Councillors have agreed changes to Aberdeenshire council’s housing allocation policy.
Members of the council’s Social Work and Housing Committee approved a move away from the current points based system to a banding system which will be more transparent and easier for applicants to understand.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee Cllr Karen Clark said: “The existing points based allocation policy has been difficult for some applicants to understand and has led to confusion in terms of priority for housing.
“Under the new approach, applications will be assessed and allocated to a priority banding, dependent on their objectively assessed housing need.
“Allocations will be made to each priority banding but will be weighted in favour of the groups with the highest need. This will also assist with the prioritisation of applications and the subsequent allocations to vulnerable groups.”
Changes to the existing policy include an additional priority for applicants who currently live within Aberdeenshire; a reduction in the minimum number of areas people have to select from five to one; members of the armed services being allocated a local connection; priority whether they have an established local connection or not, and the introduction of a more flexible size criteria for the allocation of property sizes to accommodate forthcoming Welfare Reform changes.
The current housing allocation policy has been in operation since 2007. An extensive consultation took place last year including seeking views from the six Area Committees. Consultation with key stakeholders was also completed between December and January which included an on-line questionnaire for responses on each of the proposed amendments. Only 13% of respondents indicated that they did not agree with the proposed amendments in overall terms.