Regulator ends Wellhouse Housing Association intervention

Wellhouse_Housing_AssociationThe Scottish Housing Regulator has decided to end the appointment of the statutory manager at Wellhouse Housing Association after almost two years.

Publishing a revised regulation plan on Wednesday, the Regulator said Wellhouse has made good progress in dealing with the issues that led to the statutory intervention beginning in December 2014.

A statutory manager was appointed to the Association to address “serious weaknesses” in its governance and financial management and protect the interests of tenants. These weaknesses included breaches of financial covenants, potential tax liabilities, inappropriate receipt of payments and benefits, poor handling of conflicts of interest and potential breaches of charity law.

The appointment was regularly reviewed and extended while Wellhouse completed an improvement plan and consolidated progress.

Since then the Association has made a number of appointments including Martin Wilkie-McFarlane as new chief officer as well as three new appointments to its management team.

Christine Macleod, director of governance and performance, said: “Over the last two years, Wellhouse’s Management Committee has worked hard to address the serious risks to tenants’ interests. It has faced its difficulties and taken the necessary action to strengthen its governance and financial management. Because of the progress it’s made we are able to bring our statutory intervention to an end.”

Wellhouse was registered as a social landlord in 1994. It owns and manages 796 houses and provides factoring services to 51 owners in Easterhouse, Glasgow. It has charitable status and employs 20 people. Its turnover for the year ended 31 March 2016 was £4.14 million.

The Regulator said it will continue to have high engagement with Wellhouse as it embeds and builds upon the improvements it has made.

In September, the Scottish Government pledged to draft a new Housing Amendment (Scotland) Bill that will adjust the powers of the Scottish Housing Regulator in light of a decision by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to classify Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) as public bodies.

Among the measures expected in the Bill is a move to limit the Regulator’s ability to appoint members and managers to RSLs.

Scottish Housing Regulator chief executive, Michael Cameron, told Scottish Housing News at the time that the Regulator will continue to protect the interests of tenants whatever the outcome.

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