§ The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)
Responsibility for the Rent Service, an executive agency, is to transfer from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The transfer will take place with effect from 1 April 2004.
The reasons for transferring the Rent Service (TRS) to the Department for Work and Pensions are that the vast majority of TRS's work (around 90 per cent) is on rental valuations to determine how much housing benefit (HB) claimants should receive. Although this is carried out primarily for local authorities, the policy and legislative lead rests with DWP. TRS, which will retain its executive agency status on transfer, will be better placed to assist with taking forward the ongoing work on housing benefit reform—announced by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in October 2002—if it is operating within DWP.
Only a small percentage of TRS's current workload relates to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's responsibilities on fair rents. The transfer will not prevent the agency contributing to the ODPM's policy objectives, as the role and functions of TRS remain the same.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is consulting with the trade unions involved in this change of departmental responsibilities.