NIPSA, the largest Public Service Union representing staff in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, welcomes the recent correspondence from Deirdre Hargey, Department for Communities Minister in response to a number of questions arising from the Northern Ireland Assembly announcement to revitalise the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
The primary concerns of NIPSA around the proposal to turn the NIHE Landlord Function into a Cooperative/Mutual model would mean it being privatised to enable it to borrow under current Office for National Statistics classifications.
Whilst the Minister in her correspondence dated the 19th of August 2021 has stated that specific models have not yet been agreed and there will be ongoing consultation and engagement going forward she has gone on to provide assurances that;
- “I will not consider any Privatisation options.”
- “I will ensure the guarantees and protections around the jobs terms and conditions and pensions of Housing Executive staff are included in the proposals that I bring back to the Executive.”
- The Minister also emphasised the importance of the Comprehensive Rental review required to inform the revitalisation programme and prioritised to ensure affordable and sustainable levels to support the future of Social Homes going forward.
NIPSA will continue to engage with the Department and the NIHE on all related matters arising and further welcomes the Minister’s commitment to “fully consult with tenants, staff and their representatives at the appropriate stages of the process.”
These assurances whilst welcome at this time will remain under scrutiny as we continue to await the further details in respect of future models that will deliver these and ensure the expertise of the NIHE is retained as the cornerstone for fair and equitable social housing in Northern Ireland.
Assistant Secretary (Acting)