Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Annex 1 (GRI 02(a))

Background: The Housing Corporation and Registered Social Landlords

  The Corporation is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) with responsibility in England for the registration, regulation and funding of Registered Social Landlords (RSLs)—better known as housing associations. It is also responsible for promoting the proper performance of RSLs. It was originally set up under the terms of the Housing Act 1964. Its responsibilities, which government has developed and extended since then, are now principally set out in the Housing Associations Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1996.

  The Corporation's mission is "Raising the Standard for Homes and Neighbourhoods". Underpinning this statement are four key aims:

    1.  to regulate and promote a viable, properly governed and properly managed housing association sector;

    2.  to invest for the creation of safe and sustainable communities[1];

    3.  to champion a tenant focus in the housing association sector; and

    4.  to be a modern, customer-centred, forward-looking organisation.

  There are 2,060[2] RSLs on the Corporation's register. They provide just over 1.3 million homes for rent by those in housing need throughout England and around 92,000 shared ownership homes and leasehold dwellings for the elderly[3]. RSLs are independent organisations run by non-executive, voluntary Boards. They are constituted in a variety of ways—many are charities registered with the Charity Commission and others are constituted as friendly societies. They are not dependent solely on public funds. Since the passing of the Housing Act 1988 the sector has attracted significant amounts of private sector finance. Private finance amounts to £17 billion[4] which combines with a total of over £24 billion of public investment, channelled through the Corporation's Approved Development Programme (ADP) and through Local Authority Social Housing Grants (LA SHG).

  RSLs vary widely in their size and range. While 60 per cent own fewer than 50 homes, by contrast the largest have assets in excess of £1 billion. An increasing number of RSLs have taken on the social housing transferred from the local authority sector.

1   Sustainable communities are those in which people want and are able to live now and in the future. Back

2   As at 29 November 2001. Back

3   Figures from RSR 2001, but they have not yet been adjusted for non-response. Final figures may vary. Back

4   Level of funding drawn down as at 31 March 2001. Back

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