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Strategy and Policy

The Council is the statutory housing authority for Orkney and has a duty, in partnership with other agencies, to make sure there is an adequate supply of housing for its citizens. It is required to prepare plans which set out clearly the extent of demand for housing, in the short and medium terms, and how that demand can best be addressed.

The Council is required by law to develop a Local Housing Strategy which is a local assessment of housing need and supply across all tenures. In addition, various other strategies are required by law, which effectively underpin the Local Housing Strategy. Other strategies are required because of specific housing issues which affect the local area and therefore are developed to help the Council meet housing need.

The following strategy and policy documents illustrate how the Council intends to deliver its housing services in Orkney. All documents are available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Strategy Documents (Alphabetical Order)

Advice and Information Strategy (2017 to 2021)

This covers the Council's approach to the provision of advice and information in relation to housing and includes close joint working with a range of partner agencies. The Council has a statutory duty to ensure housing advice is available free of charge in the local area. The main aim of the Advice and Information Strategy is to prevent homelessness wherever possible by ensuring good quality housing advice is available throughout Orkney.

Asset Management Strategy (under review)

The Asset Management Strategy sets out Orkney Islands Council’s Housing Services’ vision for managing its housing assets over the next five years.

Fuel Poverty Strategy (2017 to 2022)

The document sets out the Council’s priorities for dealing with fuel poverty in Orkney over the next 5 years. The strategy outlines the extent of the problem and the actions considered to be the most effective in improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock across all tenures.

Homelessness Strategy and Profile of Homelessness (2021 to 2026)

The Council is required by law to produce a Homelessness Strategy. In seeking to address this requirement the Council has produced a Profile of Homelessness which outlines the local issues in respect of homelessness and provides a wealth of statistical information. The Homelessness Strategy covers the Council's approach to the prevention of homelessness wherever this is possible and where homelessness cannot be avoided, its response to homelessness.

Currently the Homelessness Strategy and Profile of Homelessness are being reviewed and consultative drafts will be added to this section in due course.

Housing  Needs and Demand Assessment

The Housing Need and Demand Assessment (HNDA) - is the foundation of all strategic housing planning and is required for both the Local Housing Strategy (LHS) and the Local Development Plan (LDP).  It estimates the number of additional housing units to meet existing and future housing need and demand. It also captures information on the operation of the housing system to assist local authorities to develop policies on new housing supply, management of existing stock and the provision of housing related services.

Local Housing Strategy (2017 to 2022)

The Council is required by law to produce a Local Housing Strategy. This includes a detailed assessment of housing need across the local area and seeks to influence supply accordingly. The Local Housing Strategy is a detailed assessment of housing need which crosses all tenures and involves close joint working from a range of agencies.

Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (2019 to 2024)

The Council is required to produce a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) to assist the Scottish Government in its plans to eradicate homelessness. The RRTP should outline plans to reduce the time homeless households spend in temporary accommodation and aim to permanently rehouse homeless households as quickly as possible. The RRTP is updated annually.

Strategic Housing Investment Plan

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2022 - 2027 is Orkney’s five-year development plan for affordable housing provision. It is updated yearly in line with Scottish Government guidance. The SHIP forms part of the Local Housing Strategy (LHS) process. New build housing is developed by the Council, Orkney Housing Association Limited (OHAL), and the private sector. Affordable housing provision may be delivered by Scottish Government funding schemes including the main Affordable Housing Supply Programme, Help to Buy, Open Market Shared Equity and the Islands Housing Fund or via private sector provision.

Tenant Participation Strategy (2021 to 2026) (Consultative Draft)

The Council is required by law to produce a Tenant Participation Strategy. This considers how the Council will involve tenants and residents in matters which affect them including policy development and tenancy matters.

We must consult on our revised Tenant Participation Strategy and a consultation will open in autumn 2021.

Policy Documents (Alphabetical Order)

Accessibility Policy

This covers the Housing Service's means of ensuring that our services are accessible to all, whether physically or non-physically. This covers the provision of information in different languages and formats to ensure that everyone is able to access our services and there are no barriers due to English being a second language or due to any disability for example.

During 2021, the Housing Service is undertaking a significant review of its equalities policy in line with Scottish Government guidance around monitoring of equalities and human rights in housing. The revised policy is available below an an action plan for delivery is in place. Consequently, the accessibility policy is under review.

Affordable Housing Policy

This policy is part of the role the Council has in working with other agencies to meet housing need. This requires that where housing is being developed, a quota must be applied to the development so that a proportion of the development is affordable to those on lower incomes.

This policy is an integral part of Orkney's Local Development Plan. Currently our policy is under review.

Antisocial Behaviour Policy

Antisocial behaviour can be destructive and prevent people from being able to enjoy their homes. This policy outlines Housing Services approach to antisocial behaviour.

Asset Management Strategy (Repairs and Maintenance Policy)

This provides detailed information on repairs undertaken by the Council on its houses.

Equality and Diversity Policy

Housing Services is required to ensure that its services are available to all and that no discriminatory practices apply in respect of sex or marital status, racial grounds, disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin, or of other personal attributes, including beliefs or opinions such as religious beliefs or political opinions. This document covers the means by which Housing Services ensures that it does not discriminate in any way in the provision of its services.

During 2021, the Housing Service is undertaking a significant review of its equalities policy in line with Scottish Government guidance around monitoring of equalities and human rights in housing. The revised policy is available below and an action plan for delivery is in place.

Lettings Policy

The Council allocates its Council housing on the basis of housing need. This policy provides detailed information on that process. 

Policy on Pets

This policy outlines the Council’s position in relation to tenants wishing to keep pets within Council properties.

Prevention of Homelessness Policy

This policy outlines the Council's processes for trying to prevent homelessness in partnership with a range of other agencies.

Removal Grant Policy

This scheme allows Council tenants who no longer require a larger house to obtain financial assistance if they move to a smaller Council property.

Rent Arrears Policy

The Council is committed to collecting rent from its tenants as efficiently as possible and wishes to keep arrears to a minimum. This strategy covers the Council's approach to minimising rent arrears and outlines an efficient approach towards dealing with arrears where they do occur.

Rent Setting Policy

The Council sets its rents based on the size of the property, the area in which it is and various other criteria. This policy outlines the process of setting rents.

Repairs Policy

Please refer to the Asset Management Strategy. This provides detailed information on repairs undertaken by the Council on its houses.

Right to Repair Policy

The Right to Repair scheme relates to specific types of repair and includes tight timescales for delivery and compensation may apply in situations where timescales are not met. This policy outlines how the Council responds to repairs which fall within the criteria.

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