Section 36: Supply of information by rent officers
197.This section establishes a clear gateway for the transfer of information from rent officers to the Department for Work and Pensions by inserting a new section 122F into the Social Security Administration Act. Subsection (1) of the new section 122F enables the Secretary of State to require rent officers to provide housing benefit information to him or someone providing services to him. Subsection (2) enables him to make directions which may impose requirements about the supply of such information and the form and manner in which it is to be provided.
198.This information will be used for social security purposes, along with the other purposes listed in 122F(1)(b)-(e). For example:
To monitor determinations made for the housing benefit cases that are referred to rent officers;
Carry out policy analysis - for example on the impact of any future changes to the way the local housing allowance is set; and
Use the information for benefit expenditure forecasts.
199.Subsection (3) ensures that the information sharing provision meets the information sharing principles of the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This will be necessary once the Secretary of State’s responsibilities for the appointment, renumeration and administration of rent officers transfer to the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on 1st of April 2009 and the work of The Rent Service in England is integrated into the Valuation Office Agency (an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).