Research on Choice Based Lettings (CBL) launched at JRF Seminar in York

Posted on Thursday 20th February 2014

Research on the North Yorkshire Home Choice CBL scheme, funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation was launched at a seminar in York on Friday February 21st. The project undertaken by David Mullins and Pat Niner from the H&CRG, University of Birmingham, with Filip Sosenko from Heriot Watt University evaluated the first year of operation of one of the largest and last CBL schemes to be established. Key results found that mobility across local authority boundaries had increased to around 10% of all lettings, and that 39% of applicants liked having a wider choice of area. There was also no evidence that the scheme had disadvantaged vulnerable groups. Their priority and representation in lettings was maintained by the priority banding scheme, by assistance with bidding, integration with Social Services and recognition of the key role played by family and friends and community-based advice and support agencies. However, the scheme had been adversely affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ and an initial policy allowing applicants to under-occupy by one bedroom was overturned in the year One policy review. Furthermore, CBL schemes do little to tackle the underlying shortage of social housing and the research found :

the biggest challenge remains to create meaningful choices for customers in the lowest priority bands".

A key benefit of the evaluation for the 7 partner North Yorkshire local authorities, 10 housing associations and 22 non-partner landlords who participate in North Yorkshire Home Choice was early release of findings in the form of 5 Evidence Papers which enabled the research to impact on internal equality impact assessments and a 12 month policy review. 31 recommendations were made to the NYHC partners, and as a result of the above approach, most had been implemented by the time of the seminar.

The report is available on the JRF Website

Read the five evidence papers