7 Oct 2019

The Minister for Housing and Local Government has told the third sector she is keen to look at barriers to implementation of innovative models of community housing.

In a meeting with the third sector group on housing and local government, Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government, heard a paper from the sector on innovative models of community housing. The paper highlighted frustrations about being unable to scale up successful innovative housing models, access to affordable land, and better use of Community Asset Transfer legislation. The Minister said she was keen to hear more about these barriers. The group also discussed how best to make social housing more accessible.

Then the Minister heard a paper on the Human Right to Housing, which asked Welsh Government to adopt a rights-based approach to housing to address issues around homelessness, accessibility and affordability. The Minister was positive about this, but noted that Welsh Government is short of legislative time due to Brexit and, if the idea were adopted, it would most likely have to be a manifesto commitment ahead of the next Assembly election.

Finally, in a discussion on coproduction, the Minister told the group about the upcoming Local Government Bill, which will repeal the 2011 regulations and replace them with a peer review approach, using citizen involvement and coproduction. The Bill will bring into being Corporate Joint Committees that collaborate in regional groupings on a number of subjects. Local Authorities will be asked to propose groups to carry out these aspects of regional working.

John Puzey, Director of Shelter Cymru, said: 'Housing affects people's lives in so many different ways. When we started looking at the possibility of incorporating a right to a home into law we got support from a range of stakeholders. For instance, it would improve the options and possibilities for people with disabilities, or women who have suffered violence. There are a whole range of different cases.

'There is a sense of urgency in trying to get the right to a home embedded in Welsh law.'

Noreen Blanluet, Director of the Coproduction Network for Wales, said: 'We're excited about the potential of the new Local Government Bill with regard to citizen involvement and coproduction, and are looking forward to seeing the draft.'