As we near the exit of a turbulent 2020, we are left to reflect on a year unlike most others. However, even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the safety of residents remained paramount throughout, and both the government and Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) released a number of publications to remind us that this was the case.
As we enter 2021, now is a useful time to reflect on the key messages from the RSH’s Consumer Regulation Review to understand where priorities should be focussed in the new year. The Consumer Regulation Review is published each year by the RSH and summarises its findings around consumer regulation work and housing providers’ adherence to its consumer standards.
Worryingly, the RSH found 15 cases of serious detriment and consumer standards breaches. In addition, the number of non-compliant providers had increased ‘significantly over the last year’. We highlight the key messages for housing providers and local authorities from the Consumer Regulation Review below.
- Tenants must be treated with fairness and respect, and you must demonstrate that you have taken their diverse needs into account.
- You should respond to complaints promptly and effectively, and address emerging issues at an early stage.
- You should be able to demonstrate and evidence compliance with the consumer standards.
- You should be clear on your legal and regulatory responsibilities as well as having a good understanding your stock – with robust reporting and governance oversight.
- You should ensure there is good quality data and effective systems to provide effective assurances.
- You should be open and transparent with the regulator (in the spirit of co-regulation) as well as with your tenants and stakeholders.
As outlined helpfully in the key messages above, the RSH is clear around what it expects of housing providers. And going forward, there will be further clarification around these expectations as indicated in the recently published Social Housing White Paper. This White Paper presents the case for a strengthened regulator and a review of the consumer standards to ensure they explicitly cover property health and safety, and clarity on what landlords are required to deliver.
- How is your organisation doing?
- Do you have confidence in your organisation’s approach to property compliance and health and safety?
- Is your approach based on robust governance and leadership?
- What is your compliance performance record – have you been lucky so far?
How we can help…
If you are less than confident in your answers to the above questions, then we can help you. We understand the common pitfalls that stump housing providers, and therefore we can help you to learn from others’ mistakes – which is much easier! Considering lessons learned, based on our experiences within the sector, can encourage you to challenge your own approach.
At Pennington Choices, our consultants and technical experts have vast experience in the ‘big six’ areas of property compliance: gas, electric, fire, asbestos, water hygiene and lifts. We work closely with housing providers to ensure that resident safety is prioritised and that statutory compliance obligations are being met.
We keep things simple…
Our breadth of experience across the sector means that we understand what effective compliance management looks like and we can support you along that journey.
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