26 Nov '20

Reflecting on the ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’

Data management sits at the core of Social Housing reform. Here is our take on Whitehall’s keenly anticipated Whitepaper – ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’, announced on 17 November 2020.

The ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’ published by the government on Tuesday 17th November is the first major white paper released on the sector since the Grenfell tragedy in 2017, and as such carries particular significance and public exposure.

As part of the government’s commitment to deliver sector reform, the manifesto introduces a new charter detailing what social housing residents should expect from providers, which aims to improve the quality of services offered at both government and landlord level.

The Charter centres around seven key principles of reform which we believe have three common themes that run throughout; improved Accountability, Transparency & Community.

Resident empowerment sits at the heart of the sector transformation. The ‘access to information scheme’ requires details about the landlords to be easily accessible, including a clear breakdown of costs and how housing association’s income is spent. This is supported by an overhaul of the Social Housing Regulator and Housing Ombudsman which is set to govern the cultural change, backed by legislation if required.

There is also a particular focus on landlord responsibilities, which include those of Housing Associations. Housing providers will be required to appoint a ‘responsible person’ to ensure compliance with the new consumer standards, representing an enormous new responsibility for associations; some of which that have around 100,000 homes. Failure to comply risks economic sanctioning from regulators, which have been given new teeth in the form of unlimited fines, which were previously capped at £5,000.

To ensure improved accountability and transparency requirements are met it is important that all critical maintenance records, customer feedback, and asset information is collated, stored, consolidated, and accessible for customers and regulators when needed. This will give landlords the ability to visually demonstrate their historical and real-time performance through a series of dashboards, metrics and KPIs.

Achieving this however will require strong data management capabilities in the form of governance, quality, and architecture. Given the increased volumes of data that will accompany this change,

Housing Associations should also think about their storage capabilities and consider the use of scalable, cost effective technology solutions to assist them in this.

With this in mind, it is clear that effective data management can play an important role in meeting and exceeding the current and future requirements of the sector. Implemented correctly, it can improve operational efficiency, deliver improved business insights, and of course help ensure that organisations remain compliant.

At DTSQUARED we have previously commented on the increasing importance of data for Housing Associations and this view has been reinforced by this white paper.

To find out more about how data management can ensure your business remains compliant in line with this new regulation and at the same time, create opportunities from this new landscape, then please get in touch and we would be happy to set up a complimentary session tailored to your business.

For more specific details, the full white paper can be accessed here.

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