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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Policy & Research

Our policy work is based on the experiences of people who contact us for advice. We work on their behalf to secure positive changes to housing legislation, policy and practice in Northern Ireland. You can read more about what we are striving to achieve in the coming year by downloading our policy priorities.

Below, you will find copies of policy briefings, consultation responses and research papers that Housing Rights has produced recently.

Housing Rights Response to Scope of Legal Aid

Housing Rights believes that access to justice is paramount in any democracy.  The consultation paper sets out the cost of some of the areas which are proposed to be removed from Legal Aid and Advice (Green Form). Those areas which cover housing related issues, which HRS would be concerned with, amount to a small percentage of the overall Green Form expenditure. Despite it being a small proportion of the overall expenditure, removing such funding could have a devastating effect on the lives of people who potentially need this assistance. Therefore, we strongly feel that the funding of housing related cases should be protected.

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Policy, Equality, Legal

Briefing on the Housing Health and Safety Standard

Housing Rights Service has produced a briefing paper on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) as a means for determining the fitness of residential properties in Northern Ireland. Although the levels of unfitness in NI have fallen over the last number of years, the standard by which fitness is measured is of a very basic level meaning that many properties whilst passing the fitness standard may still be viewed as unsuitable for living in. 

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Fitness

Response to A Strategy for the Delivery of Generalist Advice Services in Northern

Housing Rights Service has recently responded to a DSD consultation on  ‘A Strategy for the Delivery of Generalist Advice Services in Northern Ireland 2015 – 2020’.  We feel that any future changes to the work, organisation and administration of the generalist advice sector has the potential to impact on the day-to-day work of specialist agencies such as Housing Rights Service. Over 70% of our clients are already referred to us by another agency. Any change in their resources will also have an effect on the demand for HRS.

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Practical tips, Policy, NI Assembly

Response to Access to Justice Review

Access to justice is widely accepted as a cornerstone of democracy and a vital ingredient in protecting weak and vulnerable citizens. Housing Rights Service therefore welcomes the opportunity of responding to this consultation paper. As a voluntary sector organisation which provides legal aid services and contributed to the consultation on the Access to Justice Review, we have a number of particular concerns which are detailed in this response. Given the nature of our work, our comments are largely confined to the area of civil legal services.

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Policy

Response to the public consultation on the introduction of a Statutory Registration Scheme for all Providers of Publicly Funded Legal Services in Northern Ireland

As a voluntary sector organisation which provides legal aid services and participated in the pilot review of the Registration Scheme, we have a number of particular concerns which are detailed in this response. Be that as it may, we nevertheless support the introduction of the proposed scheme and the intention to be inclusive and comprehensive. The need to avoid conflicts of interest by separating the roles of regulation and representation held by professional bodies and introducing an independent oversight of publicly funded legal aid services has been recognised in successive reviews and we note that the proposals are not intended to supersede the roles of the professional bodies, such as the Law Society and Bar Council, which regulate the work of the legal profession.

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Policy

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