Access to Justice: Welsh Social Housing & Homelessness

PARTICIPANT INFORMATION
Before you decide whether or not to complete this questionnaire it is important for you to understand why the project is being done and what it involves. This study seeks your views about access to justice and dispute resolution in the social housing and homelessness sector in Wales. You have been invited to complete the questionnaire as you have been identified as working in the housing sector in Wales or a role associated with that sector. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part.
 
You are invited to fill in the questionnaire which should take about 15 minutes. You can refuse to answer any of the questions. The information you share will be treated in confidence. Your responses will not be shared in any way that can be linked to you as an individual or to your institution. The findings from this study will eventually be published in a Report to the funder (the Nuffield Foundation) and in various other academic articles, blog posts, contributions to conferences and consultations such as Law Commission and Committees of the National Assembly for Wales. You will not be individually identified in any reports or publications, but the right is reserved to use any quotes that you include in the free text boxes. The project is being organised by Dr. Sarah Nason (s.nason@bangor.ac.uk) and Dr Helen Taylor (htaylor@cardiffmet.ac.uk) if you have any concerns about the project you can contact Professor Dermot Cahill (Head of Bangor Law School) via Becky Jones (Becky.Jones@bangor.ac.uk Tel: 01248 382907).

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* 1. By completing this questionnaire I agree for my anonymised responses to be used for research purposes in the School of Law at Bangor University. By completing and submitting this questionnaire, I consent for the information it contains to be used in the ways set out in the participant information above. If you tick no, please do not answer any further questions and exit this questionnaire.

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* 2. Which option best describes your current, or most recent employment?

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* 3. This question asks in your current or most recent employment, how often have you been involved (e.g., as decision-maker, adviser, complainant, litigant or other participant) in particular methods of dispute resolution: which of the answers below most closely describes how often you have been involved in each method?

  Daily Weekly Monthly  Once or twice in a year In some years Never 
Informal resolution of a social housing/homelessness issue by a local authority or social housing provider 
Local authority or housing association formal complaint process 
A request from a tenant for a statutory reconsideration of a local authority or housing association decision 
A request for statutory review of a homelessness or homelessness prevention duty 
County court possession proceedings 
Judicial review 
Complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

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* 4. This question asks for your views about the redress routes people can use to challenge decisions with which they are dissatisfied. To what extent do you agree with the following statements? 

  Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree  Disagree Strongly Disagree 
Routes to challenging decisions about homelessness and homelessness prevention duties are clear
Routes to challenging decisions about homelessness and homelessness prevention duties are accessible
Routes to challenging decisions about social housing allocation are clear
Routes to challenging decisions about social housing allocation are accessible 
Routes to challenging decisions about the social landlord & tenant relationship (e.g., type of tenancy granted, demoting a tenancy or seeking possession) are clear
Routes to challenging decisions about the social landlord & tenant relationship (e.g., type of tenancy granted, demoting a tenancy or seeking possession) are accessible 

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* 5. What do you think are the main reasons why some people do not challenge, or find it hard to challenge, social housing and homelessness decisions with which they are dissatisfied?

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* 6. To what extent do you feel you understand the roles played by the following bodies in the social housing and homelessness sector in Wales?

  Good understanding  Reasonable understanding  Limited understanding  No understanding
County Courts 
Administrative Court (judicial review)
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
Residential Property Tribunal for Wales
Children's Commissioner for Wales
Older People's Commissioner for Wales
Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
Welsh Language Commissioner
Welsh Government 

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* 7. To what extent do you think legal advice about social housing and homelessness in Wales is meeting the following requirements (1 means not meeting the requirement at all, 5 means meeting the requirement fully)

  1 2 3 4 5   
Advice is available early on in a person's inter-action with a local authority/social housing provider
Advice is affordable
Advice given is clear

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* 8. How would you rate the following potential challenges facing the social housing and homelessness sector in Wales? (1 means not a challenge at all, 5 means a very significant challenge)

  1 2 3 4 5
Supply of social housing stock 
Local authority budget cuts 
Complexity of law
Complexity of housing and homelessness policy 
Problems caused by devolution - e.g., that social welfare benefits are not devolved to Wales whereas responsibility for housing policy is devolved 

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* 9. This question asks for your views about incorporating a 'right to housing' into Welsh law. This could mean a number of different things, here we take it to mean a legally enforceable individual right to adequate housing that can only be limited in particular circumstances prescribed by law, where such limitation is reasonable and proportionate. To what extent do you agree with the following statements.

  Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree or Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree 
A right to housing would help resolve some challenges facing the social housing & homelessness sector in Wales 
A right to housing would help individual people in Wales who are homeless, threatened with homelessness or accommodated in social housing 
A right to housing would lead to unrealistic expectations about the accommodation local authorities are able to provide 
Incorporation of a 'right to housing' should also include a specific procedure or procedures enabling individuals to seek legal redress if they feel the 'right to housing' has been breached

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* 10. This question asks for your views about the implications of centring most forms of dispute resolution into a single housing court/housing tribunal for Wales (that could determine cases in multiple locations across Wales). To what extent do you agree with the following statements?

  Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree
A single housing court/tribunal for Wales would be more accessible for individuals
A single housing court/tribunal for Wales would provide for more consistent decision-making 
A single housing court/tribunal for Wales would lead to increased formalism and legalism in dispute resolution 
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