Newcastle Independent Tenant Voice (NITV)

Newcastle Independent Tenant Voice (NITV)

Allocations and Lettings consultation

Social housing is in high demand in Newcastle, and we need to manage it in a way that meets the needs of local residents.  Newcastle City Council (NCC) have reviewed the way they allocate their social housing across the city.  Newcastle Independent Tenants Voice engaged with residents and service users to find out their views and opinions about the proposed changes to their former Allocations and Lettings policy.  

We received the following: 

  • 316 responses to the online questionnaire 
  • 3 responses from Registered Providers 
  • 3 responses from voluntary agencies (Crisis, Shelter & Action Foundation) 
  • 1 response from another Local Authority 
  • 215 comments in response to our posts on social media 
  • 1 response on Let’s Talk 
  • Spoke to 26 people at Citywide informal drop in sessions 

Based on feedback from residents and housing organisations from across the city NITV has proposed the following recommendations: 

  1. Allocation and letting’s policy should be representative of all people especially those with physical and mental disabilities.  Care should be given when changing the policy to include needs for those who require additional support such as carers or specialist equipment. 
  2. The views and concerns of customers must be at the centre of the policy and proposed changes if a greater level of customer satisfaction is to be achieved. 
  3. Continue to build on best practice to improve the customers' experience and expectations when applying for social housing.  Make it a quicker and an easier process. 
  4. Staff development for officers to help support vulnerable tenants with mental health issues and other protected characteristics.  This will help remove barriers for those trying to access social housing and will meet the needs of the applicant. 

  5. The final NITV Report to be distributed to NCC departments and appropriate working groups. 
  6. A definite need for better communication by developing opportunities for tenants and customers to have informal discussions, share issues, concerns, and ideas with Fairer Housing Unit and YHN officers. 
  7. Continue to protect the rights of the most vulnerable customers by ensuring staff have the correct tools, knowledge, training, and expertise to provide a consistent and effective service for customers. 

A full copy of our report is now available.  

The Councils Response to the consultation

Not all the comments received related directly to the proposed changes. Respondents used this opportunity to provide their thoughts and comments about wider issues relating to the allocations process and the provision of social housing in Newcastle. These comments have been considered and will be used to inform the future delivery of social housing. 

All comments received were considered and have helped to inform and shape some changes to the original proposals, which are detailed below. 

  • We proposed: To remove the income limit so the amount you earn will not stop you applying to join the housing register. 
  • You said: 72% (13 out of 18) of participants who commented, felt strongly that people on high incomes should not be allowed to join the housing register and felt that the allocation of social housing should be limited to people on lower incomes. 
  • This Means:  We agree with your views and will be keeping the £50,000 income limit. 
  • We Proposed: In addition to the current policy, if you refuse three suitable homes you will not be able to bid for properties for 12 months.  
  • You Said: 80% (16 out of 20) of participants who commented, disagreed and felt that this policy would have a negative impact on the most vulnerable applicants and no consistency in decision making in terms of the suitability of a property. 
  • This Means:  We agree with your views and will not be introducing a refusal policy. 
  • We Proposed:  That people who don’t have a local connection to Newcastle will have their housing needs assessed. If they would otherwise have qualified for Bands A, B or C they will instead be awarded a new ‘Reduced Priority’ band.   
  • You said:  57% (4 out of 7) of participants who commented, disagreed and felt that local residents should be prioritised above people with no local connection to Newcastle. 
  • This Means:  We agree and have created an additional band which will ensure that applicants with a local connection to Newcastle will be offered a property before an applicant with no local connection and the same level of housing need. 
  • We Proposed:  To redefine the current awards and introduce a new additional Band B: Urgent award so that people at risk of homelessness would be awarded Band B: Urgent earlier. 
  • You Said:   69% (9 out of 14) of participants who commented, disagreed with this proposal. 
  • This Means:   We agree and have made further amendments to the homeless priority band awards. 
  • We Propose: All comments received that were not related directly to the Allocations proposed changes, will be used to inform future delivery of social housing. 
  • You said:    People used this opportunity to provide their thoughts and comments about wider issues relating to the allocations process and the provision of social housing in Newcastle. 
  • This Means:  You may have influenced changes to the future of social housing in Newcastle. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in our survey, drop-ins etc, your views are very important to us, and the voices of tenants and leaseholders continue to help shape social housing in Newcastle. 


Directions to the Social Housing Regulator on Mutual Exchange and Tenant Involvement 

The Regulator of Social Housing is due to consultation changes to the Consumer Standards later this year which is part of the Decent Home Standards review. There are four standards: Tenancy, Home, Neighbourhood and Community and Tenant involvement and Empowerment.

Before the launch of the Consumer Standards consultation, we were asked by the Government, to speak to tenants and leaseholders about changes to the guidance they provide to the Regulator of Social Housing for Tenant Involvement and Mutual Exchange.

Responses to consultation

We proposed to strengthen how housing providers involve tenants to:

  • Increase tenant influence
  • Be transparent with them
  • Be tenant-led
  • Support tenants who want to transfer ownership of their homes to another housing provider

You said: 

  • 67 people agreed
  • 9 people disagreed

This means we agreed for the following reasons:

  • The views of NITV
  • It is good practice.
  • Supporting the Right to Transfer should be part of our tenant involvement offer

We proposed to enable housing providers to determine their own performance framework for tenant involvement and ensure this includes low-cost renters and homeowners.

You said:

  • 52 people agreed
  • 24 people disagreed

This means we agreed for the following reasons:

  • The views of NITV
  • It is an opportunity to develop our own performance framework with tenants and leaseholders.
  • We provide low-cost home ownership homes.

We proposed to ensure housing providers support tenants who want to use mutual exchange services if they can’t do this independently.

You said:

  • 70 people agreed
  • 6 people disagreed

This means we agreed as we already offer a range of support and contact options which are tailored to the customer’s level of need.

We proposed:  Housing providers can choose the provider for their mutual exchange services rather than selecting from those in the National Home Swap Scheme.

You said:

  • 64 people agreed
  • 12 people disagreed

This means we agreed for the following reasons:

  • The views of NITV
  • We use Clarion Housing’s mutual exchange service



Did you know?

Join NITV Tenant Influence Panel

What is it?

Newcastle Independent Tenant Voice (NITV) is a new and genuine conversation between tenants, leaseholders, and the council on major issues of interest and concern to people living in Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) properties. Each of the 26,500 YHN tenant and leaseholders will be welcome and able to share their views on major policy changes using their independent voices.

Join us 

A QR code for the Tenant Influence application form


























Is this page useful?
Is this page useful?