HC Deb 16 November 1995 vol 267 cc4-5W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to change the arrangements for the administration of the rent officer service in England. [971]

Mr. Curry

In the light of the scrutiny report published in 1992 and the subsequent work by my Department and by consultants, I have concluded that there is a case for introducing new arrangements for the administration of the rent officer service in England based on a unified national management structure.

Before making a decision, and following the procedure set out in "Continuity and Change", Cm 2627, I propose to undertake a prior options review, in particular to consider and make recommendations on:

  1. (i) whether the functions discharged by rent officers under the Rent Act 1977 and orders made under the Housing Act 1988 should continue to be performed in the public sector;
  2. (ii) the scope for contracting out; and
  3. (iii) subject to the conclusion on (i) and (ii), the strength of the case for changing to unified management structure; and
  4. (iv) subject to (iii), the relative merits of achieving this by establishing a next steps agency within the civil service or an independent public sector body, based either on an existing or a newly created organisation.

The review will be undertaken by my Department in conjunction with the Treasury, the Office of Public Service and the Department of Social Security. There will be an opportunity for interested bodies to submit views.