Now that it’s the silly season and there’s not much happening out there, there’s an opportunity to reflect on what’s not happening with the Code of Guidance on Choice-Based Lettings, or more accurately, why it hasn’t been issued. Is CLG on the naughty step?
The last Code on allocations was issued in November 2002 in the wake of the Homelessness Act but so much has happened since – allocations have gone regional, there’s been talk of a pan-London allocations scheme, loads more cash has been thrown at CBL, there are concerns about the effect of CBL on vulnerable households, and then there’s accessible housing registers (don’t start me). That’s not mentioning law stuff like the impact of the DDA, the various JRs (with Locata schemes causing problems), and possible contracting out complications.
Last January, CLG issued a draft Code on CBL which was pretty anodyne really but did draw attention to some of the developments (eg regional allocations). We’ve been told since that the new code is just a couple of weeks away from publication but that excuse is wearing a bit thin. I have a degree of empathy with the CBL acolytes and those running these schemes, who are developing them in something of a wasteland of government guidance. My sources (they who must not be named) tell me that a plot is being hatched to amend Part 6 of the 1996 Act and possibly also Part 7. Perhaps that’s what is keeping the Code unpublished; perhaps they’re waiting for Ahmad (NL note on Ahmad here) to be decided by the HL (it’s not being heard until next January). There’s endless possible speculation and scope for conspiracy theory. It would be nice to be told, even if it were by means of a transparent envelope held by the housing minister while taking a photo opportunity.