Regulator gives standards deadline to Yoker Housing Association

Yoker Housing Association has been criticised for failing to recognise its non-compliance with regulatory standards and warned that it must demonstrate its intention to improve “within a reasonable timescale”.

The Scottish Housing Regulator has been engaging with Yoker since 2017 having raised concerns about its governance and compliance with the regulatory standards of governance and financial management.

In October 2018, Yoker commissioned an independent governance review of its compliance with the regulatory standards which was originally due to complete by March 2019.

Yoker extended the timescale to complete the assessment work and provided the delayed final governance review report to the Regulator in May 2019.

The review concluded that overall Yoker is partially compliant with regulatory standards one to six but in its own assessment, the Scottish Housing Regulator said Yoker is not compliant.

In an updated regulation plan, the Regulator wrote: “In our judgement Yoker was unable to demonstrate that it manages its resources to ensure its financial well-being (standard three), the governing body was unable to demonstrate it leads and directs the RSL to achieve good outcomes (Standard one) and that it has the skills and knowledge to be effective (standard six).

“Therefore we consider the failures are widespread and demonstrate that there are serious weaknesses in Yoker’s governance. Our regulatory framework requires landlords to be self-aware and analytical and to seek to identify and drive improvement.

“In our judgment, from our engagement we are concerned that Yoker has failed to recognise that it was not compliant and that there is a need for improvement. Yoker has been slow to put in place improvements to address its non-compliance and has not always completed actions it has committed to.

“We required Yoker to provide an action plan demonstrating how it intends to address, deliver and embed the necessary improvements and achieve compliance with Regulatory Standards within a reasonable timescale.

“However, the plans it submitted did not provide us with sufficient assurance on how Yoker intends to become compliant and that the governing body has capacity to demonstrate effective oversight and embedding of the improvement process.”

The Regulator has called on Yorker to demonstrate how it intends to address, deliver and embed the necessary improvements required to achieve compliance with regulatory standards within a reasonable timescale; demonstrate how the governing body will ensure there is effective oversight and embedding of the improvement process, and provide an approved business plan by November 11.

On reviewing this information, the Regulator said it will assess Yoker’s willingness and capacity to improve and take a view as to whether Yoker is a suitable recipient of public and private funding.

The Regulator said it will also consider its own future regulatory strategy and how best to achieve an outcome whereby Yoker’s tenants and service users get the benefits of being served by a landlord which complies with regulatory standards.

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