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Local Government Act 2003

Section 109: Registered social landlords

330.This section confers on the Audit Commission powers to inspect housing services provided by registered social landlords (RSLs). Inspection of RSLs' housing services in England is currently undertaken by the Housing Corporation as part of its regulatory role. In future, a single housing inspectorate within the Audit Commission will be able to inspect all social housing landlords in England whether local authorities or RSLs. Such a single inspectorate would be able to ensure that local authorities and RSLs provide the same standards of service for all tenants of social housing, drawing on the expertise that the Audit Commission has built up. The powers conferred on the Commission also apply to RSLs registered with the National Assembly for Wales: inspection of those RSLs is currently undertaken by the Assembly.

331.Subsection (1) will be commenced in relation to RSLs registered with the Housing Corporation by commencement order made by the Secretary of State and, in relation to RSLs registered with the National Assembly for Wales, by commencement order made by the Assembly.

332.Subsection (1) adds two new sections to the Audit Commission Act 1998. The new section 41A defines what may be inspected in RSLs, gives the Audit Commission powers to publish reports and powers of access to premises and information, and requires it to consult the Housing Corporation (or, in Wales, the National Assembly) on its programmes of inspection. The new section 41B makes provision for the Commission to charge RSLs for inspection. The Secretary of State (or, in relation to RSLs registered with the National Assembly for Wales, the Assembly) may make an order authorising the Commission to charge fees, but only after consultation. If so authorised, the Commission would have to consult on the level of fees. The amendment made by subsection (3) of the section requires the Commission to balance its income and expenditure on RSL inspection over time. The amendment made by subsection (4) of the section authorises the Secretary of State and Assembly to pay grant to the Commission.

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