Welsh regulator to launch new framework

Social housing providers in Wales now have a new judgement framework to work with, following an announcement from the regulator.

 

Regulation

The new framework comes ahead of a legislative move next year in reaction to the ONS decision to make housing associations in Wales public bodies.

But the regulator maintains that nothing has really changed, stating that the regulatory reform is not a retracement away from a regulated sector.

It is in this environment it is launching a judgement framework, something it calls a ‘made in Wales’ solution.

The aim is to improve clarity and transparency, showing where governance and viability is not performing as it should be.

The framework will see an annual review of every housing association in Wales, placing them on a scale of which they will then be judged.

As is the case in England, there are four aspects to be judged on, Standard, Increased, Intervention and Statutory Action.

The regulator has said the aim is to “get a framework that supports what housing associations do.”

It said the framework will “continue to ensure that Wales has well run, financially robust housing associations providing high quality and improving services to their tenants.”

It also hopes to further build relationships within housing associations, using compliance statements and self-assessments to judge associations.

Key to the success of this will be the tight-knit sector in Wales, with the framework being developed after extensive work with a series of key stakeholders in the sector.

There is also a focus on the importance of tenants in the new regulation, saying they are “at the heart” of it.

Lenders are also enthusiastic for the new framework, something the regulator has called “important”.

It also noted there were no fees planned for the regulation, as could be the case in England. The regulator also stated that “to unlock private sector money, we need to have a strong reputation. This new framework will give us that.”

The framework was unveiled by Carl Sargeant, cabinet secretary for communities and children in Wales, at Community Housing Cymru’s annual conference.

He also announced an extra £30m social housing grant and a new pact between government, CHC and Welsh Local Government Association to commit to help build 20,000 affordable homes.

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