Regulator orders strategic review into Wishaw and District Housing Association

Brenda Higgins

The Scottish Housing Regulator has instructed Wishaw and District Housing Association (WDHA) to carry out a strategic review of the organisation as it decided to continue intervention at the Association for the next six months.

The Regulator used its statutory powers to appoint a manager and five governing body members in February 2017 because it was not assured that Wishaw & District had the necessary governance and leadership capacity to undertake the scale of the work required and to manage the financial risks arising from the site without expert support.

The Regulator considered that Wishaw & District’s poor governance and the financial risks it faced posed “a significant risk to tenants’ interests, to public and private funders’ confidence and to the general reputation of registered social landlords”.

The statutory appointments were extended for another six months in August.

During this period the Association has addressed many of the problems highlighted within the regulation plan. For example, it has recently completed a feasibility study which has identified options for developing the site at Main Street Wishaw; and its financial position is improving and is sustainable for the long term.

Despite the progress towards addressing some of the risks which led to the Regulator’s intervention, there remain significant weaknesses and risks in relation to Wishaw & District’s governance and leadership capacity and sustainability.

The Board said it acknowledges that the Association cannot progress these now and in the foreseeable future without the ongoing support of the statutory appointees and manager.

The Regulator has therefore asked the statutory appointees and statutory manager to continue to assist the Board for a further six months and has instructed the statutory manager to carry out during that time, a strategic review to establish the best strategic solutions for the Association’s tenants and service users.

Brenda Higgins, chair of the WDHA, said: “The Board recognises that there are still improvements to be made and that a strategic review is required to assess the best solution for the Association’s tenants and other service users. However, I am pleased that the regulator has acknowledged the strength of our customer service and the high levels of tenant satisfaction.”

A survey last year showed 94% satisfaction, four points up from three years ago and five points higher than the Scottish average.

“We are committed to ensuring that tenants, staff and the wider community are fully involved in discussions about our future management”, added Brenda Higgins.

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