Local authorities are by law (Section 63(1) of the Local Government Act 2001) independent in the performance of their functions. This means that the provision of social housing support is entirely a matter for the local authority concerned in accordance with its allocation scheme.
It is the local authority, which assesses housing applicants, taking into account factors such as the condition and affordability of existing accommodation, medical and compassionate grounds, etc. The authority then prioritises the needs of approved applicants in accordance with its allocation scheme. Housing authorities may prioritise certain classes of households for allocation on the basis of severity of need as they see fit.
Oversight and management of the lists of qualified households awaiting accommodation, including the allocation and transfer of tenancies, is a matter for the relevant housing authority in accordance with Section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations. While there is no obligation on local authorities to inform those seeking council accommodation of their position on any waiting list, I understand that many local authorities do routinely provide such information, on request. In the context of the 2018 Summary of Social Housing Assessment process, my Department will engage further with local authorities on this matter.