Housing bodies get audit warning

Concerned about a recent deterioration in their finances and risky moves into commercial ventures, the all-party Commons group wants these housing bodies to improve the quality and qualifications of their financial regulatory staff.

The PAC also wants the Housing Corporation – the national body responsible for investing public money in housing associations – to develop a new, more robust, regulatory regime and ‘seek independent validation of key information by RSL’s internal or external auditors to provide greater assurance of the informations reliability as a basis for regulatory judgements and greater efficiency in the use of regulators time.’

The PAC added: ‘As financial performance in the sector comes under further pressure, the Housing Corporation must maintain a rigorous approach to identifying and following up weaker performing RSLs. They should not lower their benchmarks because of pressure on their own resources.’

The watchdog said the problems currently hitting housing associations included rent arrears, late payment of housing benefit receipts and falling demand for rented social housing.

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