Last November, the Audit Commission issued Invitations to Tender (ITTs) to 15 potential providers who met the pre qualification requirements in relation to the small bodies' procurement for outsourcing the work of its Audit Practice.
Potential providers issued with the ITT were:
Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP; BDO LLP; Bishop Flemming; Chantrey Velacott DFK LLP; Clement Keys; Deloitte LLP; Grant Thornton (UK) LLP; Haines Watts; Littlejohn LLP; Mazars LLP; Menzies LLP; Moore Stephens LLP; PKF (UK) LLP; consortium led by UHY Hacker Young LLP; Wilkins Kennedy.
As the deadline for tender was 5pm 06/01/2012 it would be interesting to discover how many, and who, applied.
The primary contracts were tendered to the deadline 5pm 16/12/2011 - again who applied?
Those invited to apply were:
BDO LLP; DA Partnership Ltd; Deloitte LLP; Ernst & Young LLP; Grant Thornton (UK) LLP; consortium led by Haines Watts; KPMG LLP; Menzies LLP; consortium led by MHA Audit LLP; consortium led by Moore Stephens LLP; PKF (UK) LLP; pwc LLP; RSM Tenon Audit Ltd
Or will this remain secret for another couple of months?
As part of his New Years' Eve missive Grant Shapps said:
"As the country starts warming up for the 2012 Olympics, I want to be sure that no one has to wrestle with bureaucracy to be able to mark the occasion in style.
"So I'm today calling on communities to make it their New Year's resolution to get on the starting line and prepare for their own street games. And because all too often red tape gets in the way of these events taking place, I want councils to make it their goal in 2012 to high jump over regulations and fly the flag for those neighbourhoods wanting to take part.
"Hosting street games will both help towards securing an enduring legacy for London 2012 of greater participation in sport, and give everyone a chance to take part in a fitting tribute to the Olympics. I would urge councils and communities across the country to start planning now."
What feedback from the people who count - residents and perspective residents - did anyone get today from the government's announcement of its intentions and aspirations about housing?
Colleagues of mine have taken calls from a number of people wanting to know about the Right-to-Buy and how much discount they can expect.
The saddest example was from a young man currently in private accomodation (a single room in a shared house) who wanted to know when he would now qualify for a new Council home and how long he would have to wait to buy it.
The more common call was from existing tenants who were wondering how much discount they would get - they were very angry to be told that the announcement had not changed anything but simply paved the way for some consultation, with a result sometime next year.
The young man was devestated to learn that these stated 'strategies' would not help him with either aspiration. Other callers, because they heard that RTB was to be extended on the news they were angry at the landlord who they believe are deliberately obstructing the government's help. This government should stop playing politics with people's lives, and should really apologise for such expectation mismanagement.
I normally dislike having to scroll further, but I really like the new layout for it's clarity and also the new side-scroll functionality that means being able to access other stories without changing the page.
On the like it or loathe it parameter I definately like it.
The following passages are drawn directly from the 2011-15 Affordable Homes Programme; Framework; HCA; February 2011:
3.15 Tenancies for Affordable Rent properties must be for a minimum period of two years but providers will have the flexibility to offer longer tenancies, including lifetime tenancies.
3.16 Where, at the end of a fixed term tenancy, a provider decides not to issue a further tenancy, the provider will be required to offer reasonable advice and assistance to the tenant to find alternative suitable accommodation.
3.17 Landlords and tenants may wish to consider a range of ‘end of tenancy’ options depending on the needs of the household concerned. This could include selling the property to the tenant on shared ownership terms to assist tenants into home ownership.
Much debate has been held around the '2-year' issue, but little about what happens at the end of the tenancy period.
What is the view about the 'reasonable advice and assistance to the tenant to find alternative suitable accommodation' that should be given? The word 'reasonable' in my opinion is open to abuse which could lead to tenants losing their homes without an alternative accommodation to go to.
What tenant choice options do you think may arise from the 'consider a range of end of tenancy options depending on the needs of the household concerned' element? To me this seems a little weak on individual rights of choice.
For those interested in where the negative housing subsidy issue arose, and how tenants have ended up paying more to the treasury than they get for management and maintenance of their homes, some back items from IH can serve as a guide in the interest of informed debate as to how Labour and Tory have conspired to end social housing:
Do take the time to have a little browse at these archive items from 2008/9. They show how long the situation of 'the tenant tax' and the 'negative subsidy' has been developing.
Hopefully, even the most bombastic sceptics will come to understand this is not something I've invented.
As a bonus, it may help some of those posters discover the backlog of IH articles, which are full of great, and real information.
This area used to be home to those who worked there, earning modest incomes carrying out work vital to the British economy. Now it's home to centres vital to the world economy, and home to some who work in those roles blackmailing the economy with threats of withdrawal if forced to pay tax.
Those earning modest incomes servicing those earning the higher ones, may soon find themselves priced out of the area, homeless and unemployed.
Yet the courts have agreed to ban future protests by 'people unknown' against business corruption, tax avoidance, and explotation from being held in the area.
Has the balance within our society tipped to far one way?
In the week when the bailiffs may parachute in to liberate Dale Farm from the evil clutches of the travellers who own it, in the name of preserving the green and pleasant land of Basildon - here is a little story that somehow missed the main press.
In a report by journalist John Austin in the local Basildon Press, Basildon’s Tory administration was exposed as being in secret talks about developing homes in a wildlife haven.
Plans were for homes and a business park on 86 acres to the South of Basildon, on land identified as housing in the 1990's when Tory MP David Amess was the towns MP, and indeed when his own back garden neighboured the site (immediately before he sold up and moved, of course).
Publically the Conservatives have been at the forefront of the Save Dry Street campaign to block the development of 1,200 homes at the Homes and Communities Agency-owned site. Behind he scenes they have been negotiating the development.
Naisha Polaine, the agency’s head of area, said the talks had started last year. She said: “We began exploring options to enable the site with Basildon Council and South Essex College, after a new town centre college was identified as the council’s top priority in the local investment plan. “Discussions were held in December 2010, before reaching the joint decision to move the site forward in May 2011. “This is a unique moment where three adjoining land-owning public organisations are coming together to provide much-needed education and housing for Basildon.”
Council leader Tony Ball, “It is about being involved and getting what is best for the borough because some development of the site is inevitable.”
I'm sure Mr Pickles will be insisting this land is released for the much needed development of homes in an area with high housing need.
A year ago Shapps announced extending the Right to Buy to Housing Association properties and those Association were to plough the money back into new homes.
Does anyone know how many Housing Association Homes have been RTB'd since this announcement, how much funding raised and new homes provided from these proceeds?
This year Shapps' new policy idea - launch Right to Buy, with proceeds to be reinvested in building new homes on a 1-2-1 basis, he said.
Will he launch RTB next year too?
The following brief extract examples how the rich and powerful respond to new strains of money providing affordable housing:
"The Sutton Dwellings Trust exemplifies a late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century situation that still occurs today: the collision of philanthropy, classism, the need for housing the poor, city planning, and fierce local resistance of the wealthy to having the poor live anywhere near them. Archives in London and the M25 Area explains that William Richard Sutton “ran a carrier business from Golden Lane, Finsbury and built up a huge personal fortune through wise investments and business expansion. When he died in 1900, he left £1,500,000 for the provision of model low-rented dwellings for occupation by the poor of London and other towns and populous places.” That £1,500,000 probaby had the purchasing and political power of £150,000,000 today. Patricia L. Garside, who describes the Sutton Model Dwellings Trust as “the wealthiest housing trust in England,” argues that a major reason this generally successful philanthropic enterprise managed to “build comparatively few dwellings before 1939” lay in the strategies of the rich and powerful, who used every resource available to contain “the potentially disruptive features of the trust,” and these strageties involved “the courts, the Attorney General, and central and local government.” Nonetheless, the Trust's funds, determination, and lawyers managed to build handsome, successful housing that has lasted to the present day in London and other parts of the U. K."
The position remains the same in the current debate - never mind the need for housing as a human right, just consider the financial impact on my rents say the landlords.
Only a sincere and committed government can break through this conspiracy of society and the socialites and return effective social solutions through the production of social housing in such numbers as to blow all opposition and inequality away, once and for all.