Social Housing Regulator Updates Guidance

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The Homes and Communities Agency (the Social Housing Regulatory) has updated its guidance known as ‘Regulating the Standards’, which outlines the Regulator’s regulatory approach.

In 2015 the Social Housing Regulator published changes to the regulatory framework which included changes to the Governance and Financial Viability Standard, the Rent Standard, General Consent and introduced a Code of Practice. Further information is available on our blog. These changes widened the obligations of Registered Providers in complying with the framework. That was followed with an update of ‘the Regulating Standards’ in June 2015.

As a result of further legislative changes, the Social Housing Regulator has once again updated ‘the Regulating Standards’. In the latest update the Social Housing Regulator explains that the focus is on “promoting a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector” and that the changes are necessary due to a change of approach to the Rent Standard as a result of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

In relation to the Rent Standard, the Social Housing Regulator provides that it expects Registered Providers of Social Housing to take steps to ensure that they fully understand the new rules and take appropriate advice as necessary. This is because Registered Providers are expected to demonstrate that they comply with all relevant law as part of the Governance and Financial Viability Standard. As such it is incumbent on each Registered Provider of Social Housing that they are complying with this legislative regime and are able to certify that they are complying. Instances where there is non-compliance, will be investigated and appropriate action taken by the Social Housing Regulator.

Since the introduction of this requirement to comply with all relevant law, this has been an important obligation for RPs. This means that relevant teams within assurance of an RP need to have an awareness of all the obligations and have relevant strategies in place which correspond to all relevant obligations. Whereas Board also need to have an understanding of the RPs legal obligations and how it is going about discharging those in order to able to certify that the RP is in compliance with all relevant law.

The ‘Regulating the Standards’ provides an overview of the Social Regulator’s regulatory approach, which is useful for RPs as part of their role in co-regulation. The latest version also notes that the Value for Money Standard is a core part of every In-Depth Assessment, which RPs should be aware of and prepare for accordingly.

Due to legislative changes such as the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (once it enters into force), the Social Housing Regulator anticipates that further changes will be made to the ‘Regulating the Standards’.

The Forbes Housing and Regeneration team has experience of assisting RP officers and Boards in complying with the Regulatory Framework in assessing specific projects or policies and processes more generally. We have also provided training to Boards on certifying compliance with all relevant law. If we can assist on any query please contact Daniel Milnes.

 

Nat Avdiu

About Nat Avdiu

Nat Avdiu is a Paralegal in the Contracts and Projects team at Forbes Solicitors. Nat provides updates for clients on a range of issues including: governance, data protection and freedom of information, procurement and charity law.
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