Ministers believe it is right to move to this new and fairer system as soon as possible, so that authorities can take account of the changes when completing their stock options appraisals. The consultation paper is accompanied by a sister document, Revised Formulae for the Allocation of Management and Maintenance Allowances within HRA Subsidy, which sets out the evidence for the new approach, and gives the technical details of the new formulae including worked examples.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, Ministers propose that the new approach to calculating the allowances should be adopted for 2004-2005 and later years. After other factors are added in, a ‘sub-target’ is produced for each of these three types of maintenance, which are summed to give the target prior to regional cost adjustments.
Instead, there is recognition that all authorities have a certain level of fixed costs, no matter how few dwellings they have. Subject to enactment of the Local Government Bill currently before Parliament, subsidy for rent rebates will cease to be part of HRA subsidy for 2004-2005 and later years, and a new pooling mechanism will be introduced to effect the redistribution of assumed surpluses to authorities with an assumed deficit.
Having determined how big the national pot should be in the relevant Spending Review, M&M distribution formulae share out the available resources for management and maintenance, investment property depreciation taking account of relative need including geographical cost variations. There is increased emphasis for instance on tackling deprivation following the work of Policy Action Team 5 and tackling anti-social behaviour.
Leadership, through trustees’/management understands of relevant issues and their own behavior, is essential in promoting and demonstrating the commitment to the approach being taken. Composition of the board should be reviewed and, as appropriate, ways identified to improve underrepresentation of people from local BME communities and other equality groups. Monitoring and evaluation should be a key part of your equality and diversity approach. A review and evaluation of your equality/diversity approach should be carried out once a year, with the active involvement of the trustee board. Collecting and reporting on monitoring data will also form part of the evaluation system.
The concept of monitoring is now well established among housing associations of all sizes. In larger organizations staff and resident attitude surveys can provide a way of checking views on specific issues, including equal opportunity and organizational culture; Reports should be produced on the monitoring results and fed into further policy development as required.
Any gaps identified should be considered and steps taken to fill them, as appropriate. Ideally, summaries should also be available to staff and also, where appropriate, other stakeholders and residents; Overall monitoring and evaluation is a key part of your equality and diversity approach and monitoring information should be analyzed to assess the progress of diversity in the organization and identify potential areas for improvement. It may also be useful to compare the profile with other similar organizations, rental property depreciation ato with the local community and with national statistics, to put the profile you have built up into context; Targets are not a form of positive discrimination, but a mechanism for helping you assess your staff and resident profile.
Targeting is a useful way of assessing whether you are succeeding in reflecting the local communities in respect of your staffing and/or residents. Where gaps are identified, a number of steps can be taken including, for example, reaching out to wider communities via advertising, using networks and taking steps to attract those communities who are under-represented in the organization. Developing an equality and diversity strategy and approach involves taking a number of practical steps to ensure that the agreed concept of equality and diversity is delivered in practice; Promoting equality and diversity needs to be taken to the core of the organization, whatever its size. Whenever possible, a basic review and assessment on where the organization is on equality/diversity should be carried out, again taking account of the size of the organization.