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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

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    What is CIH doing?

    The Welfare Reform Act 2012 will bring about the greatest changes to welfare benefits in the last sixty years.

    Under Occupation

    CIH provide guidance to help social landlords tackle under occupancy in preparation for the new penalties introduced by welfare reform;

    Welfare Reform Impact Tool

    Any tenant who is currently in receipt of housing benefit is at risk of having the amount they receive reduced. As a landlord, either social or private, this may mean that you too could be at risk from tenants who fall short of paying their full rent.

    The Welfare Reform Impact Tool will aid social landlords in calculating exactly how Welfare Reform will affect them and will:

    • Estimate the amount your tenants are at risk of losing in housing benefit
    • Tracks the possible impact on future arrears and costs to your organisation additional transaction charges
    • Takes into account the key proposed reforms and regional variables and gives accurate calculations by district
    • Allows you to plan and make informed decisions for your business
    • Is updated as the detail of welfare reform unfolds


    CIH NI provide ongoing Welfare Reform seminars for housing Board members in association with NIFHA.

    Welfare reform presents a sizeable risk to the finances of housing associations. Under occupancy charges, direct payments and universal credit will all increase arrears and undermine the financial viability of many organisations. Board members need to ensure they identify and manage this risk effectively.

    In our seminars, CIH and NIFHA will guide you through the changes and challenges ahead, helping you identify:

    • How will this affect my organisation?
    • What questions should I be asking of staff?
    • What are other organisations doing to address and reduce the risks?
    • What support is available to help us?

    You will be introduced to practical tools that can help and support you as a Board.

    The benefits of attending include:

  • Ensure you are up to date with forthcoming changes brought by welfare reform
  • Understand the financial implications for your organisation
  • Clarify the board's responsibility for managing financial risk
  • Access practical tools, support and guidance for your board.

  • Welfare Reform Checklist

    CIH NI provide a checklist to identify if landlords are prepared for welfare reform changes Welfare Reform Checklist.  CIH NI have created the welfare reform checklist to help you prepare for the changes in welfare reform.  The checklist will ensure you have made an appropriate action plan to adhere to and will cover key areas that your organisation should be focussing on.

    NI Assembly

    CIH is the only professional organisation representing all those working in housing. Our purpose is to maximise the contribution that housing professionals make to the well being of communities. This response draws on the experience and expertise of members and officers across CIH, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Our comments on the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill have been informed by CIH’s expert on housing benefit, Sam Lister, who has published a number of papers on welfare reform (available from the CIH website).

    Sam is also the co-author of the respected Guide to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit 2012-13 and previous editions.

    This briefing focuses primarily on the housing related elements of the Bill. We have, however, included some comments outside of specific clauses in the Bill.

    Evidence to the Committee for Social Development on the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill on 19 October 2012

    On 31st October 2012, CIH NI gave oral evidence to the Committee for Social Development at Stormont.  CIH NI is part of the Housing Policy Forum, which is made of housing professionals from various housing organisations across the sector, including Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland, Housing Rights Service and NIFHA. 

    Oral evidence in conjunction with HRS, CHNI and NIFHA to the Committee for Social Development on the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill on 31 October 2012.

    7)   CIH NI engaged with the Social Security Agency as part of a stakeholder event on Flexible Payment Arrangements for the local delivery of Universal Credit in November.


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