Regulator suspends management committee member at Dalmuir Park Housing Association

Dalmuir Park HAThe Scottish Housing Regulator has suspended a member of the management committee at Dalmuir Park Housing Association and made statutory appointments to the Association after serious risks were identified in its governance and management.

An independent investigation commissioned by the Association found serious misconduct and mismanagement within the Association and that it was not complying with Regulatory Standards.

The Regulator has appointed a manager and six members to the management committee.

Earlier this year, the Regulator identified a number of potentially serious governance issues at Dalmuir Park, which then agreed to carry out an independent investigation into some of these issues.

However, according to a new regulation plan published by the Regulator, there were setbacks in Dalmuir Park taking this forward due to the number of governing body members who were compromised by conflicts of interest, the Association’s failure to comply with its constitution in relation to governing body membership, and a delay in taking forward its decision to co-opt independent governing body members.

The regulation plan stated: “In September, Dalmuir Park co-opted two members with governance skills and experience to the governing body to support it to carry out the investigation.

“Dalmuir Park submitted its Business Plan to us in September. This was not consistent with our recommended practice on business planning. It did not provide us with the necessary assurance about the Association’s strategic objectives and how it will deliver them.

“In November, the independent investigation found evidence of serious governance failures at Dalmuir Park including failures to understand and comply with Dalmuir Park’s constitutional requirements, serious allegations of breaches of the Association’s code of conduct for staff and governing body members, failure to manage conflicts of interest, and failure to seek independent advice to inform important decisions.

“Dalmuir Park has recently commissioned a second independent investigation after it identified allegations of potentially serious breaches of the code of conduct for staff and governing body members.

“We consider the governance failures identified in the investigation in November are the result of misconduct, mismanagement and ineffective leadership in Dalmuir Park. We consider Dalmuir Park’s poor governance is a serious risk to tenants’ interests and to the reputation of social landlords. We are not assured that Dalmuir Park currently has the necessary governance and leadership capacity to address the serious risks it faces without expert support.”

The statutory manager and appointees will be directly accountable to the Regulator. Their first priority will be to address the serious and urgent risks to the Association’s governance and to tackle the issues identified in the investigation.

Christine Macleod, director of regulation (governance and performance), said: “The investigation found evidence of serious misconduct and mismanagement at Dalmuir Park. So we need to use our statutory powers to protect tenants’ interests and ensure that Damluir Park complies with Regulatory Standards.

“We have directed the manager to address any immediate risks to the association and to carry out a strategic review to look at the best solutions for Dalmuir Park’s tenants and service users in the longer term.”

Dalmuir Park Housing Association told Scottish Housing News that it vows to improve its governance arrangements.

Acting chairperson Marion Birnie said: “The Association is co-operating fully with these changes and we will be working positively with the Regulator and the new committee members to address the issues identified so we can continue to protect the best interests of our tenants and the long term interests of the Association.

“The day-to-day provision of housing and care services by the experienced staff team at DPHA will continue as normal and our focus will continue to be on serving our tenants and the wider community.”

Dalmuir Park was registered as a social landlord in 1978 and operates in the Clydebank area of West Dunbartonshire. It currently owns and manages 689 homes and provides factoring services to 174 owners. It has charitable status and employs 30 people. As at 31 March 2017, Dalmuir Park’s turnover for the year was almost £3.9 million and its debt per unit was £876.

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