow Secretary of State
43.   Multi-Cultural Resource Centre
44.   NI Housing Council
45.   NI Human Rights Commission (NIHRC)
46.    NI Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA)
47.   NI Women’s Aid Federation
48.   NIAC
49.   NIAC Sub- committee
50.   NICVA
51.   NIFHA
52.   NIPSA
53.   Northern Health & Social Services Board
54.   RNID
55.   RNID
56.   Shelter (NI)
57.   Simon Community (NI)
58.   Southern Health & Social Services Board
59.   The Equality Unit – OFMDFM
60.   The Local Government Staff Commission for NI (LGSC)
61.   Western Health & Social Services Board
62.   Karin McKinty – Energy First Co-ordinator
63.   Federation of Small Businesses
64.   Deborah McLeary QUB Library
65.   Alison Laird - Policy Officer UUP
66.   Grainne Magee - Stratagem
67.   Cathal McKenna
68.   Andrew Quinlan
69.   Ciara O’Brien
70.   Padhraig Mc Kernan
71.   Kerry Wright




                          Page 35 of 35                     DC 10-6

				
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