All reports 1. Governance Service receive draft report Name of GSO DPR. Date 24/01/13

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1 DELEGATED POWERS REPORT NO. SUBJECT: Closure of Cash Incentive Scheme Control sheet All of the following actions MUST be completed at each stage of the process and the signed and dated report MUST be passed to the Governance Service for publishing All reports 1. Governance Service receive draft report DPR 2. Governance Service cleared draft report as being constitutionally appropriate 3. Finance clearance obtained (report author to complete) 4. Staff and other resources issues clearance obtained 5. Strategic Procurement clearance obtained 6. Legal clearance obtained from (report author to complete) 7. Policy & Partnerships clearance obtained 8. Equalities & Diversity clearance obtained 9. The above process has been checked and verified by Director, Head of Service or Deputy 10. Signed & dated report, scanned or hard copy received by Governance Service for publishing 11. Report published by Governance Service to website Paul Frost Name of Finance officer Gary Hussein Name of Resource officer Date Name of SPO Kevin Bates Date 18/01/13 Name of Legal officer Steven Strange Name of P&P officer Andrew Nathan Date 17/01/13 Name of officer Andrew Nathan Date 17/01/13 Name Pam Wharfe Date 25/1/13 Paul Frost Date 28/1/13 Paul Frost Date 31/1/ Head of Service informed report is published Paul Frost Key decisions only: 1922 Date 31/01/ Expiry of call-in period Date 14. Report circulated for call-in purposes to Business Management OSC members & copied to Cabinet Members & Head of Service Date

2 ACTION TAKEN UNDER DELEGATED POWERS BY OFFICER IN CONSULTATION WITH CABINET MEMBER(S) (EXECUTIVE FUNCTION) Subject Officer taking decision Closure of Cash Incentive Scheme Director for Place Date of decision 28 January 2013 Date decision comes into effect Summary Officer Contributors Status (public or exempt) Wards affected Enclosures Reason for exemption from callin (if appropriate) Key decision 28 January 2013 This report recommends that, following a review, the Cash Incentive Scheme is closed. Chloe Horner- Housing Strategy and Business Improvement Manager Public None No Contact for further information: Chloe Horner- Housing Strategy and Business Improvement Manager Serial No. 1922

3 1. RELEVANT PREVIOUS DECISIONS 1.1 None 2. CORPORATE PRIORITIES AND POLICY CONSIDERATIONS 2.1 Many residents in the borough aspire to own their own home but house prices are very high locally. Maximising the affordable options available for residents wishing to own their home is a strategic objective in the Council s Housing Strategy 2010 to The Council supports routes to homeownership in a number of ways. These include maximising the supply of affordable homeownership units through the regeneration of the priority housing estates, and through promoting the statutory Right to Buy scheme for qualifying tenants. For the past 20 years the Council has also provided financial assistance to tenants wishing to leave their council home and purchase a home in private sector through the Cash Incentive Scheme (CIS). Barnet Homes Limited administers the CIS on behalf of the Council. 2.2 In April 2012 the Coalition Government increased the discount available to tenants exercising their Right to Buy to a maximum of 75,000 nationwide. Discounts were previously limited by caps set in secondary legislation. In Barnet and most of London and parts of the South East this was limited to 16,000 and this meant that many tenants could not afford to buy their home. Increasing the maximum discount makes Right to Buy a more viable option and there is an increased interest in the scheme from Barnet tenants. In view of this, the Council has untaken a review of the CIS. 3. RISK MANAGEMENT ISSUES 3.1 There is a risk that after closure of the CIS there will continue to be enquiries about the scheme from interested tenants and that they are prevented from achieving homeownership. This risk will be mitigated by promoting the other routes to homeownership which are the Right to Buy and shared ownership options. 3.2 I do not consider the issues involved are likely to raise significant levels of public concern or give rise to policy considerations as 4. EQUALITIES AND DIVERSITY ISSUES 4.1 Our data shows that residents living in social housing are more diverse and more likely to be vulnerable than the wider community. Analysis also shows that there are higher levels of deprivation and housing needs amongst some Black and Minority Ethnic communities in the borough. It is, therefore, important that the Council works effectively with Barnet Homes to improve services that support and empower vulnerable residents. 4.2 Under the Equality Act 2010, the Council and all other organisations exercising public functions on its behalf must have due regard to the need to: a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act; b) advance equality of opportunity between those with a protected characteristic and those without; c) promote good relations between those with a protected characteristic and those without. The protected characteristics referred to are: age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion

4 or belief; sex; sexual orientation. It also covers marriage and civil partnership with regard to eliminating discrimination. 4.3 The closure of the CIS will not adversely impact on particular groups. Council tenants will still be able to achieve homeownership through the Right to Buy scheme. This is available to all qualifying tenants and the qualification criteria is set out by law. 5. USE OF RESOURCES IMPLICATIONS (Finance, Procurement, Performance & Value for Money, Staffing, IT, Property, Sustainability) 5.1 Annual funding of 400,000 for the CIS is allocated from the capital programme of the Housing Revenue Account. This funding will no longer be required for the scheme. 5.2 There are no other resources implications. 6. LEGAL ISSUES 6.1 The Council is not required by law to provide a Cash Incentive Scheme. 7. CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS 7.1 The Constitution Part 3, Paragraph 6.1- Chief Officers can take decisions, in consultation with the Cabinet Member concerned, to discharge the functions allocated to them or dealt with by them or their staff. 8. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 8.1 For 20 years the Council has offered financial support to qualifying tenants to enable them to purchase a property in the private sector through the Cash Incentive Scheme (CIS). It is one of a number of homeownership routes available to residents. The CIS has helped free up family sized homes for re-letting to new families in housing need in addition to assisting tenants to secure homeownership. The CIS is operated by Barnet Homes and is funded through the Housing Revenue Account capital programme. The scheme has been reviewed during The CIS has been available to secure tenants with at least a two bedroom property in good condition. The cash incentive paid has been dependent on the number of bedrooms and the length of the tenancy: For tenancies of between two and five years and with two or more bedrooms For tenancies longer than five years with two bedrooms For tenancies longer than five years with three or more bedrooms 8.3 The scheme has released 43 properties in the last three years at a total cost of 1.2m, with an average payment of 28,000 per property made available for reletting. During 2011/12 financial year 15 households benefited from the CIS scheme. The properties released comprised four 3 bedroom houses, three 2 bedroom houses, one 3 bedroom flat and seven 2 bedroom flats. The majority of the properties released were in the east of the borough. The average value of the properties purchased by the participating tenants was 196,000. Two of the

5 properties were valued at 320,000 and one as low as 49,000. Only two purchasers stayed in the borough. 8.4 The CIS scheme has helped the council to make good use of the existing housing stock by freeing up properties for re-letting to households in need. An alternative approach is through tenancy fraud detection. In 2011/12 the tenancy fraud team recovered 19 properties for an initial investment of 72,000 including one off startup funding. This equates to 3,800 per property made available and is substantially lower than the cost of releasing a property through CIS. In addition, tenancy fraud work also generated savings including future payments of over 30,000 of home-loss payments and the detection of cases of potential housing benefit fraud. 8.5 As an alternative to CIS, Council tenants meeting the relevant criteria are able to exercise the Right to Buy and purchase their current home at a discount. In Barnet and most of London and parts of the South East this was limited to 16,000 and this meant that many tenants could not afford to buy their home through this scheme because of high property prices. The recent change to the regulations more than quadruples the cap to 75,000. Therefore, more tenants will be able to afford to purchase their home through this route and there has already been an increase in the number of applications to the scheme. 8.6 The capital receipts from the additional sales from the increased discounts on the renewed Right to Buy scheme are to be used to provide new replacement affordable housing. 8.7 The review has established that it is more cost effective to close the CIS and to use the funding to maximise the number of properties released through tenancy fraud detection and top up Right to Buy receipts and support the one for one replacement of sold properties. 9. LIST OF BACKGROUND PAPERS 9.1 None 10. CONSULTATION WITH CABINET MEMBER(S) 10.1 The Cabinet Member for Housing has been consulted and has agreed with this decision. 11. OFFICER S DECISION I authorise the following action: 11.1 Instruct Barnet Homes to close the Cash Incentive Scheme with immediate effect. Signed Director for Place Date 28 January 2013

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