The development and operation of large scale voluntary transfer associations 1988-1999
This thesis examines the development by local authorities of alternative models of ownership of public housing, focusing on large scale voluntary transfers (LSVTs) to specially created housing associations. I attempt to place stock transfer within the wider policy context of changes in the State’s role in the provision of services; and changes in organisational development, reflected in transfer structures; and the wider shift in responsibility for the delivery of public services to the private sector. I examine theories that explain the development of the State’s role in housing and discuss their relationship to LSVT. As discussions involving ‘the State’ must recognise the different interests and motivations of Central and local government, I examine action taken to promote and achieve stock transfer by local authorities and central government. The research method adopted to achieve my aims includes both analysis of existing data and the collection of new data through a sample survey of twenty LSVT associations. I approached the research in five stages: background research – including reviewing literature and examining the legal and regulatory framework for LSVT; identifying the characteristics of early LSVT associations; selecting a sample of twenty selected associations for in-depth survey; conducting in-depth interviews with the twenty associations; analysing and tabulating the data collected and drawing conclusions. The survey focuses on staff perceptions of the reasons for transfer and why politicians and tenants accepted the change; organisational and management change brought about by the new landlords; and the changes brought about by private sector involvement, including new personnel brought in to help run the organisations and the influence of private funders. I attempt to draw key conclusions about LSVT associations from the evidence presented. Finally, I examine how early LSVTs paved the way for a wider stock transfer programme, including transfers by inner-urban authorities and large city councils. I argue that while LSVT may have been developed in response to the financial pressure upon local authorities from the early 1980s onwards, the process has created a new style of business orientated social landlord.