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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 13/11/2001
HOUSING SERVICE: EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES MONITORING



This report summarises the Housing Authority’s duty to promote equality of opportunity and provides monitoring information about housing applications in 2000/01 in relation to race, gender and disability.

There are no resource or environmental implications arising from this report. There are clear “equal opportunities for all” implications since the Council is working to achieve equality of opportunity in relation to access to housing and related services for all sections of the community.
APPENDIX S

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 13TH NOVEMBER 2001



Title:
HOUSING SERVICE: EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES MONITORING
[Wards Affected: All]


Summary and Purpose

This report summarises the Housing Authority’s duty to promote equality of opportunity and provides monitoring information about housing applications in 2000/01 in relation to race, gender and disability.

There are no resource or environmental implications arising from this report. There are clear “equal opportunities for all” implications since the Council is working to achieve equality of opportunity in relation to access to housing and related services for all sections of the community.



Introduction

1. Compliance with the Commission for Racial Equality’s (CRE) Code of Practice in Rented Housing is one of the Audit Commission’s performance indicators for the housing service. The Code recommends that ethnic origin monitoring is carried out and the results reported to a Committee of the Council. This report relates to the period 1st April 2000 to 31st March 2001.

Background

2. The Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA) makes it unlawful for housing organisations to discriminate, either directly or indirectly, on racial grounds in the letting and managing of property and any services associated with those functions such as repairs and advice.

3. The law specifies that the following may constitute discrimination:-


4. Furthermore, the Housing Act 1988 gave the CRE authority to produce a Code of Practice in Rented Housing. It provides an interpretation of the RRA and gives examples of good practice in the implementation and promotion of equality of opportunity.

5. The Human Rights Act 1998, which took effect in October 2000, incorporates some provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Article 14 provides for people not to be subject to discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, birth or other status.

6. Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, authorities have responsibilities not to discriminate, either directly or indirectly, in the provision of goods, facilities and services by treating a person less favourably than another on the grounds of their gender.

7. Landlords have responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act not to discriminate against disabled people. A Disability Rights Commission has been set up, which mirrors the role of the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The Population of Waverley

8. The 1991 Census showed that Waverley Borough had a population of 113,212. 52% of the population were women, 48% were men. Only 2.6% was made up of ethnic minority grounds, including people of Irish origin.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

9. Each applicant for housing is sent a monitoring form which asks them to classify their colour, ethnic origin, sex and whether or not they are registered disabled. Completion is voluntary, but people are encouraged to complete the form to help the Council measure its performance in providing equality of opportunity in housing services. The form is attached as Annexe 1.

10. Analysis of the monitoring forms completed in 2000/01 show that 2.5% of applications were from ethnic minority groups. This is in line with the Borough’s ethnic minority population (2.6%). The number of new tenancies granted to ethnic minority households is lower at only 0.9%. However, this should be offset against the fact that 65% of new tenancies were granted to people of undeclared ethnic origin and because of the nature of the Council’s housing stock, a significant number of lettings were made to elderly households who tend to be of British origin.

11. Analysis of the monitoring forms also shows that 1% of applicants indicated that they were registered disabled. Of these, 50% were granted new tenancies within the year. The Disability Discrimination Act states that a person has a disability “if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities”. There is no direct comparison with the census figure for 1991.

12. The statistics for gender relate to all applications to the Housing Needs Register in 2000/01. People provided this information within their application form rather than from the equal opportunities monitoring form, where completion is optional.


Applications Received New Tenancies Granted

Men 47% Men 38%

Women 53% Women 62%

The percentages for new tenancies granted obviously exclude joint tenancies. The percentages of applications received from men and women almost exactly matches the 1991 census figures for the Borough’s population.

Conclusion

13. This is only the second year that equal opportunities monitoring information has been reported to the Council’s Committee system and it is perhaps too soon to draw significant conclusions from the data. With the passage of time, the database of monitoring information will become larger and clearer trends should emerge in the ethnicity, gender and disability profile of people who are housed by the Council. The resultant information will enable the Council to measure its progress towards ensuring equality of opportunity in housing services.

Recommendation

It is recommended that this report be endorsed.



Background Papers (DoH)

Code of Practice in Rented Housing (published by the Commission for Racial Equality 1991)



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr Laurie Priebe Telephone: 01483 523013
E-mail: lpriebe@waverley.gov.uk