SECTION 1: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
1. This Guidance has been published following a consultation with stakeholders over the period April to July 2013.
What is the purpose of the Guidance?
2. The purpose of this Guidance is to consolidate information on the role of the housing revenue account ( HRA): how it must operate; who the resources contained within it are meant to benefit; and what outcomes can be expected from those resources.
3. This guidance supplements, but does not replace, the original statutory requirement for authorities to account for the costs associated with the HRA as set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. In particular, it seeks to lay out the basis for the costs of goods and services being charged to the HRA (and the revenues that accrue to the HRA) and how they should ultimately be benefiting council tenants.
Who will benefit from this Guidance?
4. The Guidance should assist and can be used as a reference point on local discussions relating to HRAs by a number of separate groups:
a) This document will help council tenants to better understand and provide better transparency about what must and must not be credited and debited to the HRA in their area and why. It will also provide a basis for discussions between local authority landlords and tenants on how each landlord is achieving certain outcomes expected of them as laid out in Scottish Social Housing Charter introduced in April 2012.
b) The wider population of residents in mixed tenure estates, council taxpayers and taxpayers in Scotland who fund local authority services and who can use the document to see the rationale for the possibility of charging non-council tenants for HRA paid-for services from which they might currently benefit; to see what must and must not be credited and debited to the HRA; and to see what wider housing-related costs and income must be credited and debited to the general services revenue account (General Fund) in their area and why.
c) Though there is legislation and accounting practice relating to the HRA, it is important to set out the basis for each local authority landlord so they can operate to the same set of guidelines about what they must and must not be crediting and debiting to the HRA so that a consistent approach is taken across Scotland.
d) These guidelines will provide a readily available and up-to-date policy basis for Audit Scotland and independent firms of auditors to carry out their auditing duties in relation to local authority accounts.
Roles and responsibilities
5. Table 1 is a summary of the relevant roles and responsibilities of council landlords, tenants and their representative bodies, auditors, central government and professional accountancy and other bodies. It is important to be clear about these roles so that tenants in particular can align their expectations for any improvements they seek to the correct person or body.
Email: HRA Guidance