Post Grenfell providers must show they are delivering on social purpose and objectives

RSH chief executive acknowledges sector faces “unprecedented scrutiny” over relationships with tenants.

Regulatory gap could hamper tenants' ability to challenge fixed term tenancies

Facing unprecedented scrutiny, providers Post Grenfell must show how they are delivering on their social purpose and objectives, says Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) chief executive Fiona MacGregor.

The 2018 Sector Risk Profile released by RSH today (Oct 11) highlights health and safety issues, failures to meet stakeholder expectations and reliance on sales as significant potential risks for providers to manage.

“Risks facing each organisation will depend upon the scale and nature of that business,” said MacGregor.

“It is important that boards understand the specific issues that they face, carry out adequate stress testing and plan meaningful mitigations – we will look for assurance from providers that they have robust stress tests, internal control systems and appropriate risk management,” she said.

The report shows the sector still having to manage a range of issues to ensure that it remains viable and well governed.

As such, the regulator has highlighted three key areas for boards to consider:

  • Be clear about their health and safety responsibilities, both for stock that they own and stock that they manage, to ensure that tenants are safe in their homes and staff are safe at work
  • Consider their stakeholders expectations in their decision making, including tenants and residents; lenders and investors; and central and local government
  • Ensure that sales activity is underpinned by an understanding of local housing demand and the mitigations available if sales and staircasing do not match expectations

The report also emphasises risks to specialist providers, including the particular risks inherent in lease-based providers of supported housing – on which RSH is due to issue a further report.

MacGregor acknowledged the “unprecedented scrutiny” the sector has been under post Grenfell, specifically landlords’ relationship with their tenants, and the sector’s wider social role.

“In this context providers must show how they are delivering on their social purpose and objectives, and meeting their promises and commitments,” MacGregor.

“Where things go wrong providers should be open and transparent and look to put the issue right as quickly as possible.

“Failure to do so could not only undermine stakeholder confidence in individual providers but also affect the reputation of the sector as a whole,” she said.