Regulator publishes annual report and accounts for 2021/22
The work carried out by the Scottish Housing Regulator over the past year has been outlined in a new report published today.
The annual report and accounts for 2021/22 highlights the work the Regulator did during the past 12 months to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants, people who are homeless, and others who use the services of social landlords.
According to the report, SHR managed risk by:
- focussing on anything that might prevent it from achieving its statutory objective;
- publishing a new strategy on what it will do and how it will use its resources in 2022/23;
- working with the Social Housing Resilience Group to respond to the pandemic, informing that group and the Scottish Government through a monthly dashboard on the impact of the pandemic on landlords; and
- carrying out a regulatory risk assessment of every social landlord, delivering on the engagement set out in its published engagement plans and keeping these updated.
SHR empowered tenants, people who are homeless, Gypsy/Travellers and others by:
- meeting with its Regional Network SHR Liaison Group and participating in virtual events with tenant organisations;
- carrying out research with its National Panel of Tenants and Service Users;
- publishing a suite of performance information on landlords’ performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charter;
- recruiting a new group of tenant advisors; and
- receiving and investigating reports from tenants on significant performance failures.
SHR sought assurance by:
- during 2021/22, delivering the engagement it detailed in plans published at the end of March 2021 for every landlord including for the first time a regulatory status for RSLs reflecting the outcome of its regulatory risk assessment;
- publishing a national analysis of landlords’ performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charteras well as refreshed reports for every social landlord, data tables and comparison tool and new technical guidance for landlords;
- publishing annual assurance statements on regulatory requirement compliance submitted to SHR by all social landlords;
- publishing information about the risks that it focused on in its 2021/22 regulatory risk assessment of social landlords;
- publishing an analysis of the financial health of RSLs;
- engaging directly with all LAs around services for people experiencing homelessness;
- carrying out a regulatory risk assessment of all landlords and publishing the outcome in refreshed engagement plans for all social landlords from March 2022; and
- adjusting its approach to monitoring and reporting on Energy Efficiency Standard for Scottish Social Housing (EESSH) in anticipation of the Scottish Government’s review of the standard.
SHR took action to protect the interests of tenants and others by:
- completing the statutory intervention in Thistle and Fairfield Housing Associations;
- publishing reports on the outcomes of completed interventions at Ruchazie, Arklet, Wishaw and District and Thistle;
- publishing information about how it uses statutory intervention powers;
- considering applications for de-registrations from RSLs which transferred to other social landlords and publishing guidance on the process; and
- responding to whistleblowing concerns raised with SHR and reporting on these.
SHR raised awareness and shared positive practice by:
- providing clear and up-to-date guidance for landlords;
- inputting to Social Housing Resilience Group discussions as issues emerged and publishing a quarterly dashboard on the impact of Covid-19 on social landlords;
- publishing reports on the outcome of our interventions;
- reviewing governing body minutes as part of annual regulatory risk assessment of social landlords; and
- using available forums such as speeches and blogs to raise awareness of key risk areas.
SHR promoted equalities and human rights by:
- continuing to support staff through awareness and training;
- continuing its commitment to the Scottish Government’s gender balance objective for public boards;
- recognising the impact of the pandemic, requiring updates from landlords on human rights and equalities in the annual assurance statements that landlords submitted to SHR in October 2021;
- collaborating with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF), and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) to provide guidance for landlords; and
- continuing to work with the SHRC on a briefing on the right to an adequate house.
SHR demonstrated it was an effective public body by:
- achieving substantial assurance from an internal auditor and an unqualified audit opinion from its external auditor;
- giving evidence to and responding to scrutiny from the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee;
- maintaining high engagement scores in the 2021 Civil Service people survey;
- ensuring the Management Team monitored its performance monthly, and its Board on a quarterly basis;
- maintaining a Cyber Essentials Plus certification;
- continuing to support staff as they work remotely and as SHR gradually reopens its office and develop its future approach to working;
- submitting an climate change return;
- keeping stakeholders up to date through @shr_news and our SHR update e-zine;
- operating within budget; and
- responding to Freedom of Information requests and Subject Access Requests in line with statutory duties.
George Walker, the Regulator’s chair, said: “During 2021/22, we continued to work with social landlords, the Social Housing Resilience Group and the Scottish Government in its work to recover from and live with COVID-19.
“We did this through our dashboard reports on the impact of the pandemic on social landlords services and providing advice and support for landlord governing bodies as well as individual landlords on issues related to the pandemic and the other new challenges which social landlords face.
“We kept a strong focus on regulating to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and service users through our comprehensive risk assessment, regulatory engagement with social landlords and by using our statutory powers where we needed to.
“We published our National Report on the Charter, landlord reports and comparison tool as well as findings from our research with our national Panel of Tenants and Service Users.
“Looking ahead for 2022/23 and beyond, we will continue to recognise and prioritise the complex challenges that tenants and their landlords face around costs and affordability. We will also have a strong focus on the quality and safety of tenants’ homes and for Gypsy/Travellers to have sites that meet the standards determined by the Scottish Government. It will also be vital that landlords meet the needs of people who are or have experienced homelessness and we will focus on the provision of temporary and settled accommodation.
“We are committed to continuing to work openly with social landlords, tenants and service users, the Social Housing Resilience Group, the Scottish Government and all of our stakeholders as we all work to tackle the challenges ahead and protect the interest of tenants and others who use the services of social landlords.”