The Regulator’s year in review

This last year has been a significant one for the regulator as we became a standalone organisation in October 2018.

Documents and files in an office

Throughout this change, we maintained a clear focus on our core purpose and fundamental objectives.

The last year has also been a period of higher than normal uncertainty.

The external environment that registered providers operate in is constantly evolving, and the social housing sector has continued to diversify, including through consolidation as well as the introduction of novel business models.

This year, we completed the first round of In Depth Assessments (IDAs) for all large providers within the four-year time scale we had set to gain assurance about how registered providers identify and manage their risks.

The backdrop to those four years has seen among other things, rent reductions, welfare changes, the vote to leave the EU and the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Demands on providers have increased as the expectations of tenants, government and the public, rise.

There is a heightened focus on investment in existing homes, both on repairs and building safety measures, the sectors’ contribution to new supply, and the needs of current and future tenants.

Over the last year, all of the cases where we found a breach and serious detriment related to the Home Standard, in particular repairs and maintenance services and providers’ compliance with statutory health and safety requirements across a range of areas.

We have focussed on safety in our annual Consumer regulation reviews to date but will continue to remind providers that our consumer standards include how they engage with tenants, deal with neighbourhood issues, and allocate their homes.

In another of our publications, we issued an addendum to our 2018 ‘Sector risk profile’ outlining the recurring factors that led to a number of lease-based providers of specialised supported housing being assessed as non-compliant with our Governance and Financial Viability Standard.

In our 2019 Sector Risk Profile amongst other factors we highlighted the importance of adequately investing in existing stock, and ensuring necessary scrutiny of the build quality of new stock.

We also emphasised the importance of good quality data to support Boards to make well-informed decisions on key issues like stock quality, rents and safety.

Looking ahead, we are adapting our regulatory approach and moving to more frequent IDAs for larger or more complex providers.

We are committed to protecting the interests of tenants; supporting registered providers to deliver new homes by helping maintain lender confidence’, and keeping abreast of the changing risk profile of the organisations we regulate.

As outlined in our co-regulatory settlement, we expect transparency and accountability from providers, which will be crucial in preserving the reputation of providers and the sector as a whole.