News on the revision of location factors in order to calculate Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) bands.
As you will be aware, the CAAS charge for individual SFA was established following a review of three factors – Scale, Condition and Location and the first 2 factors were assessed via a widespread survey programme of houses – from which some extrapolation was undertaken for like houses on the same estate – along with ongoing surveys to ensure that, ultimately, 100% of all SFA have been surveyed. The Location factors were applied using a desktop methodology drawing on nationally available data that was collated and analysed by the University of York.
Revision of Location Factors
The baseline for the Location factors was drawn from information and data that was compiled in 2013. In line with current policy, these factors were due to be updated in 2017 as the data was 4 years out old. Moreover, MOD and DIO were aware that some of the underpinning data had been subject to change - specifically, availability and speed of broadband. Accordingly, a revised data set was requested from the University of York and received by DIO in February 2017.
It was initially planned that the revised data would be applied to charges from 1 Apr 17 but this was delayed until Sep 17 in order to provide occupants with at least 93 days’ notice of a change. The revised data would have resulted, mainly due to reported increases in Broadband speed, in the charge for many SFA increasing. Some SFA would have seen a decrease.
Following the decision to delay the implementation until Sep 17, it has become clear that some of the factors require further analysis to ensure consistency and transparency. This will include, but is not constrained to, reviewing the broadband baseline, and exploring how to make supporting data more accessible to increase the transparency of the process. As a result of this review and the potential change to the broadband baseline, it has been decided to delay any changes to charges until 1 Apr 18.
Once the review is complete, SFA occupants will be notified if there is a change to their charge – giving 93 days’ notice - before these are applied from 1 Apr 18. The changes will not be backdated. For those SFA that are already at a final CAAS band, an adjustment will be made to that banding. For those SFA that will be still be on a transition pathway on 1 Apr 18, the amended Location factors will be applied and the final CAAS Band-for-Charge will be adjusted accordingly.
There was an expectation amongst some occupants that they may receive news of an increase (or decreases in a small number of cases) initially with effect from Apr 17 and then Sep 17. However, in light of the review detailed above, no letters have or will be issued to occupants to advise of any changes until the review is complete. As the number of properties affected by the revised data is not known, it is not possible to write to occupants individually to advise of the delay.
Consequently, we are getting the message out to all SFA residents that the Location data is being reviewed to ensure its accuracy and the underpinning information clarified in order that you can have confidence in it.