HC Deb 14 December 1999 vol 341 cc105-6W
Dr. Palmer

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the forthcoming Finance Management and Policy Review of the Housing Corporation. [102973]

Mr. Raynsford

As part of the Government's programme of regular five-yearly finance, management and policy reviews of non-departmental public bodies my Department will conduct a thorough review of the Housing Corporation beginning today. The first stage of the review will take the form of a "prior options" study. This will assess the extent to which the Housing Corporation's functions are necessary for the achievement of the Government's policies, and whether there is scope for contracting out or transferring all or part of its functions to another body.

The progress made by the Housing Corporation since the previous review in 1995 will be examined and the results of that examination and of the prior options study will inform a detailed review of the Housing Corporation's policy and financial management systems. The review will look particularly at the effectiveness of the Corporation's regulatory framework for registered social landlords, its arrangements for making informed decisions on investment in social housing and ways of stimulating improved performance in the registered social landlord sector.

To minimise the uncertainty the prior options study will cause, I expect that study will be completed in April 2000 and the conclusions published shortly afterwards. The time required for the more detailed review cannot be foreseen, but I would expect it to be complete by autumn 2000 followed by publication of the conclusions.

An advisory group including members from bodies with an interest in the Housing Corporation's work has been set up and the Department will be seeking the views of a wide range of bodies which deal with the Housing Corporation.

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