Dáil Éireann - Volume 498 - 09 December, 1998
Written Answers. - Local Authority Housing.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
220. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will report on strategies outlined for the introduction of measures to encourage tenant participation in estate management and community based initiatives to encourage participative democracy and community development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26999/98]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy) Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy)
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy): The development of effective measures for the management of their housing estates, including arrangements to facilitate tenant participation, is the responsibility of local authorities.
In view of the importance attached to tenant participation in estate management, a number of initiatives have been taken by my Department. Each housing authority is required to have a statement of policy that sets out, inter alia, its policy on involving tenants in the management of their estates. Authorities have been requested to  implement a programme of tenant development and information courses in order to secure better cooperation with residents and to promote a good community spirit in housing estates. Best practice guidelines in key areas of housing management, including tenant participation, were prepared by the housing management group. Regional workshops were organised to promote the implementation of the guidelines throughout the country together with a workshop for city and county managers to secure their commitment for early implementation.
The housing management initiatives grants scheme was introduced in 1995 to provide assistance to local authorities and other bodies for practical pilot projects in housing management. To date, many of the projects have focused on tenant or staff training for participation in estate management. The allocation for the scheme this year is £200,000 and a further £200,000 is being provided in 1999.
My Department participates in a number of cross departmental initiatives which impact on the area of estate management and has also co-operated with Area Development Management Ltd., in the development and implementation of a “training for trainers” course in estate management. Financial support has been provided to the voluntary housing body Respond! towards the development of the certificate course in housing and community studies, the major element of which relates to tenant participation in estate management.
The housing unit, funded by my Department and local authorities for a three year period, has been established in the Institute of Public Administration. The purpose of the new unit is to assist local authorities to deliver a more responsive housing service and to develop a more effective approach to housing management with an emphasis on tenant involvement. A broadly based consultative committee is in place to provide advice and guidance and to oversee the implementation of the work programme. Membership of the committee comprises representatives of local authorities, the voluntary sector, tenants and a local authority elected member.
I also refer the Deputy to the reply to Question No. 219 on today's Order Paper.
Dáil Éireann 498 Written Answers. Local Authority Housing.