In March, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping, Eddie Hughes, launched a new package of measures aimed at strengthening the regulation of exempt accommodation providers.
The announcement has been a long time coming and follows on from a number of high profile investigations by the RSH and rapidly increasing numbers of exempt accommodation, particularly in (but not limited to) the Midlands. The measures announced include:
- clearer definitions for the level of care providers are expected to provide;
- more power to local authorities to take action against ‘unscrupulous’ providers; and
- changes to housing benefit regulations which will seek to define ‘care, support and supervision’ to improve the quality and value for money of exempt accommodation provision.
The statement confirmed that any measures which require legislative changes will be introduced “when parliamentary time allows” (a phrase the sector is accustomed to). In addition, Mr Hughes announced that £20m of funding has been set aside for a three-year Supported Housing Improvement Programme (the Programme) which will be open to bids from all local authorities “and build on the clear successes of the supported housing pilots”. The Programme intends to drive up standards in the sector in some of the worst affected areas whilst the Government develops and implements longer term regulatory changes.
Whilst the statement confirms the Government’s intention to take further legislative steps in an effort to reform the regulation of exempt accommodation providers, the real change will come once legislation is brought forward. Watch this space for any updates.
Read the full statement and package here.
For more information, please contact Rose Klemperer.