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Background to the Housing Allocations Policy Review

From 2009 to October 2012, Aberdeen City Council undertook a major review of the way in which it allocates its housing stock. The aim of this review was to two-fold:

  1. To make the process of allocating housing more clear and transparent
  2. To ensure the Council could react effectively to the increasing demand for its limited housing stock

These pages have been created to provide more detailed information on the review and the consultation that accompanied it.

Back to the How does the Council allocate housing? page.

Update No 1 - December 2009: Consultation


The first phase of the review of the allocation policy consisted of a major consultation exercise with service users and staff. The consultation exercise began with a questionnaire sent to current tenants and all those on our waiting lists, to obtain their views on aspects of our current policy.

The Review of Housing Allocation Survey Results 2009 highlighted:

  • Over 1500 responded to the survey
  • Over 75% of respondents found the application form relatively easy to understand.
  • Our group and points policy was fairly even with 32.7% against and 33.8% in favour of the current system with 22.8% covering the middle ground and 10.7% don't know
  • 40.3% do not find the current system fair, open or transparent while 27% do.
  • 53.6% of respondents felt that communication with them whilst they are waiting for an offer was poor, whilst 24.4% were satisfied.

We are currently analysing the results in more detail and will update you with this information when it is available. However you can look at our consultation paper; a link is located at the top of the page.

Service User Focus Groups

The second part of the service user consultation exercise involved establishing six service user focus groups. Many applicants volunteered for this and the focus sessions took place during the month of October 2009.

Over 160 volunteers for the focus groups, unfortunately due to such a large number we had to reduce this to around sixty. Volunteers were chosen randomly whilst keeping a balance between the male and female and the age groups.

Staff Focus Groups

During September 2009 we undertook a consultation exercise with Council staff and arranged five focus groups to look at the current system and how it might be changed bearing in mind the current supply/demand issues.

Both the staff and service user focus groups were lively and informative; the notes from all the meetings did reveal a great deal of consensus and commonality. They felt the current system had a tendency to be complex whilst it did Endeavour to identify customer housing needs and award points for the various elements. However the groups also felt that the system of point's allocation could be simplified for both staff and service users.

Next Steps

The outcomes from the survey and the focus groups have been collated and can be found in the interim report November 2009, which can be accessed at the top of the page. Various options for the new Policy were developed based on current legislation and guidelines, local demographics and findings from the focus groups.

Members of the Council were invited to a workshop in late March 2010 to discuss the progress of the project and were given a presentation on the possible options available. Members were requested to respond with comments and suggestions by the end of April. These options were then presented to the Housing and Environment Committee in 2010 for information and approval of the favoured option.

Officers are currently working on modelling exercises on the various options for the pointing and grouping of applicants. Once the members' comments and the modelling are complete officers will report their findings to the Housing and Environment Committee early after the recess.

Officers will be reporting to the August 2010 committee requesting approval to set up a new Housing Occupational Therapy team to take over the assessment of medical and care priority, this will provide a more holistic and accurate approach to assessing housing need.

Officers are also planning to report to the Housing and Environment Committee in October 2010 on the review of the allocation policy and will make recommendations for major changes to the policy.

Update 2 - March 2011

Members of the Housing and Environment Committee approved the adoption of the basic four list model and the formation of the new Housing Needs Assessment Team. Officers are currently engaged in work to implement these recommendations and it is anticipated that the new team will start work in the autumn. The full allocations policy will be put before members of the Housing and Environment Committee on the 10th May 2001

Update 3 - May 2011

The housing and environment committee at their meeting on the 10th May approved the new allocation policy. Officers are now engaged in the implementation phase which will see the introduction of the new policy in the autumn. A copy of the new policy will be posted on this page in due course.

Update 4 - October 2011

The implementation project team has now been formed to help identify various work streams such as changes to the computer system, staff training, recruitment process for the new Housing Needs Assessment team and communications. It is envisaged that the new policy should be in operation by Spring 2012.

Our communication plan is nearly complete, we aim to provide all necessary information to all our stakeholder groups including current applicants, future applicants, all our tenants, staff and Elected Members. The process will begin with an article in Newsbite magazine due out in late November early December, issuing press releases and updates on this website. We also aim to provide information by way of direct mail. a frequently asked question section on the website and possibly a 'hotline' for stakeholder enquiries.

Update 5 - June 2012: Implementation

Officers are currently engaged on the complex implementation of the new policy. The new Housing Needs Assessment Team (HNAT) has now been recruited and should start work in early July. Initially they will undertake a comprehensive training program which will include the transition of applicants from one system to the other prior to starting with a go live date of October 2012.

Communication with stakeholders will continue over the coming months as we approach the intended go live date of October 2012.

It is anticipated that the new policy will have a positive impact on the numbers of applicants on our various waiting lists as a new housing options approach and more robust assessment process are features of the new policy. This will in turn have a positive impact on the processing times for housing applications, the acceptance rate of offers and should contribute to further improvement in the number of void properties and rates of tenancy sustainment.

Update 6 - August 2012

Aberdeen City Council currently only has around 200 empty houses across the City and demand from applicants is high with approximately 8,000 applicants on the housing lists. To ensure housing can be offered to those with the most need we will be introducing a new Allocations Policy in October 2012. The new policy was developed after consultation with our service users and was approved by the Housing and Environment Committee in May 2011.

The Council is now embarking on the final stages of implementing its new Housing Allocation Policy and is in the process of advising our customers of the impending changes. Unfortunately at this stage we are unable to give any further information on how the new policy will effect an individual application until the new policy has been implemented. At that time we will sent a letter to all our current applicants giving details of the new housing list that their application has been placed on and their new points award where applicable.

In the meantime applications will continue to be processed under our existing scheme.