Impact of the audit commission closing
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is seeking urgent information from the Secretary of State and the Chair of the Audit Commission following the announcement that the Audit Commission will close in due course.
The Commission currently carries out a variety of housing functions. The CIH has asked for clarification on the practical implications of the closure and what the future arrangements will be. This includes asking how the current planned inspections commissioned by the Tenant Service Authority (TSA) will be conducted and in particular seeking clarification about the arrangements that will be put in place for Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) who are looking to secure capital funding.
Sarah Webb, CIH chief executive said: "While the timing of the announcement to close the Audit Commission has come as a surprise to many people, it has been clear for some time that the government is embarking on fundamental changes in its approach to public service provision, including how performance is monitored at all levels.
“The housing sector is the first to acknowledge the important role that the Audit Commission has played in driving up standards in housing, notably through its inspection regime and the KLOE model. Both landlords and tenants have benefited from real improvements driven on the back of Audit Commission work over the past decade.
“It is important that as a sector we maintain momentum for improvement, in particular at this time of real financial pressure which is affecting both businesses and tenants. In recent years we have begun important moves towards a co-regulatory environment that places greater emphasis on the relationship between providers and their customers. Just as the role of regulation has needed to and looks set to continue to change, so too have the sector's expectations of inspection. In light of this announcement we should actively look at how we can best embrace a stronger approach to accountability and transparency to the residents we serve and our wider communities.
“We are going to need to look to each other for the best in service delivery and measures to compare and drive up performance. CIH is committed to playing an increasingly key role in this and supporting the housing sector to learn, improve and influence."
CIH is already responding to the demands of our sector – notably we have a simplified and improved membership offer. We want to enable more people involved or interested in housing to have access to CIH, from those working in local authorities and housing associations and the private sector to tenant members.
We are committed to growing our organisation and have recently developed a range of products and services especially designed to help support housing professionals. These tools allow members to keep up-to-date with key issues, network and learn from each other, self-assess performance and drive overall improvement across the work carried out. As well as being available by organisational subscription, our online knowledge base learning tool ‘practice online’ will also be available to all fully qualified CIH members from January 2011. This will ensure that over 10,000 members can access the best information and practice that the sector has to offer. For more information on becoming part of the leading professional body visit www.cih.org.
*ENDS*To request your free trial of practice online visit http://www.cih.org/practiceonline