CWAG News Update - May 2019

This update includes the following topics: 

  • Regulator issues reminder on Consumer Standards Compliance
  • Consultation on the Rent Standard from April 2020
  • Addison Act Celebrations
  • Recent Publications /New in the Library

Regulator issues reminder on Consumer Standards compliance

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has written to Chief Executives of all stock owning local authorities highlighting issues around compliance with the Home Standard in respect of health and safety requirements.
 
The RSH letter dated 17th May 2019 follows the issuing of two regulatory notices to local authorities regarding failure to comply with regulatory requirements relating to fire safety assessments.
The letter is an important reminder of the requirements on local authority landlords to comply with all aspects of the consumer standards and the particular issues this raises for councils with ALMOs:
 
‘Boards and councillors must ensure that they have proper oversight of all health and safety issues (including gas safety, fire safety, asbestos and legionella). Contracting out delivery of services does not contract out responsibility to meet the requirements of legislation or standards, so providers need systems to give boards assurance of compliance.’
 
The council as the landlord is responsible for compliance with the Consumer Standards; therefore where a function or service has been delegated to an ALMO, the council must ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements. 
Consultation on a new Rent Standard from April 2020
 

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has launched a 12-week consultation (closing date 30th July 2019) on a revised Rent Standard that will come into effect from 1 April 2020.

 
The consultation relates to the arrangements for implementing the outcome of the Government’s earlier consultation (September 2018) and subsequent Direction to the Regulator (February 2019). It aims to ensure that the arrangements proposed for the setting and management of rents are clear and easy to understand for all registered providers of social housing.
 
This Rent Standard makes provision for the move from the social rent reduction arrangements as set out in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 to the new settlement to apply from April 2020 involving annual increases in rents of CPI +1%. A new mechanism called the 2020 limit has been introduced to act as the baseline for the CPI+1% increase whilst protecting the rent reductions of the previous four years.
 

Addison Act Celebrations

We are continuing to ask CWAG members to send details of any planned events or other initiatives linked to the Addison Act centenary. We are also keen to receive information about any local authority new build schemes that are likely to complete this year, making a link between the achievements of the Addison Act and the important ongoing role of council housing in the future.
 
Please keep this information coming.
 
You may be interested in viewing the Exhibition material and video celebrating 100 years of council housing in Doncaster.
 
Also don’t forget to use the hashtag for social media comments on the Addison Act - #100yearsofcouncilhousing and/or #addisonact.
 

Recently Published Reports  

 

 
This report published at the end of April highlights the importance of housing in reversing current divisive trends and delivering a fairer society and identifies a number of key areas where more should be done to tackle the problems of housing supply:
 
·         More action is needed to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of affordable housing including a substantial increase in the supply of social housing.
 
·         Local authorities need enhanced powers to take the lead on house building, including a presumption in favour of development of unused land owned by public bodies and greater freedom to borrow to build.
 
·         Planning policies to address the specific housing needs of both younger and older people, including building more housing which is accessible and adaptable for older generations as part of a wider increase in supply.
 
·         Tenants in the private rented sector need much greater security and stability, backed by effective regulation, so that this is a viable tenure for people to live in for the long-term.
 
The Report and recommendations has been submitted to Government.
 
 
This is a the first of a series of planned reports by the Housing Ombudsman highlighting key issues and learning relating to different casework themes.
Complaints about repairs are the largest category of complaints received by the Ombudsman. The report sets out some of the common causes of complaints and uses a number of case studies to highlight important good practice and learning points. The Ombudsman’s dispute resolution principles - are summarised in the section on good practice – these are:
 
·         Be fair (treat people fairly and follow fair process)
·         Put things right
·         Learn from outcomes 
 
 

New in the Library

The meeting covered a number of topics including an examination of two approaches to tenant scrutiny, an overview of the work of the Housing Ombudsman and details of the Greater Nottingham Standard for Social Housing.
 
Details of external meetings and groups – updated May 2019.
 
 
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