Regulator highlights successful year to Holyrood committee

Kay Blair
Kay Blair

The Scottish Housing Regulator has given evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee on its work over the past year.

Chair Kay Blair and chief executive Michael Cameron appeared before the committee yesterday. Ms Blair opened the session by confirming that the Regulator had achieved all its objectives in 2015/16 while operating within a constrained budget.

“Safeguarding and promoting the interests of tenants, homeless people and others who use the services of social landlords drives everything we do,” she said.

Ms Blair explained that the Regulator continues to focus on good governance, financial health and good service delivery.

She highlighted how the Regulator’s work adds value to the social housing sector, helping to create the environment in which lenders are confident to invest and helping to sustain the delivery of quality homes and services for tenants.

Ms Blair added: “As part of our digital transformation work we have provided tenants with even more accessible information to help them compare landlord performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charter over time.”

Ms Blair and Mr Cameron also updated the committee on how the Regulator has used its statutory powers to protect tenants of a small number of landlords.

Mr Cameron said: “This was done proportionately, but decisively. We intervened only when we could not get the necessary assurance that the RSLs were able or willing to resolve their problems.”

Last year it was revealed that measures in the new Housing Amendment (Scotland) Bill are likely to limit the Regulator’s ability to appoint members and managers to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in light of a decision by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to classify RSLs as public bodies.

Looking ahead, Ms Blair said: “Tenants and service users tell us that rent affordability and value for money are hugely important, so we will continue to focus on these.”

Mr Cameron also highlighted the Regulator’s work around homelessness, service standards for Gypsy/Travellers and how it monitors landlord progress in meeting energy efficiency targets.

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