Students are often quick to complain about the standard of accomodation in the city, but with so many complaints, who is responsible for poor quality places still being recommended?
The University of Lincoln is part of the Lincoln City Student Accommodation Accreditation Scheme, which aims to provide students in Lincoln with accommodation that meets standards set out in its code of practice.
The scheme involves numerous partners, including the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste, Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and Lincolnshire Police Authority.
The code of practice for the scheme states that “the main aim of the code of practice is to provide safe, clean and well-managed accommodation for students living in Lincoln”. Student accommodation companies such as Club Easy and Lighthouse are part of the scheme too.
It is down to the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste to decide if a housing company provides adequate accommodation to be accredited in the scheme. Paul Ranshaw, the Housing Standards Officer at City of Lincoln council said that “the scheme application process is administered by the two universities”.
The University of Lincoln’s accommodation services webpage states that “the scheme is led by Lincoln City Council” with a number of partner bodies contributing. Michael Ball, the residential services manager at the University of Lincoln, said that the accommodation accreditation scheme was “a partnership scheme and it would not be seen as any one organisation ‘leading’ the scheme”.
Ball also said that the the university tries to ensure that “compliance is achieved from registered landlords and that new initiatives which involve compliance or good practice are passed down to the sector”.
Last year, the University of Lincoln’s Students Union (SU) ran an accommodation survey on student housing, including both university owned accommodation and housing accredited by the scheme.
The survey was entirely based on student opinion, and gave accommodation providers a score out of four for various areas of service, including value for money and problem resolution.
In the SU opinion survey, Lighthouse fared particularly poorly, receiving only one star overall. Michael Ball said that “no proven complaints have been received by the Accreditation Scheme regarding this company”.
Kayleigh Taylor, welfare and diversity officer for the SU, said that the student accommodation accreditation scheme has a “minimum set of standards [centred] largely around safety and doesn’t look at service or value for money issues”.
Taylor, who has been re-elected for the position of vice-president welfare and diversity, stated in her manifesto that she intends to set up an SU–run accommodation service. She said: “The union services are still working on various aspects of this [SU led accommodation scheme] with partners and working up some feasibility plans, however, this will be a long term project.”Tweet