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Policy

A new consultation on the future of tenant participation in the social rented sector is due to be released in January 2015. Tenant participation is just one element of the overall package of possible reforms of the social rented sector which is currently being looked at. The other main reform areas being considered are:

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Social Tenancies, Policy, NI Assembly

Earlier this week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a number of new measures which aim to minimise the impact of payday loan charges on borrowers.

From 2nd January 2015:

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Policy, Affordability

The Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey, has announced that the proposed transfer of housing functions from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Department of Social Development to the new councils will not happen until 1st April 2016.

The original Housing and Regeneration Bill proposed a number of housing functions were to be transfered to the 11 new councils from 1st April 2015.  However, due to delays this Bill never materialised.

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Policy, NI Assembly
 
We've storified some of the highlights from our Bigger & Better conference so those of you who weren't able to attend can see some of what you missed.  
 

Conference highlights #prsplus

 

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, Policy

Over 100 delegates attended a packed conference held in Belfast on the 6th November that was aimed to open debate on how the Northern Ireland private rented sector (PRS) can genuinely offer a more viable and attractive longer-term tenure option. The audience, made up of government officials, advice workers, academics, landlords and tenants, heard from speakers across the UK and Ireland.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Private tenants have, for the first time, published proposals for improving rented accommodation in Northern Ireland. The Private Tenants’ Forum has produced an ‘Agenda for Action’ which sets out 8 practical ways to improve rented accommodation in Northern Ireland.

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, Policy

Campaigners, representing the 106 organisations that provide services under the Supporting People programme, are calling on MLAs to commit to continuing these services for vulnerable people.

Pictured with Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA are Michael Abiona (NIACRO service user), Patricia Hyde, Declan O’Neill and Alex Patterson (Triangle), and  Moira McKeown (NIACRO).

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Policy, NI Assembly

Response to the public consultation on the introduction of a Statutory Registration Scheme for all Providers of Publicly Funded Legal Services in Northern Ireland

As a voluntary sector organisation which provides legal aid services and participated in the pilot review of the Registration Scheme, we have a number of particular concerns which are detailed in this response. Be that as it may, we nevertheless support the introduction of the proposed scheme and the intention to be inclusive and comprehensive. The need to avoid conflicts of interest by separating the roles of regulation and representation held by professional bodies and introducing an independent oversight of publicly funded legal aid services has been recognised in successive reviews and we note that the proposals are not intended to supersede the roles of the professional bodies, such as the Law Society and Bar Council, which regulate the work of the legal profession.

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Policy

Housing Rights Service played host to the Committee for Social Development today.  During the meeting, Dr Heloise Brown and Paul Price from the Department of Social Development (DSD) summarised public responses to recent proposals to reform the allocation system for social housing and answered members' questions on this issue. 

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Research, Social Tenancies, Policy, NI Assembly

The DUP has proposed a new fund to help those transitioning from Disability Living Allowance on to the new Personal Independence Payment.  

First Minister Peter Robinson has put the party’s proposals to Secretary of State Teresa Villiers.   Mr Robinson believes that these measures will mean many of the most vulnerable people in Northern Ireland will “come out of the transfer to PIP with the same level of payments or better off."

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy, NI Assembly

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