Consumer Regulation Review 2018/19

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Consumer Regulation Review 2018/19

Tenant safety must be a strategic priority for all landlords. The recently published Consumer Regulation Review 2018/19 highlights several key messages for organisations to support this, including:

  • Registered providers having robust reporting and assurance arrangements in place, which are supported by good quality data and effective compliance systems.
  • The need for registered providers to be able to understand, and demonstrate compliance across all aspects of the consumer standard. Including how they engage with tenants, and allocate their properties.
  • Delivering compliance through good governance, and by having the right organisational culture in place.
  • Building quality relationships with tenants based on trust and confidence.

Common pitfalls:

These messages support the most common pitfalls we see in organisations:

Governance and Leadership – leaders must set clear priorities. Too often, operational staff drive the compliance agenda.

Policy principles and Strategic choices – should come from the top. Without this, decisions are made in isolation. Effective policy setting gives clarity of purpose, controls risk and prioritises decision making.

Reassurance vs Assurance – intentional or not, a false sense of security does not keep anybody safe. An open, honest, no blame culture is the only way to achieve assurance.

Reporting – Boards need a clear picture to understand their risk exposure. Leaders and Boards ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ – they need certainty of the true and complete picture, including how compliance is managed and the resulting performance.

Competency and Validation – clear roles and responsibilities, accountability and skilled, qualified people alongside third-party auditing provide important ‘lines of defence’.

Asset data and Inspection records – by far the biggest issue we see – disparate systems, complex data structures and poor data quality – a minefield of risks to address. Simplicity should be the goal.

What are the consequences’ of not getting this right?

The consumer regulation review illustrates what can happen if things go wrong. But importantly, only 1% of referrals resulted in breaches and serious detriment. Being open and transparent with the regulator is important and failure to do so often indicates a broader range of governance concerns.

Breaches we regularly see include:

  • Lack of governance control with policies, management plans and registers not in place.
  • Serious data issues that prevent accurate reporting of the compliance position.
  • Risk assessments and inspection programmes not in place.
  • Lack of ‘assurance’ on follow up actions or no plan for clearing ‘compliance backlogs’.
  • Non-compliant survey templates.

So how is your organisation doing?

  • Is your approach based on robust governance & leadership?
  • Do you have a clear approach to compliance?
  • Have you been lucky so far?
  • Learn from others mistakes – it is much easier!
  • Consider ‘lessons learned’ and use them to challenge your own approach.

How we can help…

At Pennington Choices, we work closely with registered providers to ensure that tenants are not at risk, and that statutory compliance obligations are being met. Our consultants and technical experts work across fire safety, gas safety, electrical safety, asbestos management and water hygiene, to help landlords deliver their statutory obligations, and advise on how they can overcome any shortfalls.

We keep things simple…

The breadth of our experience across the sector means we understand what to look for and can work with you to support the journey to full compliance and tenant safety.

For more information, on how we can help you, get in touch with Sarah Davies, our Head of Consultancy today.

The Consumer Regulation Review can be found here.

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