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Bid to cut council house waiting list

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:47 01 August 2010

A NEW computerised system will be introduced later this year in a bid to cut the waiting list for council homes in Waveney.

There are currently about 4,500 households on Waveney District Council's waiting list, but now the authority is joining a new scheme which should streamline the application and bidding process.

A NEW computerised system will be introduced later this year in a bid to cut the waiting list for council homes in Waveney.

There are currently about 4,500 households on Waveney District Council's waiting list, but now the authority is joining a new scheme which should streamline the application and bidding process.

The council's cabinet has decided to join a lettings programme called Homechoice, which is already used in many other parts of Suffolk, rather than using the Homeselect system which it currently operates with Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

It is hoped that Homechoice, which involves online applications, tracking and bidding, will cut out some of the administration and make applying for a local authority home easier for those who are in need.

Robert Prince, the council's head of environment and housing, said: “The new system will be very similar, but the current one involves filling in a long and detailed 36-page form and then additional paperwork if the household has special factors to consider such as medical issues.

“That form then has to be processed electronically, so that whole application takes quite a long time and people then have to wait to see a property advertised which they are interested in before bidding for it.

“With the new system, there's no complex form. The application will be online, people know straight away that they've registered and they can track their progress and look at the property list there and then. As well as being easier, it will save the council time and money.”

Special measures will be put in place for vulnerable people and those without internet access, and everyone in a council property or on the waiting list will be informed of the changes before they come into place as everyone will have to reapply.

He said: “Housing waiting lists all round the UK are growing all the time and ours has grown from a stable 1,800 some time ago to about 4,500 households.

“Some of that need is probably not there any more if people have found alternatives, so we're sure that through reapplication into the new system, our list will reduce. A lot of people in the past put their names down on these lists as security with a long-term vision of one day getting a local authority home, but that is no longer realistic.”

A formal consultation about the changes will take place later in the summer, after which online applications for the new system will start. It is hoped that the scheme will be up and running in the New Year.

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