Getting value for money from the HCA

Using data 1: Fees, fees more if you please

You all want to know how much you cost to run. Are you more efficient than your rivals? Sorry, I meant to say peers. Also do we know who is investing in their homes? And can we spot the rogues that are starving the homes of investment? On top of that who is punching above their weight on house building? Hold your horses! Why do you have to wait till February to get the official results from the HCA? That’s not good enough is it?

Under the new rules on VfM you are supposed to pass spot tests at any time. How can you be sure of doing that unless you use the data the HCA is using?

The HCA gets the data from you by the end of September. They should process it all and push it back to you by the end of the year. Three months is more than enough time to crunch the numbers.

If the HCA don’t hit that deadline they should get a penalty deduction on their fees to you. And it must be a big fine as this is a core duty. But the same goes for you. If you muck up on the data then you should pay more. You are holding everyone else up. I would include councils, ALMOs and council companies in the data too. It is barmy to have two forms of regulation for the same thing.

As we speak associations are being tested at IDAs based on ye olde data. That is wrong. Let’s use the sharp sting of fines to speed it all up. That’s only a start. Of course we need to move to real time data that is out in the open. What do you have to hide?

Using data 2: Who are we building for?

The British Medical Journal is well worth a read. It does a good job of looking into the future. On the whole people are living longer. So we will see more people “living with a physical disability that will severely restrict every day activities.” As we know more and more of them will be private renters. So they won’t have the cash or equity to live a good life. Our sector will need to step up to the mark. Are we ready for it? Yes I see lots of good things. But there are problems too.

The spreadsheeters that have replaced architects often specify one lift only in blocks. That means disabled people living in wonderfully adapted flats have to move out to the Travelodge every time the lift is out of order. And then there are some tiny or sheer awkward parking spots. Yes you could get one of the hated pale blue trikes in, but not a modern car. We need to move with the times.

By Alistair McIntosh, HQN Chief Executive