Grant Shapps: Landlords throw open their books
Major landlords are to follow ministers' requests to open their books to taxpayers and tenants and let them see how they spend their rent money, Grant Shapps said today.
Mr Shapps welcomed the news that Adactus, Hyde and Sanctuary housing associations - who between them manage over 100,000 homes - are to follow in the footsteps of Whitehall and Town Halls and publish details of their spending for all to see.
These latest housing associations join the likes of Home Group, Viridian and Hereford Housing in embracing transparency by throwing open their books. But Mr Shapps warned that too many landlords were "still way behind the curve" and needed to follow the example set today.
Nation of Armchair auditors
From the start Grant Shapps has been clear that housing associations should do as councils do - and the Department for Communities and Local Government itself does - and publish details of their spending. Home Group were first to answer the call in 2011, and now routinely publish detail of all spending above £500 - with Viridian and Hereford Housing Associations doing the same from earlier this year.
Mr Shapps said he was "delighted" that Adactus, Hyde and Sanctuary will now also make their spending information public for the first time. But he argued that with the range of measures taken since May 2010 to open Whitehall's accounts to scrutiny, more landlords should take this action.
Since November 2010, the Department for Communities and Local Government has listed all spending over £500.
The moves have been part of wider efforts to create what ministers have called a "nation of armchair auditors" - able to see first hand how their taxes are spent.
Grant Shapps said:
"I am delighted that Adactus, Hyde and Sanctuary will be throwing open their books to scrutiny for the first time - this is a real step forward that will increase tenants' confidence in the value for money they receive, and help these landlords become even more efficient in what they do. I would like to congratulate them in making this huge step forward, following in the path of Whitehall and Town Halls in making their work more transparent.
"This increases the number of housing associations routinely publishing this information but still means the majority of social landlords are way behind the curve. In contrast, councils across the country are already making this data available, so residents can see how money is spent and crack down on waste, from excessive salaries to cab fares.
"So I want to see more housing associations follow what Adactus, Hyde and Sanctuary have today said they'll do and put the power of the paper trail firmly in the hands of their residents. This is now an inevitable trend that all social landlords must join."