Regulator outlines level of engagement with Viewpoint

Scottish Housing RegulatorThe Scottish Housing Regulator is to continue its engagement with Viewpoint Housing Association to addresses outstanding weaknesses identified in its performance reporting and governance.

A medium level of engagement has been put in place for the financial year 2017/18 to allow the Regulator to get assurance that Viewpoint is complying with its Regulatory Standards.

During 2016/17, the Regulator engaged with Viewpoint to address weaknesses in the delivery of some of its services to tenants. The Association’s performance was identified to be in the bottom quartile for all Scottish social landlords in relation to tenant satisfaction with opportunities to participate, the percentage of tenancy offers refused, complaints handling, the percentage of repairs completed right first time, gas safety check renewal timescales and time to re-let empty properties.

The Regulator carried out a data accuracy visit in December 2016 to seek further assurance in relation to Viewpoint’s reported performance on gas safety performance. Its reported performance on gas safety was found to be “inaccurate” and “unreliable” and there was also “insufficient management, control and oversight” of the process.

An updated Regulation Plan for Viewpoint describes how the Association has worked constructively with the Regulator to review the accuracy of its performance information. It commissioned an internal audit to clarify the position in relation to gas safety and a broader review of the accuracy of its Annual Return on the Charter. It also commissioned an independent review of the role of the governing body and its oversight of Viewpoint’s performance. However, this work identified a number of further weaknesses in Viewpoint’s performance reporting and the governing body’s oversight of this.

Viewpoint has taken forward an action plan to address some of the weaknesses in relation to performance reporting. It will now develop a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses all of the remaining issues identified.

The Regulator is also seeking assurance over Viewpoint’s plans to develop an extra care facility, specifically that any future decisions about this are based on appropriate financial and risk information and that Viewpoint has the capacity to take forward the development.

Viewpoint also has a number of loan stock properties and it is currently reviewing these arrangements.

Responding to the updated regulation plan, Viewpoint CEO, Dorry McLaughlin, told Scottish Housing News: “We continue to work closely with the Scottish Housing Regulator to meet the requirements of the Regulation Plan.”

Viewpoint was registered as a social landlord in 1975 and provides supported housing and care services for older people. It owns and manages 1,313 homes across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife. It is a charitable organisation and employs 253 people.

At 31 March 2016, its turnover was just over £15.31 million and its debt per unit was £5,791.

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