The concept and practice of 'enabling' local housing authorities.

AULAKH, Sundeep. (2002). The concept and practice of 'enabling' local housing authorities. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis examines the changing role of housing authorities within the wider context of the restructuring of the British welfare state. Between the years 1979 and 1997, four successive Conservative administrations attempted to eliminate the municipal ownership and management of the social housing sector. Central to this restructuring was the notion of 'enabling' and this crystallised the Conservatives' vision for the future role of housing authorities as non-providers. Instead, local authorities were expected to facilitate housing provision through the private or voluntary sectors. At the time this research began, it was clear that, whilst the magnitude of this reorientation of local government's traditional role generated significant discussion at the conceptual level, there remained a paucity of empirical research examining the actual practice of enabling at the local level. The research on which this thesis draws, therefore, helps to address the imbalance between the theorisation of enabling and detailed empirical work. It explores the way in which housing authorities have responded to the enabling challenge and the resultant implications this has for the delivery of housing services. In the UK, the conceptual discussion of enabling was most clearly articulated in the enabling typology developed by Leach et al. (1992) and this formed the theoretical underpinnings of the present study. A two-part research strategy was adopted in which, first, a postal survey was administered to 100 housing authorities. This provided a scientific sampling framework from which three case-study housing authorities were selected for the second part of the data collection. Here, qualitative interviews were undertaken with senior policy-makers from the housing departments and their housing association and voluntary sector 'partners'. There was variation between the three case-study authorities in their transition to the enabling role and, in this context, the prominent research findings are as follows. The analysis of the data gathered from the first case-study authority highlights the way in which resistance to change and institutional inertia prevented the housing department from shifting to the enabling role. Hence, it continued to operate according to the traditional role. In the other two case-study authorities, the research findings show: (a) the variation between central and local government in their interpretation of enabling, particularly in the context of the compulsory competitive tendering of housing management functions; (b) the shift towards partnership working and the way in which the housing authorities retained a dominant role amongst the plethora of agencies that are now involved in policy formation and service delivery; (c) the decline in direct provision was precipitating the 'reinvention' of new roles centred around 'community governance'; (d) the implications that all these developments had in relation to the internal organisational structure and management processes of the two authorities.In examining the practice of enabling housing authorities, this thesis contributes to an understanding of the way in which the wider role and function of local government has been restructured from its position under the post-war consensus.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Sykes, Robert
Thesis advisor - Senior, Paul
Thesis advisor - Furbey, Rob
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2002.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 11:26

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