Dorset Council is drafting a new policy looking at how people access social housing in the area.

The new policy, that will come into effect on April 1, 2021, will:

• Offer people seeking accommodation a choice about where they live

• Be fair and easy to use

• Offer solutions to those most in need while making the best use of the housing stock available

It will replace the Christchurch and East Dorset Joint Housing Allocation Policy and the Dorset Homechoice Common Allocation Policy.

The policy proposes some changes that might affect people currently on the housing register in Dorset.

Much of the content of the policy is set by law, but there are some key areas which the council can decide, such as:

• who can apply to be on the register

• how to prioritise applications

• how many bedrooms to allocate to a household

• how to support homelessness applications

In completing this first draft the council created a cross party elected member panel from all the former district council areas. The panel looked at all the current policies as well as best practice from across the country to create this draft version.

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Safety at Dorset Council said:

“We’re asking people what they think about our new housing allocation policy.

“We’d like to hear from as many people as possible, so we get a wide range of views.

“If you are currently on the housing register this policy affects you, so please do take a bit of time to have a look and think about what this might mean for you.

“Your feedback will help shape the final version of the new Homechoice Dorset policy.”

Find out more and complete our survey at

The consultation is now live and runs until July 2020.

Paper copies of the survey are available call 01305 221000. to have one posted to you.

Why are we introducing a new policy?

Applications for social housing in Dorset are currently being decided under the old council geographical boundaries that were present before April 1, 2019.

As part of local government reorganisation (LGR) central Government agreed a period of two years to put in place new housing allocation policies for Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole Council and Dorset Council. These policies must come into effect on April 1, 2021.

No changes to how applicants apply for social housing or the criteria to decide a local connection will come into effect before April 1, 2021.