So, we’ve now got the results of the “bonfire of the Quangos” (full list available here). For housing practitioners, the main points to note are:
(1) Audit Commission – disband and transfer audit functions into private ownership;
(2) Homes and Communities Agency – retain and reform into a smaller body dealing with investment. It will take on the regulation of social housing from the TSA. In London, functions will be devolved to the Mayor;
(3) Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) – work towards merger with a specialist advice service
(4) National Tenant Voice – abolish body and function
(5) Rent Assessment Panels / RPTS – merge into the Tribunal service;
(6) Standards Board for England – abolish body and functions;
(7) TSA – abolish body, functions to pass to HCA. Reduce focus on consumer regulation;
(8) Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committee – abolish body and functions;
(9) Agricultural Land Tribunal – consider merger into Tribunal service;
(10) Land Registry – retain but reform, with increased involvement from the private sector.
The big news, obviously, is the demise of the HCA/TSA and the merger of social housing funding and regulation into one body. Up and down the country, people are crying out “Oh Housing Corporation, how we’ve missed you” and, for (b0th of) those people, their wishes have been answered. It does make something of a mockery of the 2008 Act and the work that preceeded it.
I’m also slightly concerned by the idea of devolving these functions to the Mayor in London. Does the Government intend to devolve the regulation of social housing in London to the Mayor (surely not) or just the strategic/funding decisions?