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Current Government Consultations - September 2018

A brief summary of current government consultations of potential interest to RSN members. This is not intended as an exhaustive list of all relevant consultations.


This edition includes a suggested RSN draft response in relation to a call for evidence from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy. If you wish to view this draft response please click here


A New Deal for Social Housing – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Government have launched a Green Paper on social housing together with a related call for evidence concerning the regulatory framework and a consultation with regard to the use of money raised from Right to Buy sales.

Government state: “The social housing green paper proposes fundamental reform to ensure social homes provide an essential, safe, well managed service for all those who need it. We will consider how we can re-balance the relationship between residents and landlords to ensure issues are resolved swiftly and residents’ voices are heard.

“To support this vision there is a powerful case to be made for strengthening the regulatory framework so that it not only focuses on the governance and financial viability of housing associations, but also on how residents are treated and the level of services they should expect. We are also publishing a call for evidence which seeks information on how the regulatory framework is operating. This is the first step to a full review of regulation to make sure it is fit for the future.

“We will address the stigma that for too long has been associated with social housing and on which residents all around the country have voiced their concern. We will ensure social housing residents are recognised for their valuable contribution to society.

“We want social housing to support people to get on in life, making it more likely, not less likely, that they will go on to buy their own home, as well as providing essential, good quality and well run homes for those who need them most.

“We are also consulting on options to change the rules governing the money raised from Right to Buy sales to make it easier for councils to build more homes.”

Consultation on the Green Paper and call for evidence closes on 6 November 2018. Consultation on the use of Right to Buy sales closes on 9 October 2018.

Access to Cash Review – Call for Evidence

The independent Access to Cash Review has been established to consider consumer requirements for cash over the next five to fifteen years.

Its main objective is to ensure that there remains an effective and inclusive cash access service that meets the needs of all consumers, regardless of their personal circumstances, for as long as necessary.

The Access to Cash Review will:

  • Understand consumer needs and implications for cash access requirements over the next five to fifteen years.
  • Review the evidence on future trends in cash usage and ATM coverage.
  • Identify and analyse options for retaining nationwide access to cash.
  • Propose a way forward.

The Access to Cash Review has issued a Call for Evidence. The closing date for submissions is 30 September 2018.

Energy Performance Certificates in Buildings – Call for Evidence

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are a widely used measure of the energy performance of buildings, both in the residential and commercial sectors, and are a key tool in promoting energy efficiency improvements to buildings.

This Call is seeking evidence on how EPCs currently perform against 3 attributes: quality; availability; encouraging action to improve energy efficiency.

It also outlines suggestions for improvement, many of which have been advocated by businesses and industry representatives. The list of suggestions is not exhaustive, and inclusion or exclusion should not be taken as an indication of government policy. Additional ideas are welcome, as are views about the relative impact of the ideas listed, and how they might be implemented to best effect.

The deadline for submissions is 19 October 2018.

Feed-In Tariffs Scheme – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) Scheme is the government’s subsidy scheme for generation of renewable electricity from small-scale low-carbon installations.

This consultation sets out a proposal to close the export tariff alongside the generation tariff on 31 March 2019, which would mean full closure of the FITs scheme to new applications after 31 March 2019.

It also seeks views on proposed scheme administrative changes. An impact assessment accompanies the consultation.

This consultation closes on 13 September 2018.

Bus Services Act 2017: accessible information – Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is seeking views on ways to improve information for bus passengers through the Bus Services Act 2017 and accessible information regulations.

They want to introduce regulations that require bus operators to provide audible and visible information on local bus services to help people identify:

  • the route and direction of services
  • each upcoming stop
  • points at which diversions start or end

They intend to specify when this information must be made available and to what standard, leaving it up to operators to select equipment or process that works for them. They propose an approach which recognises the risks to smaller operators, marginal services and community transport.

This consultation closes on 16 September 2018.

Bus Services Act 2017: bus open data – Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is seeking views on ways to improve information for bus passengers through the Bus Services Act 2017 and open data legislation.

Their proposed approach would require operators and local authorities to publish open data digitally for buses in England (outside London). They state that they want to make it easier for bus passengers to plan their journeys through access to routes and timetables data, fares and tickets data, and real time information.

This ‘Bus open data: case for change’ document sets out the case for bus open data.

This consultation closes on 16 September 2018.

Local authority budget setting: mitigating the impact of fair value movements on pooled investment funds – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

From the 2018 to 2019 financial year, local authorities will be required to implement a new accounting standard: IFRS 9 Financial Instruments.

IFRS 9 updates the accounting treatment and risk disclosures to be included in financial statements by entities that hold financial instruments.

The sector has made representations to government claiming that some of the provisions in IFRS 9 Financial Instruments will have negative impacts. The government is consulting on potential mitigations to those provisions.

This consultation closes on 28 September 2018.

Local government finance settlement 2019 to 2020: technical consultation – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

The consultation paper sets out the government’s intended approach for the final year of the multi-year local government finance settlement.

This consultation closes on 18 September 2018.

Independent review of planning appeal inquiries – Call for Evidence

The former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced on 5 March 2018 that there would be an independent end-to-end review of the planning appeal inquiries process. Bridget Rosewell OBE was announced as the independent Chair of the Review on 22 June.

This call for evidence seeks views, particularly from those with direct experience, on the current operation of the planning appeal inquiries process and how it could be improved, so that decisions can be made sooner, but without compromising the quality of the decisions.

Respondents are asked to send in their views by 18 September 2018.

Transport appraisal and modelling strategy: informing future investment decisions – Department for Transport

The Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) appraisal framework aims to provide as full a view as possible about the wide range of impacts transport has on the economy, environment and society. Guidance on how to conduct transport appraisals, WebTAG, draws on best practice in government, academia, and industry. They aim to ensure that it reflects the latest evidence and appraisal methodologies.

This consultation seeks views on the main themes and priorities for developing the evidence base underpinning the appraisal guidance over the next 5 years. They are also seeking views on how to make the guidance more user friendly.

This consultation closes on 15 October 2018.

Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2019 to 2020: call for evidence

This call for evidence sets out the main issues and questions on which Sir David Metcalf, the Director of Labour Market Enforcement, would like to receive evidence for his 2019 to 2020 strategy.

The main topics covered in this call for evidence are:

  • focus on 3 sectors: hotels, restaurants and food services, warehousing
  • use of labour market enforcement bodies’ additional resources and impact
  • use of compliance approaches to enforcement
  • joint working between the state enforcement bodies

The deadline for submissions is 28 September.

Air quality: using cleaner fuels for domestic burning – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The government is consulting on proposals for helping householders move to cleaner fuels for domestic burning. The changes proposed include only allowing the sale of cleaner solid fuels. These proposals apply to England only.

Government state: “Domestic burning is the single largest source of harmful particulate pollution in the UK. Many people do not realise that there are cleaner alternatives, such as dry wood instead of wet, or low-sulphur smokeless fuel instead of coal.”

This consultation closes on 12 October 2018.

Prepared by Andy Dean, Assistant Director at the Rural Services Network


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