The management of social housing construction was changed as of 1 January 2010 and is now based on a model of target and agreement management. The central aspect of the model is dialogue and collaboration between the local council and the housing organisation, and is focused on problem resolution and long-term development. Furthermore, the model allows for greater scope for locally adapted solutions, which is essential due to the great variances between local housing markets.
The main elements of the management model are as follows:
- Objectives and management targets. Objectives and management targets for social housing have been laid down in a number of different areas. The use of target management aims to highlight management targets and values, which the social housing sector is to work towards achieving. Fur-thermore, it should form a solid basis for management work in housing organisations and local councils.
- Management dialogue. A proactive management dialogue should be established between local councils and housing organisations.
- Agreements. Increased focus on the use of agreements between local councils and housing organi-sations, for mutual coordination, decisions regarding exceptional efforts etc.
- Self-policing. The self-policing of the housing organisations must be strengthened, including man-agement audits and quality control. This will contribute to moving the focus of the municipal su-pervision from the organisation’s internal matters to more general and cross-disciplinary problems in the housing organisation or the housing sector as a whole.
- Documentation. Documentation of the operations and outcomes of the housing organisation to be used for the management dialogue between the housing organisation and the local council must be improved.
As part of the implementation of the management reform, administrative rules were laid down and a handbook was published. The reform was gradually introduced during 2010.
Objectives and management targets
The overall objective of the Danish social housing sector is to solve urgent social problems in housing. This objective is implemented in an objects clause for the social housing sector, namely section 6 (1) of the Consolidation Act on Social Housing etc., which states that the main objective of social housing or-ganisations is to provide appropriate housing for those in need thereof at a reasonable rent, and to allow tenants influence over their own living conditions.
In the following paragraphs a number of general management targets for social housing organisations are laid out:
- The housing organisation must ensure the responsible and efficient management of the hous-ing organisation and its divisions.
- The social housing divisions must function well financially as well as socially and appear physi-cally to be modern and well-maintained.
- Buildings must be of high quality, and the housing organisation should seek to obtain the high-est possible value for the funds invested. Expenses and rent such be kept to such a level as to allow the dwellings to be let in accordance with the objectives.
- When letting dwellings, the housing organisation must favour groups that have difficulties in acquiring housing at general market terms. Moreover, the housing organisation must promote a varied composition of residents.
- The housing organisation management must exercise good management ethics and work to promote efficient resident participation.
Finally the act states that the housing organisation and the local council are bound to work together to implement the objectives and targets of the act. 4
The purpose of the objects clause and targets is to commit the housing organisations to work towards specific goals within central areas. Moreover the rules express fundamental standards for the social housing sector and for the cooperation between housing organisations and local councils.
Previous supervision was determined to be based excessively on legality control and the approval of isolated issues. It was found necessary to establish a framework for a more proactive, dialogue based supervi-sion, which was better able to accommodate the local development in housing policy.
Due to this assessment, the local council is now bound to engage in dialogue by way of annual meetings with the individual housing organisations regarding their activities, including development of individual housing divisions (management dialogue). Once a year the housing organisations must prepare and submit a report on its activities to the local council, which forms the basis of the annual meetings. Furthermore the local council must publish a report on the management dialogue undertaken on the municipality’s website.
The local council may issue orders deemed necessary to ensure the sound operation of a social housing organisation and its divisions. Furthermore the local council may appoint a manager to take overthe administration of a housing organisation, in the event that the existing rules have been violated.