CWAG News Update February 2021

CWAG News Update February 2021

This update includes the following: 

·         CWAG / NFA Smart Clienting Project
·         Review of the Decent Homes Standard
·         CWAG Decarbonisation Meeting
·         Evictions ban extended until 31st March 2021
·         LGA webinar – What next for the regulation of council housing?
·         Recent Publications

 Smart Clienting Project


CWAG and the National Federation of ALMOs have begun a joint piece of work on clienting in the council ALMO sector.
The project aims to set out a range of good practice and workable options for getting the most out of the council /ALMO partnership whilst delivering assurance and regulatory compliance, taking into account the implications arising from changes to the regulatory regime.
A project steering group has been set up comprising members of the CWAG and NFA Executive Groups. An inaugural meeting of the steering group was held on 11th February 2021 to agree the project brief.
Whilst the project has initially drawn on the findings from both NFA and CWAG clienting surveys carried out in 2020, much of the proposed work will be based around discussion and consultation with both CWAG and NFA members.
We are keen to ensure the involvement of as many CWAG members as possible and would like to identify a group of CWAG members with an interest in this area to operate as an advisory group as the project progresses.
If you would be interested in taking part, please contact the Policy Officer.

Review of the Decent Homes Standard


The Social Housing White Paper included a commitment to review the Decent Homes Standard. Guidance published on 8th February sets out the arrangements for this review to be conducted in two parts:
·         Part 1 will run from Spring to Autumn 2021 and will seek to understand the case for change to criteria within the Decent Homes Standard.
·         Part 2 will run from Autumn 2021 to Summer 2022 and will consider how decency should be redefined.
A Sounding Board of sector experts has been set up to advise on the review, however the guidance also includes wider arrangements to enable other interested parties, including social landlords to register with MHCLG to receive updates and submit comments and evidence in writing. CWAG members may wish to consider this consultation option.
For further information on the review and how to register to receive papers and to submit comments and evidence see guidance

CWAG Decarbonisation Event


The next CWAG event is a meeting to discuss decarbonisation issues which will take place via Teams on Tuesday 16th March 2021 (9.30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.)
John Kiely from Savills is our specialist speaker. The meeting will include an overview of the decarbonisation challenge and an update on current modelling and planning approaches. There will be case studies from member authorities that have made a start with implementation.
To book places, please contact the Policy Officer.

Evictions ban extended until 31st March 2021


On 14th February, the government announced that the evictions ban which was due to end on 21st February would be extended for a further 6 weeks, up to the end of March.
Certain limited exemptions remain in place including cases involving ASB, illegal occupation, fraud and arrears exceeding 6 months. The courts remain open to handle these serious cases, however local difficulties securing court dates within a reasonable time frame are causing problems for some landlords.
Other measures remain in place including the six-month notice requirement for eviction. Also, despite the on-going ban, tenants can still receive eviction notices raising concerns about what happens when the ban finally ends.
Government guidance was updated on 19th February 2021 as follows:

LGA Webinar – Social Housing White Paper – what next for the regulation of council housing?


CWAG members may be interested in the above LGA webinar on Friday 21st March 2021.
Speakers include:
Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive and Robert Dryburgh, Assistant Director, Business Intelligence, Regulator for Social Housing
Sandra Watson, Service Director, Property and Assets and Ian McLackland Head of Building Safety, Gateshead Council
Details are available on the LGA website link

Recent Publications


Managing in a time of Covid – NFA Annual Survey Results 2020
Setting out the results of the latest NFA Annual Survey, this report provides an overview of the ALMO sector in terms of size, stock, services, governance, tenant scrutiny and new development. It also highlights the achievements of the past year in terms of responding to the pandemic.
Housemark Covid19 impacts monitoring (January 2021)
This report draws on data from more than 100 social landlords including councils, housing associations and ALMOs, covering arrears, staff sickness, repairs, lettings and gas safety for the period March – December 2020.
Insight Report (Issue 5) October - December 2020 - Housing Ombudsman Service
Report highlights that complaints were 14% higher in the review period than in the same period in 2019/20. There has also been an increase in case decisions. Featured case studies reflect the most frequent areas of complaint (repairs, complaint handling and tenant behaviour).
Cold Comfort – Spotlight on complaints about heating, hot water and energy in social housing - Housing Ombudsman Service
Part of the Spotlight Report series, this report concentrates on a specific area where there are regularly a significant volume of complaints.  The report identifies unnecessary delays in resolving issues along with management of contractors as key issues of concern.
Getting ahead on falling behind - Tackling the UK’s growing arrears crisis - Resolution Foundation
This briefing note examines the issues around the housing debt built up during the pandemic. It identifies a range of vital ongoing policy interventions to prevent the situation getting worse.