Levelling Up Committee criticises ‘repeat offender’ DLUHC for delayed Government responses to Committee reports
21 Sep 2023 11:25 AM
The cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee recently (19 September 2023) published a Special Report which expresses ‘concern and disappointment’ at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for its persistent poor performance in the timeliness of Government responses to Committee reports.
The Committee’s report states that DLUHC has not responded to any of the Committee’s seven reports (in the Session 2022-23) within two months of publication. This is despite the well-established convention that government departments should respond to all select committee reports within two months.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Chair, Clive Betts MP, recently said:
“The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has previously been identified as a ‘repeat offender’ for its egregiously overdue responses. It is concerning and disappointing that the Committee continues to spend excessive time and resources on chasing the Department for updates and that this is frequently to no avail.
“The Committee has published reports on a range of important areas such as adult social care, social housing, and the private rented sector. The lack of timely responses to our reports significantly inhibits our constitutional role to scrutinise the work of the Department. These issues matter greatly to the wider public. DLUHC should urgently get its house in order and respond swiftly to our Reforming the Private Rented Sector report, published seven months ago, and take steps to rectify these persistent delays.”
The Committee published its Reforming the Private Rented Sector Report on 9 February 2023, making a series of recommendations to Government in relation to plans to ban section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, the student rental sector, and holiday lets. The Committee is yet to receive the Government response to the PRS report. This is despite commitments from Ministers that a response would be published alongside the introduction of the Renters (Reform) Bill in May 2023.
Analysing the publication of Government responses to the Committee, the report summarises that responses have been nearly six months late on average in the 2022-23 Session. The report highlights that in the case of the Committee’s ‘Permitted Development Rights’ Report, published in July 2021, the Government finally responded 20 months later than the two-month deadline.
The Committee’s report recommends the Cabinet Secretary provide his assessment of why the delay has occurred (including with the work of the team responsible for Private Rented Sector Policy and its role in producing a response to the Committee’s Reforming the Private Rented Sector Report); and what steps are being taken to rectify this.
The also asks the Liaison Committee to consider conducting a formal review of the Government’s response times to and communications with select committees about their reports and look to take into account the Committee’s experiences with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.