Managing and delivering Gypsy and Traveller sites: negotiating conflict
There are many symptoms of an ongoing failure to accommodate Gypsies and Travellers. These include; continued poor health, anxiety, an increasing disconnect with the broader community for Gypsies and Travellers, and poorer education outcomes for their children.
Council officers and elected members receive complaints about unauthorised encampments and have difficulty responding if there are no appropriate sites to offer as alternatives.
This combination of a lack of community cohesion, along with a need for local authorities to find more efficient ways of delivering and managing housing, requires a new way of looking at the issue.
Lack of sufficient appropriate accommodation is a complex challenge with no ‘quick-fix’ solutions. But it is possible to deliver well-managed Gypsy and Traveller sites and where that is achieved, encampments and associated problems also reduce.
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Researchers at De Montfort University, Leicester, have been looking at this problem over the last two years in a piece of research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Professor Jo Richardson and Janie Codona MBE undertook interviews with 122 Gypsy and Traveller residents on 54 sites, as well as interviews with 95 public service professionals and local politicians, across the four countries of the UK to find out more about site delivery and site management.
The research team found there were ten key ingredients to successful site management and a further seven key ingredients involved in site delivery.
Good communication and negotiation skills were vital in successful approaches; as was political will and leadership.
Managing and delivering Gypsy and Traveller sites: negotiating conflict offers 12 key recommendations to housing bodies, local authorities and government agencies.
The research team will work with local authorities and housing associations throughout 2017 as part of a year of ‘dissemination’.
Listen to Jo Richardson talk about the report.
If you are interested to talk more about the issues in your area and think that a workshop event could be helpful in bringing together agencies to discuss a negotiated approach to take forward, please contact Jo on firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @socialhousing to discuss.