Commission is to undertake an independent scrutiny role in relation
to the preparation and subsequent delivery of the strategic market
restructuring schemes that each of the low demand pathfinders is
Independent scrutiny will add real value in three key areas:
- during development of pathfinder strategic plans - so as to provide
feedback to the pathfinders in advance of finalisation of schemes
- prior to a formal submission to the ODPM, giving government an
informed and independent assessment of the quality of each scheme
- in the subsequent delivery of pathfinder schemes to ensure they
deliver to scheme targets and outcomes
Mr Rooker said:
'A key plank of our approach on the low demand pathfinders is that
they should be performance driven throughout.
'Independent scrutiny will add real value, offering each pathfinder
valuable feedback as they develop their pathfinder strategies whilst
providing the government with an informed and independent assessment
of the quality of each scheme.'
The Audit Commission has a well respected track record in the field
of inspection. This, and the fact that they are an independent body,
will enable them to report on pathfinder schemes without fear or
Roy Irwin, chief inspector of housing at the Audit Commission said:
'The low demand pathfinder projects represent a major opportunity to
make a real difference to communities blighted by low demand and
'In committing to the pathfinders, government needs to be assured that
the schemes the pathfinders present are appropriate to local
circumstances based on robust intelligence that will deliver
long-term sustainable outcomes. The Audit Commission is well placed
to give government an informed an independent assessment of each
pathfinders plans and their subsequent delivery.'
1. In April the government invited nine areas where the problems of
low demand and abandonment are most acute to work with government to
establish pathfinder projects. The nine areas are:
- Newcastle and Gateshead
- Humberside (Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire)
- South Yorkshire (parts of Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and
- Birmingham and Sandwell (north west Birmingham and east Sandwell)
- North Staffordshire (Stoke and east Newcastle under Lyme)
- Manchester and Salford (north and east Manchester and central
- Merseyside (inner Liverpool, south Sefton and parts of Wirral);
- Oldham and Rochdale
- East Lancashire (Blackburn, Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle)
2. The projects' aim is to provide lasting solutions for communities
blighted by derelict homes through investment and innovation. They
will do this by developing a strategic approach for regenerating
their sub-regional housing markets that will bring together key
stakeholders, inform future investment, and include social and
economic regeneration alongside housing. There will be opportunities
for other areas affected to learn from the pathfinder projects.
3. The pathfinder projects will enable the proper preparation that is
so vital if capital investment spending is to achieve good value.
Independent scrutiny by the Audit Commission of the strategic schemes
that each pathfinder is required to prepare and their subsequent
delivery will underpin this.
4. In carrying out this work the commission will utilise skill
already honed through inspection regimes and supplement these will
other skills to reflect the social and economic regeneration agendas
the low demand pathfinders need to pursue alongside housing.
5. The development of pathfinders' strategic plans is being assisted
by£25m made available through the Capital Modernisation Fund.
Further funding for the pathfinder projects will be announced by the
deputy prime minister early in the new year.