Report criticises ODPM for lack of joined-up thinking and says it has not checked if schemes offer good value
The RICS has accused the government of failing to think through its plan to renew housing in areas of low demand using housing market renewal "Pathfinder" schemes.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is in the process of launching nine Pathfinders as part of its communities plan. These involve searching for "radical solutions through investment and innovation".

A RICS report has said that there is a "lack of clarity" over what the ODPM is trying to achieve with the programme.

In particular, the report warns that renewing housing will not lead to economically sustainable communities unless it is co-ordinated with action to improve the environment that the housing is in.

It says: "Wider housing market renewal will be dependent on the Pathfinders ensuring other partners deliver non-housing neighbourhood improvements. The aims and timescales of these wider neighbourhood initiatives are different from those of the Pathfinders and need to be joined."

The RICS' report draws attention to what it says is a failure to assess whether the Pathfinders are good value for money compared with "different or no action".

The government should compare the cost to the public with different or no action

RICS report

The report's authors express surprise that the Treasury appears not to have taken a closer interest in the "value for money" of the initiative.

The nine Pathfinder areas are in Manchester, Merseyside, East Lancashire, Oldham, South Yorkshire, Humberside, Tyneside, North Staffordshire and Birmingham.

In February, John Prescott announced funding totalling £286m for the Manchester, Tyneside and Merseyside Pathfinders.

The RICS also called for standardised compensation and rehousing packages for households whose homes are compulsorily purchased, and a professional training programme for Pathfinder co-ordinators.