Okay, so thanks to Barry McCaffrey of The Detail for the detailed commentary on the announcement of the reform of the Housing Executive of Northern Ireland. According to the notes to editors that comes with the publication of the Minister’s written statement, this measure was agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive on 13 December 2012.
We don’t have any detail of the discussion that followed, but you might say that it’s long reign as the only provider of public sector housing is almost at an end. As Barry notes:
NIHE will lose responsibility for managing housing benefit payments, potentially putting the jobs of 400 staff at risk.
But Mr McCausland’s announcement tomorrow morning is expected to also state that NIHE will be stripped of the body’s primary function: landlord for some 90,000 properties throughout Northern Ireland.
The Detail understands that the most likely result of that move will be for the property to be transferred over to at least five ‘super’ housing associations.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The reforms come in response to what the DUP Minister saw as poor management practice particularly in certain areas of Belfast. This will have the effect, presumably, of shortening the line of management and allowing what remains of the Executive to play a more strategic role in housing provision.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty