Social landlords show strong performance and continued improvement, says Regulator
Scottish social landlords are continuing to perform well across almost all of the standards and outcomes of the Scottish Social Housing Charter with nine out of ten tenants satisfied with the homes and services their landlord provides, a new report has found.
The national analysis of landlords’ performance over the first three years of the Charter by the Scottish Housing Regulator revealed that overall landlords continue to deliver good services.
Tenants’ satisfaction with their landlord’s repairs and maintenance has improved. Landlords are responding almost two hours faster on average to emergency repairs since the first year of the Charter.
There is a stronger relationship between value for money and tenant satisfaction this year. Overall, tenants are more satisfied that their landlord offers value for money and landlords’ average planned rent increases are down from 3.5 per cent in 2013/14 to 1.9 per cent in 2015/16.
In publishing its national analysis significantly earlier than in previous years, the Regulator is helping landlords and others to make the most of this rich data on social housing. This is the first year the Regulator has published its analysis alongside its individual 2015/16 landlord reports and comparison tool.
The landlord reports and comparison tool let tenants and landlords find out about and compare their landlord’s performance and benchmark performance against the national average.
Kay Blair, the Regulator’s chair, said: “The overall picture for landlords is one of continued strong performance. This is really good news for tenants. Underneath the national picture of course, performance varies. Some landlords have more work to do than others to improve.
“Publishing our national analysis at the same time as our individual landlord reports means tenants and landlords can see a fuller picture of performance earlier this year. I hope our information helps tenants to engage with their landlords and work together to further improve services.”
CIH Scotland and HouseMark Scotland have welcomed the publication of the performance reports which follows a recent public consultation by the Scottish Government on the future of the Scottish Social Housing Charter.
The housing bodies made a joint submission to the consultation which closed on August 24.
CIH Scotland policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “As this third set of annual reports demonstrates, the introduction of the Scottish Social Housing Charter has prompted a progressive improvement in the quality of landlord services. With a refreshed Charter due to be implemented in April next year, we want to make sure that social landlords can continue to build upon this success.
“Our previous work in delivering the Stepping up to Scrutiny programme has demonstrated that, where tenants are engaged in scrutiny activities in a meaningful way, landlords are able to make positive changes to the way they deliver services as well as improving tenant communication and involvement. Continuing to enhance tenants’ involvement in performance improvement will be crucial to the ongoing success of the Charter.”
Head of HouseMark Scotland, Kirsty Wells, added: “Improving performance against the Charter’s Value for Money standard requires enhanced transparency in the relationship between service costs and service levels so tenants can ‘follow the money’. We made this point in our 2015 research ‘How do you know if you are providing Value for Money?’ and believe this is still the case. Greater transparency during rent consultation processes about operational costs would go a long way to addressing growing tenant concerns about the future affordability of rents. Through our social housing dashboard and VFM scorecard, HouseMark members already have the tools required to be transparent with their tenants about how they are delivering Value for Money.”
Over the coming months the Regulator will publish a new series of short, accessible reports looking in more detail at specific areas of performance. The new reports will draw from information it has gathered on landlord performance and its work with its National Panel of Tenants and Service Users on tenants’ experiences and priorities.
The Regulator’s Headline National Analysis of landlords’ performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charter, its landlord reports and comparison tool, and all of the performance information landlords sent to the Regulator is available on its website.