Stability fears after CLG announces committee will only serve for a year
Concerns over new housing watchdog
The chair of the new English social housing regulator has maintained it will be effective despite revealing its entire committee could be axed after just one year.
The Communities and Local Government department on Monday announced the appointments to the new Homes and Communities Agency regulatory committee, which from 1 April will monitor the governance and viability of social landlords.
The CLG announced that committee members will only serve for 12 months, with the option to renew, despite the CLG initially saying members would be appointed for two to three years.
This has led to concern in the sector that the committee could change frequently, disrupting regulation.
James Tickell, director of consultancy at Campbell Tickell, said: ‘This is a little bit of an alarm bell, it raises a question mark about the continuity of regulation going forward.’
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘What is needed in the field of regulation is a degree of stability.’
Julian Ashby, chair of the committee, who will serve for three years, said: ‘This is a new act, a new committee, a new home for regulation and a new regulatory framework. It is not surprising that ministers wish to retain flexibility.’
The CLG has also only filled four of the six committee positions, but says it will recruit further members later in the year.
In addition to Piers Williamson, chief executive of the Housing Finance Corporation, and TSA board member Jim Coulter, the committee also includes members with experience of regulating other sectors. Richard Moriarty, a past director of regulation at the Tenant Services Authority, is now director of economic regulation at the Civil Aviation Authority and Jane May has acted as board member of Ofwat and the Office of Rail Regulation.
Mr Ashby said, as more providers set up for-profit arms and unregistered parent companies, it was important to learn from other sectors.
A CLG spokesperson said the one-year limit will enable the regulator to ‘assess and address any emerging challenges’.