Deputy Prime Minister written question – answered on 1st March 2004.

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Photo of Mr Andy King Mr Andy King Labour, Rugby and Kenilworth

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers he has to enforce appropriate standards in the housing departments of local authorities.

Photo of Keith Hill Keith Hill Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

The Local Government Act 1999 provides powers that can be exercised if my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister is satisfied that a local authority is failing to comply with part 1 of the Act. The provisions of the Act requires that services, including housing services, are:

responsive to the needs of citizens of a high quality and cost effective; and air and accessible to all who need them.

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister will exercise intervention powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act and other comparable legislation only when there is clear evidence that an authority is failing either to discharge its functions adequately or failing to meet its statutory obligations. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's powers are wide ranging, from directing the council to prepare a plan or perform a specified function through to removing specified functions from the council and appointing a nominee to exercise them.

Comprehensive Performance Assessments are in place to help identify local authorities' strengths and weaknesses, and provide a basis for improvement planning which the duty of best value confers.

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