Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government

Policy Statement

To promote well-being by ensuring that people have adequate housing and that they live in supportive communities.  And that they have an appropriate degree of say in what affects their lives.  We will ensure that the arrangements for all levels of Government below National are appropriate.  We will monitor the effectiveness of all communities in promoting well-being and take steps to improve where appropriate.

Performance Reporting

An annual report on the numbers of people living in various grades of housing, with an annual review of well-being by types of community together with initiatives taken and planned to improve.

Strategic Initiatives

Reform local and regional government

We have significant problems with London-centricity – regional issues being less than fully understood and prioritised and disengagement of voters in the regions.  However, although this is important, no changes can be made in the first 5 years because the country will need to absorb the impact of the other changes we plan to make before it will be possible to determine preferences for local and regional government.

5 years:  A major research programme will collect and analyse information from annual reports and elsewhere on attitudes to local and regional government and various possibilities for reform.  Proposals for a reform project – which might involve one or more referendums – will be published before the 2025 election.

Resolve all gender issues

As a society we have been working for several decades to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage due to gender and sexuality.  We now need finally to resolve all such issues.

We do not anticipate much opposition to such measures – we just need to identify the issues and deal with them thoroughly.  We would expect to find, for example, that sex education, contraception and career opportunities for young women would cut down unwanted pregnancies and consequently the prison population 25 years later.

100 days:  We will assemble a project team and commission an initial study

1 year:  We will receive the initial report and set terms of reference for the major project to eliminate all discrimination over a number of years.

5 years and longer term:  We will set a strategy and implement it.

Make provision for the homeless and unacceptably housed

It is a stain on the nation’s character that anyone, let alone thousands of people, sleep on the streets every night.  We have to deal with that quickly.  After that we have chaotic provision of public and private housing with no clear aims or policy.  It will take some time to address but we’ll start at the beginning, work through the middle and get to the end.

100 days:  We will commission a data collection exercise to ascertain the size and nature of the problems.

1 year:  We will prepare and begin to implement a short-term plan to make provision for homeless people.  This might, for example, involve building hostels with decent one room accommodation, bathrooms and a canteen

5 years:  We will set accommodation standards and, in conjunction with work on the benefits system (see Department for Work and Pensions), ensure that no-one lives below a baseline.  We will complete the provision for homeless people and turn our attention to poor quality accommodation.  We will set up a process of continual improvement – periodic surveys to determine where the issues lie and action to address them.

Improve standardisation in building

We already set a lot of standards for the building industry and this is reasonable since consumers typically are not in a position to check quality before purchase.  However we do not do as much as some other countries, the USA in particular, to reduce costs by standardising components and systems.

1 year:  We will investigate the approach taken by other countries to cost reduction through standardisation

5 years:  We will then address initiatives arising from review

Set up the annual report – living conditions

The required annual report has two elements.  First to be implemented will be on numbers of people living in various categories of housing by quality.

1 year:  We will define standards of housing (probably in relation to Council Tax bands)

5 years:  We will then implement data collection and reporting

Complete the annual report – analysis of well-being and the roles of communities

The second element of the annual report, on well-being by different types of community, will be part of the all of Government report on well-being (see Cabinet Office) analysing causes of low well-being in communities and identifying initiatives to improve

100 days:  We will commission an early study to determine the structure and format of the report and the processes we will employ together with a pilot study to identify some early initiatives

Year 1: When the initial findings are in we will implement the reporting and work on the early initiatives.

5 years:  We will then continue the annual process.

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