Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 20-39)



  20. You are sure of this?
  (Mr Green) In the majority of cases, though I think a couple of authorities did not.

  21. You are saying that arising from that exercise, from your specific request, tenants' groups did not respond?
  (Mr Green) I cannot remember the exact numbers that did not respond, but it was very few.

  22. Have you any idea of how many were asked?
  (Mr Green) It is likely to be ten.

  23. How many?
  (Mr Green) Nine or ten.

  24. How many tenants' groups?
  (Mr Green) We have eleven authorities pursuing PFI on housing.

Dr Naysmith

  25. Just before that, you said that a couple of authorities did not. Could you just be more specific about the number?
  (Mr Green) Can I come back to you with that?

  26. Out of eleven?
  (Mr Green) Yes, we have got eleven local authorities.

  27. Because even a couple would be at least two.
  (Mr Green) Okay, nine.
  (Mr McNulty) We also consulted a range of tenant federations and also TPAS, the Tenants' Participation Advisory Service, who are very up in this area, but in addition I would remind the Committee that there is significant provision for consultation with the tenants most directly affected as part of the process and we were very, very keen that that was part and parcel of the entire reform of section 27. Much of any "new burdens" that were placed on authorities as part of the change to section 27 revolved around as full a consultation as possible with the tenants who had been directly involved in this and that is terribly important.

Andrew Bennett

  28. So the Ardwick ones that we talked about earlier, what was their response?
  (Mr Green) They are very supportive of what we are trying to do. They are supportive of the proposals for change.

Dr Naysmith

  29. You are saying that it was up to local authorities to do the consultation. Is that right?
  (Mr Green) We asked them specifically to do that.

  30. And some of them did not do it?
  (Mr Green) A couple did not, yes.

  31. Why did they not do it if you had asked them to do it?
  (Mr Green) I am not sure.
  (Mr McNulty) We can get back to you on that.

Mr Cummings

  32. You also or your Department, Minister, told the Committee that you were unaware of tenants' groups who have specifically opposed the establishment of arm's length management organisations and, consequently, did not target them specifically. What consultation have you undertaken with organisations or groups who are opposed to PFI and other forms of contracting out of the local authority housing function and would you tell the Committee what response you have received?
  (Mr McNulty) Well, I suspect, I do not know 100 per cent, but I suspect that the answer to that is none. I am not sure it would have been terribly useful or terribly instructive for us or the organisations concerned if we had consulted what are essentially political campaigning groups or if we are talking about something specific to local authorities and the tenants that are affected. If you are asking me did we ring up and have a chat about council housing, the answer is no.

  33. No, I am not asking that at all. You are specifically saying that you are unaware of tenants' groups. How are you unaware of tenants' groups who have officially opposed the establishment of arm's length management organisations?
  (Mr Green) We are unaware of groups who are opposed to ALMOs.

  34. Are you relying upon people writing to you? Have you carried out an exercise in the area in which you are operating? How do you know this if you do not ask anyone? Many of these organisations are ad hoc, they are voluntary bodies, they give freely of their own time, they meet in the evening, they are not serviced by any particular organisation, so how do you know?
  (Mr Green) Having said that, we did have consultee responses who were not in favour of what we were proposing, particularly leaseholder groups who had bad experiences of the previous—

  35. I am particularly asking about tenants' groups, Mr Green.
  (Mr McNulty) The submission says very, very specifically that, "We are unaware of tenants' groups who are opposed to ALMOs", and that is just simply the truth. If you have a useful list of tenants' groups who are opposed to ALMOs specifically either in the urban areas or beyond, then I would be delighted to see it.

  36. If you do not ask the question, you do not get the answer.
  (Mr McNulty) If we are talking about specific ad hoc groups, of which of course there are plenty, which sprang up or diverted their attention as and when there was a stock transfer and were totally against it, then that list could be fairly extensive if you work on where the ballots were and work out who was for and who was not.

  37. The question, Minister, was in relation to tenants' groups.
  (Mr McNulty) Tenants' groups and ALMOs. The point here is tenants' groups opposed to ALMOs and there are none who have written to us.

  38. You have not asked?
  (Mr McNulty) No.

  39. How do you know?
  (Mr McNulty) Whom do we ask?

  Mr Cummings: The tenants' groups.

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