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Independent evaluation of the April 2011 changes
The Department for Work and Pensions commissioned an independent consortium of leading research organisations to evaluate the effects of the Local Housing Allowance changes. The organisations involved include Sheffield Hallam University, Oxford University the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Ipsos Mori. Department for Communities and Local Government, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government are co-sponsors of the research.
The research involves building a cumulative understanding of impacts via monitoring at a national and local level and integrating this with wider housing and labour market contexts. The research involves a longitudinal survey and in-depth interviews with landlords and tenants over time across different types of housing markets in 19 areas.
DWP introduced Local Housing Allowance arrangements nationally on 7 April 2008. The LHA arrangements are a way of working out Housing Benefit for people who rent from a private landlord.
Following this, the government committed to carrying out a 2 year review of the LHA arrangements to assess its impact on tenants, landlords and other external organisations. The review assesses the impact of the Local Housing allowance arrangements at a national level against the original policy objectives of:
improved administration and thus reduced barriers to work
The evidence for the review was taken largely from internal Department for Work and Pensions sources. This was supplemented with a small amount of specially commissioned research, largely qualitative in nature, as well as engagement with stakeholders.