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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Voluntary housing transfer in Scotland a case of policy emergence
Author(s): Taylor, Mary
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the voluntary transfer of housing stock by Scottsh local authorities between 1986 and 1997, under a Conservative Government. The study sought to identify who had transferred what, why and how, employing a multi-theoretical approach and a range of concepts from policy studies to investigate rationaliy and opportunity in policymaking. The study used quantitative methods to define and establish the incidence of transfer, which was found in two forms: as partial transactions, with and without subsidy; and as privately financed disposals of whole stocks. Similar volumes of transactions were found in Scotland as in England, though on different terms and affecting fewer houses. Qualitative methods were used to explore the decisions, actions and capacity of people involved in voluntary sales of tenanted housing to other landlords. Key actors included tenants and community activists, politicians and officials in councils, government departments and agencies. The thesis argues that transfer in Scotland was the product of local responses to two key developments. One was accumulated financial constraints; the other, particularly affecting partial transfer, was the use of financial and organisational incentives, secured with ministerial acquiescence. Although government was ultimately responsible for both developments, it neither planned nor anticipated their consequences; it was often iiprepared to respond to local initiatives, partial and whole; and it failed to understand or monitor the consequences. Most Scottsh councils ignored whole stock transfer in 1996, when it came to be actively promoted by Conservative poliicians. Paradoxically, while organisations representing institutional interests in council housing vocalised opposition to stock disposals, their constituent members took action to transfer ownership, with the conflcting values of local incumbents accommodated by stealth. Transfer was later legally structured, when an afterthought from English legislation accidentally turned power relations upside down, making ministerial consent conditional on demonstrating lack of tenant opposition. Senior officials played a consistently critical role in initiating, brokering, frustrating and nourishing local negotiations. This study demonstrates the particular significance of local action in policy-making, allowing transfer to emerge in response to wider constraints determined at the centre.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Applied Social Science

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