EHN Empty Homes Survey 2016 on its way

We are about to write to England's 326 housing authorities asking them to complete a simple survey about the staff resources deployed to tackle private sector empties in their area.

We will be emailing the addresses we have for Freedom of Information requests, but initially we will not be presenting this as an FOI request, in order to avoid the associated bureaucracy. We are expecting the FOI addressee to pass the email down to operational levels - so it may come to our members eventually.

The text of our email is below, and there is a response form that can be downloaded from our Information Library which may help provide focus.

Text of email

Empty Homes Network enquiry to xxxxx Council

Background to this request

As a mainly local authority organisation, we know the extra work involved in a formal FOI request.  Consequently, this is an informal  request for information not relying on the provisions of the FOI Act. We hope you will forward this to the appropriate Officer.  Only if we don’t hear back within 3 weeks will we then reluctantly submit a formal FOI request.

Information Requested
Current employees

  1. Please list the job-titles of all your current employees who work directly with private sector owners to bring private sector empty property back into use for housing (‘empty homes work’); and for each job-title listed
  1. please estimate the Full-Time-Equivalent [FTE] staff resource spent on* empty homes work; and
  2. please give the FTE resource formally allocated to* empty homes work; and
  3. please specify the amount of FTE resource, if any, that is on time-limited contracts (agency workers, temporary contracts etc, i.e. not permanent contracts).

Other posts

  1. Please provide information identical to that requested at 1 - ignoring 1(a) - for any posts for which you are in the process of recruiting and which will be allocated empty homes work.

‘Spent on’ versus ‘allocated to’
We want to distinguish between time spent dealing with empty homes reactively or ad hoc and time that is formally allocated to empty homes work (e.g. ‘you will deal with empty homes two days a week’).

(NB Do not make any deductions for non-productive time  such as holidays, training, sickness etc).)
An empty homes officer working full-time on empty homes would be spending 1.0 FTE and allocated 1.0 FTE.
If diverted onto other work two days a week this officer would be spending 0.6 FTE and allocated 1.0 FTE.
An environmental health officer working reactively one day a week on empty homes would be spending 0.2 FTE and allocated 0.0 FTE.
A full-time environmental health officer allocated to work two days a week on empty homes, and doing so, would be spending 0.4FTE and allocated 0.4 FTE.
If an employee works across more than one authority, estimate the FTE spent in your authority.

Please respond by email to:
You may find it easier (but it is not essential) if you download our survey table in MS Word format from:

Don’t hesitate to contact me for clarification and feel free to provide additional comments, notes etc to clarify your own response.

Thank you.

David Gibbens
(Policy Lead/Secretary)
Empty Homes Network
PO Box 703, Exeter, EX1 9PX
Tel.: 0303 04 01 008 (leave message) or 07528 312932 (direct mobile)

News type: 


Hi David,

that was quick! Request sent to FOI officer 09:40 hrs - passed to me 09:47!