TSA considers end of appeals process
The Tenant Services Authority may recommend its internal appeals process is scrapped once its powers are transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency.
At its board meeting yesterday the regulator discussed how appeals to its board should be handled once it is shut down and its regulatory powers transferred to a committee within the HCA on 1 April next year.
At present social landlords who have fallen foul of the regulator can appeal against key orders issued against them, including orders to transfer management, or amalgamate with another provider.
In the most serious cases the board would form a sub-committee to consider the appeal, which would then be presented to the full board.
The regulator is concerned that the regulatory committee of the HCA will not be able to operate in the same way, because it only has six members compared with the nine currently on the TSA board.
At the board meeting this week members considered whether it should recommend an alternative mechanism to its successor, or suggest the internal appeals process is removed altogether.
Three of the options – delegating decisions to one committee member, delegating decisions to a senior officer who is not on the board, and setting up a three-strong sub committee – were rejected.
The remaining option, setting up an external appeals panel, was left on the table for further discussion, despite doubts about how time consuming this would be to set up, and whether there would be conflicts of interest.
The G15 group of London’s leading housing associations has put forward this option, and TSA chief executive Claer Lloyd-Jones said she would continue to discuss the issue with the body.
Several board members, including chair Anthony Mayer, clearly favoured the removal of the internal appeals process altogether.
‘I think that if some of these cases go bad the last thing we want is any appeals process where getting a panel in, and getting them to meet, could just cause an unacceptable delay,’ he said.
Mr Mayer argued registered providers can already make representations to the regulator ahead of any decision being issued, and have the option of going to judicial review to contest a judgement.
Ms Lloyd-Jones revealed the appointment of a chair for the HCA regulation committee is imminent. A candidate has been chosen, and approved by housing minister Grant Shapps. Final approval rests with communities secretary Eric Pickles, and the announcement is expected on 1 November.