By J
14/10/2010

The Housing Corporation is dead! Long live the Housing Corporation!

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?

Posted in: Uncategorized
J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.

9 Comments

  1. NL

    And for us legal aid people, don’t forget:

    Legal Services Commission No longer an NDPB – Abolish as NDPB – change to Executive Agency , as previously announced

    Reply
    • J

      And, while we’re at it, the abolition of the Legal Services Ombudsman. Given that it only came into effect on October 6, 2010, that’s a pretty rapid demise.

  2. Marcin

    “Land Registry – retain but reform, with increased involvement from the private sector”

    Any details on how they are going to achieve that? The land registry isn’t some sort of random quango, it’s essential to the ownership of land and functioning of the credit system (registration of charges), and it exercises judicial functions.

    Anyway, good to see that the new lot fetishise the private sector just as much as the old lot, without understanding what it is, or what it’s good for.

    Reply
  3. J

    Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps we can have various – competing – land registries?

    Reply
  4. dave

    There were perfectly sound reasons of policy and principle for the demerger of the funding and regulation functions of the Housing Corporation (see the Cave review). The re-merger makes the whole thing a complete waste of money and risks precisely the sort of problems against which the HC found itself dealing with when it had the combination of functions (remember Ujima anyone?).
    The TSA did some really excellent work, I thought, around regulation for tenants – I don’t agree with co-regulation and nor with principles-based regulation, but their approach to consultation was spot on.
    This re-merger is outrageous, but only pipped by the de-merger of the London functions to Boris, remembering, of course, that most of the RPs (or whatever they will be called – new name required, I suspect) in London are national organisations which will potentially find themselves facing different regulators depending on the location of their stock.
    A thoughtless disaster is my summary.

    Reply
  5. S

    Interesting that the Supreme Court isn’t even listed. I recall reading that its future was at one point under consideration.

    Reply
  6. simplywondered

    the sound of knees jerking. still, it’s easier than giving the matter any real thought, i suppose. not surprised.

    Reply
  7. MarkRay

    J – The Legal Ombudsman opened for business on the 6 Oct and is retained as part of the Legal Services Board. The Legal Services Ombudsman is going. The overlap in the titles might have been a clue to OLSO that it was doomed…

    Reply
    • J

      Yes – a good friend pointed that out to me already. Mea Culpa!

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