Change at the top of DGHP as Regulator steps up engagement

A newly completed DGHP development in Dumfries

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has appointed an interim senior officer after the resignation of its chief executive amid increased engagement from the Scottish Housing Regulator.

Alex McGuire was appointed as interim chief executive following the departure of Zoe Forster.

The change was revealed by the Scottish Housing Regulator which is currently engaging with DGHP amid internal control concerns.

Earlier this year DGHP was requested to commission an independent investigation into a number of allegations. It co-opted two additional members on to its governing body to help it progress this work.

In a newly published regulation plan, the Regulator said the investigation identified serious issues in relation to misconduct and ineffective management and leadership and found that a substantial number of the allegations were supported to some degree. It highlighted cultural issues which appear to have gone unchecked for a considerable period of time.

The investigation also identified serious weaknesses and concerns about the handling of conflicts of interest, grievances and settlement agreements.

The Regulator said these weaknesses raised questions about the operation of DGHP’s internal control system, identified gaps in its compliance with regulatory standards of governance and financial management and raised concerns about DGHP’s governance and ability to manage its affairs to an appropriate standard.

Informing the Regulator of its willingness to address the underlying causes, DGHP’s Board said it understands the extent and seriousness of the issues it is facing has made the appointment as part of measures to improve the situation.

DGHP will commission work to ensure it has the leadership and management capacity to deliver sustainable improvement and achieve full compliance with Regulatory Standards. This will involve a comprehensive review of the organisation’s compliance with Regulatory Standards and its strategic purpose and direction, as well as governance structures and practice.

A spokesperson for DGHP told Scottish Housing News: “The DGHP Board is committed to working closely with the Scottish Housing Regulator to address the matters contained in the Regulation Plan. This work has already commenced. Our financial position is strong and stable. Operationally, our performance and customer satisfaction levels are good and we are absolutely committed to continuing with the provision of high quality services to our tenants.”

The spokesperson added: “Zoe decided that at this juncture in DGHP’s development and progress, it would be the right time for her to move on to a new chapter in her own life. Alex McGuire was appointed as interim chief executive and is currently working to ensure that we, DGHP, continue to deliver the high quality services we provide to our tenants.”

Registered in April 2003, DGHP is the second largest RSL in Scotland and owns and manages 10,297 homes. It also provides a factoring service for 625 owners.

It employs around 186 people and has two unregistered subsidiaries, Novantie Ltd and DGHP3 Ltd which carry out the group’s commercial activities and deliver development services respectively.

DGHP is among a number of RSLs deemed to be “systemically important” to the Regulator given the combination of its size, turnover, level of debt and geographic importance.

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