This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Contracting out allocations

This content applies to England

How local authorities can contract out cerain of their allocation functions.

Authorities with no housing stock

All local housing authorities are required required to set up and maintain an allocations scheme under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996.

This applies equally to authorities that have transferred all or part of their housing stock to a private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH).

Contracting out of functions

Authorities can contract out most of their allocation functions to other organisations such as to a PRPSH.[1] This includes:

  • making enquiries and decisions as to whether a person qualifies for an allocation
  • operating the allocation scheme
  • carrying out reviews
  • providing information' advice and assistance to applicants.

The following functions cannot be contracted out:[2]

  • deciding which classes of persons are, or are not, qualifying persons
  • adopting or altering the allocation scheme, including the principles on which the scheme is framed, and consulting PRPSHs about the scheme
  • making the allocation scheme available for inspection at the authority's principal office.

Where allocation and homelessness functions have been delegated to a PRPSH or other external contractors (either voluntarily or under compulsory competitive tendering), the contractor must be made aware of the provisions of the Act and advised how the legislation and guidance may apply to them.

Similarly, where operational or administrative functions have been delegated or contracted out to new landlords after a large scale voluntary transfer or to PRPSHs, they too must be aware of the provisions of the Act and of the Code of Guidance.[3]

Decisions of a contractor can be reviewed or challenged in the same way as applies to local authorities.

Find details of local councils on Gov.uk.

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] Local Authorities (Contracting Out of Allocation of Housing and Homelessness Functions) Order 1996 SI 1996/3205; para 6.7 Allocation of accommodation: Guidance for local housing authorities in England, MHCLG, June 2012.

[2] Sch.1 Local authorities (Contracting Out etc.) Order 1996; para 6.6 Allocation of accommodation: Guidance for local housing authorities in England, MHCLG, June 2012.

[3] para 6.10 Allocation of accommodation: Guidance for local housing authorities in England, MHCLG, June 2012.

Back to top