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HOUSING INSPECTORATE WILL HAVE WIDE POWERS TO PUNISH COUNCILS

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Islington LBC could be one of the first targets of the the Audit Commission's new housing inspectorate, council off...
Islington LBC could be one of the first targets of the the Audit Commission's new housing inspectorate, council officers believe.

The Islington Gazette (p1) reports that the new body will work like Ofsted and will have wide powers to punish failing authorities.

The inspectorate is likely to look at how long it takes for council houses in the borough to be re-let. Other housing issues likely to be examined include how clean estates are, how long it takes to complete repairs and how many council-owned properties are empty.

Inspections will take up to four weeks and grade an authority on its performance, value for money and scope for improvement.

Ed Featherstone, chairman of the council's performance review committee, said: 'The new housing authority will have the power to take failing services away from us. As a last resort that could mean taking the whole of housing out of our hands and putting it into the hands of someone else, such as a housing association.

'I have talked to our chief of housing, Andy Jennings, and he told me that he would not be surprised if we are the first authority to be examined by the new inspectorate.'

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