It appears that the Tenant Services Authority is living on borrowed time and is on route to being the shortest lived social housing regulator ever, having got its full powers only in April 2010. There will probably be an announcement at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference, next week.
See this interview with Grant Shapps, Housing Minister, which strongly suggests that the oversight of housing association governance and finances will go to the Homes and Communities Agency, while the tenant services regulatory aspect will go… well nowhere much:
[T]he framework developed by the TSA to ensure the provision of excellent tenant services will remain – indeed, Mr Shapps claims to ‘agree with virtually every word’ in the 86-page document which he describes as ‘great work’. However, complaints that cannot be resolved by a landlord will escalate to an elected local official such as a councillor or MP, before heading to the, existing, housing ombudsman service as a final resort.
Mr Shapps admits that several details of this new system have yet to be worked out so it is unclear whether the ombudsman would take on any statutory powers, or rather refer intractable cases to the CLG and Mr Shapps. ’ I think there is a system of tenant empowerment here that could go way beyond the incredibly complex structures that the TSA envisages,’ he says, ‘and would bring power back home for tenants.’
Note also that the manifesto promise to leave security of tenure alone, might not be quite as, well, secure as all that. Mr Shapps announced in the House of Commons last week that reducing social housing waiting lists was a priority and this ‘…may include looking at tenure for the future’.