Social housing 2018-07-18T14:10:47+00:00

SOCIAL HOUSING

Local governments are the main actors for planning, management and delivery of social housing to the population in need.

Municipalities need to manage not only the social housing supply but also to further integrate it into the provision of public services and urban development. However, local governments while providing these assets for the community are not exempt from corruptive behaviours.

In fact, officials, if not well supervised, may allocate housing to individuals that are not eligible or may accept bribes for speeding up the application process to aid a third party.

Deploying transparency and open data projects, as risk mitigation tools, can positively impact the mechanism of housing allocation and foster integrity.

For the full application of these distributive practices, municipalities are required to present much more skilful processes and mechanisms for allocation of social housing, such as e-register, clear rules and criteria on who is eligible for social housing, high-quality standards during construction and its proper usage, etc.

INTEGRITY RISKS

An integrity risk assessment of management of housing may identify some or all of the following integrity risk factors (the list is not limited):

  • Officials allocate housing to an individual who is not eligible. Officials manipulate the points on the scoring system by which houses are allocated to aid a third party. Officials accept bribes in return for speeding up the progress of a candidate’s application and disrespect the order of applications and set priorities.

  • Officials collude with a tenant who sub-lets social housing to conceal the sub-letting, in exchange for an undue benefit.

  • Fraud in the collection of rent. Officials destroy records about the housing stock and tenancies to cover up for corruptive practices.

  • Officials exercise poor controls over reconstruction of social housing. Officials collude with constructors involved in reconstruction of social housing and accept lower quality work against bribes

  • Officials approve the right to buy applications from tenants shortly after being allocated a house, thereby enabling them to buy a property for cheaper.

RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

Following the risk assessment, the local government may consider the following risk management strategies as development points:

  • Introduce, implement and monitor policy/procedures to govern management of social housing. Align them with the relevant regulations and local priorities/social housing programs. Communicate them effectively. Train relevant personnel to raise competence and awareness (induction and continued training).

  • Provide clear and detailed criteria for allocation of housing. Ensure maximal transparency of the allocation of social housing: waiting lists, criteria, status of candidates, different options and costs, etc.

  • Develop and maintain a register of all the social housing held and rented out. Consider introducing e-register.

  • Implement clear and comprehensive procedures/ rules on transfer of property with appropriate criteria, terms and conditions, aligned with applicable regulations and municipal policies. Document adequately the transfer of property cases to leave an appropriate audit trail. Conduct regular random check-ups to ensure terms and conditions are followed.

  • Maintain high-quality standards during the construction and reconstruction of social housing. Adopt clear standards and enforce them both in terms of design and quality of construction. Ensure rigorous controls in construction/ reconstruction approval processes. Use external expertise as appropriate. Strengthen controls on payment of contractors’ claims.

  • Rotate officials involved in the rental processes, so that they take responsibility for different areas at different times, or ensure that they work in teams.

GUIDE TO CORRUPTION-FREE LOCAL GOVERNMENT