Maxine Loftus from the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) joined us for our Spotlight on social housing webinar series in June 2021, discussing a variety of topics including the Social Housing White Paper update.
Whilst there were no bills in this year’s Queen’s Speech to implement the proposals in the White Paper, the RSH is continuing to develop its approach to deliver the aims around enhancements to how the Consumer Standards are regulated, including the development of a suite of measures for tenant satisfaction. The message from the RSH was clear – irrespective of any delays in the legislative process, act now, don’t wait. RPs know what is in the White Paper and being ready will hold you in good stead for when proactive regulation does commence. RPs should be aware of the following specific areas:
The RSH continues to publish its Regulatory Notices when it finds an RP has breached the Consumer Standards, which are insightful learning tools. The key message from the Regulator is to learn from other RPs’ mistakes and ensure your organisation does not commit them.
In the context of the consumer standards, RPs should recognise that quality data is a cross-cutting theme here. Key points for Boards are around understanding what controls you have over data and getting quality assurance over the integrity of that data.
How RPs respond to complaints from tenants is a key focus of the White Paper and is an area in which RPs can expect greater scrutiny in future, from both the RSH and the Housing Ombudsman. It is important for Boards to be mindful of how complaints speak to the culture of your organisation. How you respond when things go wrong says a lot about your culture and the nature of your relationship with your tenants. Some questions to ask your organisations include:
Just how well are you performing in this area, and how honest a reflection is this of your customers' experience of your services?
Do you look at trends over time, including complaints from shared owners?
Does your organisation really hear and learn from what tenants are telling you?
Does your Board have sufficient oversight of complaints and a sufficient understanding of any underlying issues and their causes?
In June 2021, we hosted a webinar series putting the spotlight on the UK social housing sector. We gathered a range of speakers both from within the Mazars team and from those working within the sector, covering a variety of topics from the delivery of ESG targets to cybersecurity, and including a view from the Regulators of both England and Wales.