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TSA confirms the death of the routine inspection

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TSA confirms the death of the routine inspection

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

TSA confirms the death of the routine inspection TSA confirms the death of the routine inspection

The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) has announced that from 1 July 2011 there will no longer be any routine inspections of registered providers, and it will only use its power to address serious failure.

The move forms part of the regulator's new approach to social housing inspection  following the conclusion of its consultation – Investigating regulatory concerns: inspecting TSA standards.

These inspection arrangements - which replace the transitional arrangements for social housing inspections that have been in place since November 2010 - will last at least until April 2012, before the regulator moves into the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The TSA said it received "overwhelmingly positive responses" to the proposals.

The main features of the new approach to social housing inspection are:

• Inspections are no longer routine: The Regulator will only use its power in order to investigate where there is reason to believe a provider may be seriously failing TSA standards or regulatory requirements
• The TSA will draw up a bespoke brief to specify the scope of an inspection, so Audit Commission key lines of enquiry (KLOE) will no longer be used for housing services inspections (i.e. section 193 standards)
• This brief will require the inspectors to provide clear evidence of whether there has been a failure of a standard or regulatory requirement
• The TSA will decide the final judgment on the fact of a breach and whether the failure is serious
• Where failure is identified, in most cases the Regulator would expect to publish the inspection report, subject to any applicable exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. The TSA’s published regulatory judgments will normally reflect the findings of an inspection commissioned by the TSA.

Tracy Allison, Hyde Group Director of Risk and Governance, said: “We welcome the TSA’s new approach to social housing inspections to only use its inspection power where there is evidence of serious failure. We believe that the best approach to assessing performance is to establish a productive dialogue with our residents. This ensures that services continuously improve and are tailored to the needs of local people. Residents are the best inspectors of services and that is why we have invested in ‘resident inspections’ to ensure we are meeting the standards they expect of us.”

Further consultation on the use of the regulator's powers will take place later in 2011, the TSA said, following the passage of the Localism Bill through Parliament.

The regulator will then set out at that time any further review of the way it uses inspection, including the implications of the proposed “serious detriment” threshold for the regulator’s intervention on consumer matters. 

The arrangements in place from July 2011 refer to serious failure of standards as prescribed in the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008, and are not intended to pre-empt the Regulator’s future consultation on regulatory guidance on serious detriment.

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