We need more regulation and inspection, not less, say Roger Jarman, the Audit Commission’s former head of housing, Eric Goodyer and John Cookson, while David Nowell and Ian Barrett call for a rethink of benefits means testing

Polly Toynbee is right to point to the failures of regulation as a factor behind the Grenfell Tower disaster (A leader too afraid to meet her people is finished, 17 June). Unlike the healthcare, social care and education sectors, social housing in England no longer has an inspection regime that assesses the performance of landlords delivering services to the 4 million households living in housing association or local authority housing. Between 2000 and 2010 the Audit Commission carried out 1,400 housing inspections of housing associations and local authorities, but when the commission was abolished by the coalition government these inspections stopped.

The current social housing regulator – the Homes and Communities Agency – focuses its resources on the “financial viability” and “governance” of housing associations; its interest in service delivery is almost non-existent. Some of the commission’s inspections focused on safety issues in social housing (particularly gas safety).

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