www.communities.gov.uk

Public bodies

Public Bodies help the Department for Communities and Local Government carry out some of its policies at arm's length from ministers.

During the summer of 2010 Government ministers set three key tests for retaining such bodies:

  1. Did it perform a technical function?
  2. Did it establish facts?
  3. Did its functions require political impartiality?

All of the Department's bodies were assessed against these key tests. The reforms are indicated against each of the bodies below. Some bodies have already been abolished, others are to be merged, abolished or have their functions transferred to other organisations.

The Department in common with other government departments has several types of Public Bodies. Use the links below to find out more.

Advisory

Advisory bodies provide independent expert advice to Ministers and officials on specific issues. Generally they are set up administratively by ministers without the need for legislation. They do not usually have staff, but are provided with administrative (secretariat) support by their sponsor department. They do not usually have a budget of their own, as their costs are met from the department's expenditure.

The following body was retained:

Building Regulations Advisory Committee
Advises on building regulations for England and Wales. This body is being retained on the grounds of performing a technical function.

Executive

Executive bodies are established by statute and carry out administrative, regulatory and commercial functions. They employ their own staff and are allocated their own budgets. All executive bodies are subject to external audit.

The following bodies are being retained:

Homes and Communities Agency (external link)
The national housing and regeneration agency for England. This body is being retained and substantially reformed.

Independent Housing Ombudsman Limited (external link)
Considers complaints against member organisations, and other housing disputes. This body is being retained on the grounds of impartiality.

Public Corporations

Similar to Executive bodies but are self-funding or mainly self-funding bodies that set fees and charges for their services.

Architects Registration Board (external link)
Independent regulator of all UK-registered architects. This corporation is being retained on the grounds of impartiality.

Other

Local Government Ombudsman/Commission for Local Administration (external link)
Investigates complaints about councils (and some other bodies) in England on housing, planning, education, social services, council tax, housing benefit and highways. This body is being retained on the grounds of impartiality.

Changes

Provision has been made in the Public Bodies Bill and the Localism Bill for the following proposals. Some bodies are either being abolished, merged or their functions devolved to another organisation over the next few months. See comments against relevant body.

Executive

Community Development Foundation (external link)
Public Body status to be removed, the Community Development Foundation will be supported by the Department to develop as a social enterprise.

Firebuy (external link)
This body is being abolished, procurement functions are being transferred to alternative suppliers and residual functions to the Department.

Infrastructure Planning Commission (external link)
This body is being abolished and a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit is to be created within the Planning Inspectorate.

Tenant Services Authority (external link)
This body is being abolished, regulatory functions to be passed to the Homes and Communities Agency. Independent economic regulation safeguarded. Consumer regulation slimmed down.

Standards for England (external link)
This body and its functions are being abolished.

Valuation Tribunal Service (external link)
This body is being abolished and its functions will be transferred to the Ministry of Justice's HM Courts Tribunal Service.

Urban Development Corporations: Thurrock, London Thames Gateway and West Northamptonshire (external links)
These corporations are being abolished and their functions to be devolved to local government.

Public Corporations

Audit Commission (external link)
This corporation is being disbanded, the audit practice to be transferred into private ownership.

Tribunals

Residential Property Tribunal Service (external link)
This is being abolished and jurisdiction of the Rent Assessment Panel tribunals will be transferred to Ministry of Justice's HM Courts Tribunal Service.

Valuation Tribunal for England (external link)
This body is being abolished and jurisdiction of these tribunals will be transferred to Ministry of Justice's HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

Other

Olympic Park Legacy Company (external link)
Co-owned by the Mayor and Government the Olympic Park Legacy Company is responsible for the long-term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park and its facilities after the 2012 Games. Its functions will be devolved to the Mayor of London and reconstituted as a Mayoral Development Corporation.

The following body is under review:

The Leasehold Advisory Service (external link)
Provides free legal advice and information on all aspects of residential leasehold and commonhold law in England and Wales. The future of the Leaseholder Advisory Service is under consideration and the Department will work towards a future merger with a specialist advice service.

The following bodies and their functions were abolished in 2010 as part of the Arms Length Body Review.

Advisory

Advisory Panel for the Local Innovation Awards
Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate

Executive

National Housing and Planning Advice Unit
National Tenant Voice

Transparency

The Department for Communities and Local Government is fully committed to the Government's transparency agenda. The Department's Arms Lengths Bodies have also committed to publishing their spending data (see 'On this site' top right).

Related publications

You may also be interested in …

On this site

Have your say

My favourites