My client is proposing to buy temporary accommodation for homeless families. The acquisition is to be financed by using 30% retained RTB receipts and the balance from General Fund borrowing. The argument is that these properties can be defined as Social Housing under Part 2 of Housing & Regeneration Act 2008. Has any other Authorities undertaken such acquisitions and if so how did they get on when the Pooling Return was audited?
My authority has also taken a similar route in terms of TA acquisition, this followed both internal and external legal advice regarding its compliance with the retention agreement. We have been audited, but the TA acquisitions were post audit. My experience of our audit would not however have tested this - it tended to be typical expenditure testing, e.g. provide transaction list, sample of invoice evidence but very little in terms of probing the details of the schemes themselves. we have a different auditor this year and an audit due imminently so I may be in a position to offer greater feedback in the next month.
We are also considering this route, I''d be grateful if you would be willing to share the basis under which housing for temporary accommodation can be classed as social housing. (There are conflicting views here.) My email is Julie.dorrington at nottinghamcity dot gov dot uk (disguised to avoid being added to spam robots).
We''re also looking at this. One of my concerns is that regardless of any legal issues the use of "1 for 1" receipts for temporary accommodation doesn''t appear to sit well with the policy intentions of the "1 for 1" regime and that there may be a risk that the DCLG will terminate the agreement.
Yes, there may be that risk. However, this is mitigated by (a) DCLG being unlikely to find out about it, unless flagged up by auditors to them [and that''s why I''m posting anonymously]; (b) although it may not be in the spirit, it seems to be within the letter of the agreements, and there''s nothing prohibiting it; and (c) that if DCLG want to abrogate the agreement then let them worry about how to spend the money while our Members make hay with the political repercussions of DCLG robbing LAs again and preventing us delivering on their Homelessness strategy (such as it is).
I think we''re all running out of options for spending 1-4-1 and dealing with homelessness, and a modicum of risk is perfectly justified!
We are looking to construct temporary accommodation and have approached DCLG about the use of RTB receipts and have had confirmation that the use would appear to meet that requirements of the agreement in terms of S68(1)(a) of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, low cost rental accommodation, below market rent, meeting the needs of those not adequately served by the commercial housing market. But that this would need to be agreed with our Auditors as they sign off the return, which they are happy to do.