A comprehensive review of the arms-length council housing management model concludes it is “well-placed to meet the post-Grenfell demands that regulators will place on local authorities with housing stock.”
Just a week after the Regulator for Social Housing released its first appraisal of how the new regulatory regime promised by the Social Housing White Paper is likely to work, the review has been led by the members of CWAG and the NFA.
Based on a year-long examination of council-ALMO structures and relationships, it echoes the RSH’s urging that landlords should not wait for legislation and should examine their housing management systems, governance and tenant engagement now to make ready for the coming changes.
Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive of the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny and author of the report foreword, says: “This guide could not be timelier, and it rightly maintains all-important focus on excellent outcomes for tenants and services.
“The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny’s wealth of evidence and experience shows the importance of grounding governance culture in clear accountability, transparency and involvement.
“The message from government and the regulators is that the sector should not wait for change to come, and social housing managers need to start proactive reviews of where they are now – and it is obviously also crucial to involve tenants and all their diverse voices and experiences in that process.”
The NFA-CWAG report also includes a governance and assurance toolkit developed during the review. It will help councils track their compliance with the imminent changes to landlord responsibilities and their ALMOs’ operational compliance on the tasks delegated to them.
The 34-point toolkit checklist particularly addresses good governance and the new emphasis on tenant engagement and the tenant voice.
“In fact, we believe this will be an indispensable tool for all councils with their own housing, whether they manage their stock through an ALMO or in-house,” said NFA Policy Director and report editor Chloe Fletcher.
“However, the ALMO advantage is the most positive finding from this thorough investigation of council-ALMO relationships.
“The most important change the sector now faces is that we must not only do the right thing by tenants, but we must also have the hard evidence to prove that. The ALMO model already has the right mechanisms in place to deliver that evidence.”