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Impediments to policy implementation: The offer of free installation of central heating to an elderly community has limited uptake


This study examined the success of a local initiative to provide free installation of central heating for a group of elderly people. The uptake of the offer of central heating was monitored through its different stages. Where possible, comments were invited from the elderly tenants to whom the offer was made; a sub-sample was interviewed about their views. Of 1181 tenants approached, only around one-quarter finally received central heating within the year. Reasons for the low uptake included inaccuracies in estimating those eligible as well as tenants' worries over upheaval and mess, health concerns and fear of increased heating costs. The study concludes that successful policy implementation requires not only command of appropriate financial resources and the backing of local 'implementers', but also the local resources with which the policy will engage, especially local knowledge, and the 'targets' of the policy initiative, in this case the elderly tenants.