Covid-19 and the RSH

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Article

01 May, 2020

Last month, the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) wrote to all RPs and local authorities regarding its expectations and regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In its letter, the RSH confirmed that its shared priority across the sector was to maintain tenant safety.

Subsequently, the RSH has published a further update to indicate how it expects to conduct regulation throughout this unprecedented period. In particular, the RSH has confirmed that:

  1. It has postponed the deadline for Financial Viability Assessment submissions;
  2. It will take a proportionate approach to value for money regulation;
  3. It has paused its programme of In-depth Assessments for the time being; and
  4. It has paused its work to upgrade current G2 and G3 judgements.

Deadline for Financial Viability Assessment Submissions

In announcing it has postponed the deadline for FV assessment submissions, the RSH confirmed that it recognises that RPs may face challenges in submitting within the 6 month statutory deadline. The RSH has asked that RPs make submissions as soon as reasonably practicable but confirmed that it will not take action against RPs if there is a delay in submitting a return by up to 3 months. The RSH has also advised it has postponed the deadline for FV electronic accounts submission to 31 December 2020.

RSH Approach to VFM Regulation

The RSH has recognised that reporting on the VFM standard may be challenging in the current climate as RPs are having to make urgent decisions regarding the prioritisation of resources. The RSH states the following action should be taken by RPs in relation to VFM regulation:

  • Calculate your VFM metrics from your accounts and report as usual; and
  • If you are unable to provide the level of reporting that you would otherwise have done, the RSH will take a proportionate response.

IDAs

Whilst the RSH has paused its programme of IDAs for the time being, it will continue to publish regulatory judgements until the end of June 2020 based upon work that has already been completed or from ongoing reactive engagement.

These regulatory judgements will be published as they are ready, rather than on the monthly basis which we are used to seeing from the RSH.

G2 and G3 Judgements

Finally, the RSH has confirmed that its work to upgrade current G2 and G3 judgements has been paused to allow both the RSH and RPs to focus on responding to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The RSH will remain in touch with non-compliant RPs to monitor their on-going progress.

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and guidance is being updated on a regular basis. The RSH's latest statements in relation to coronavirus can be found here.

For more information contact Bethany Paliga in our Governance, Procurement & Information department via email or phone on 01254 222347. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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