The Regulator of Social Housing has issued one downgrade and a new regulatory notice for a council as part of its latest regulatory judgements.

One downgrade is for GreenSquareAccord. Already found to be in breach of the Home Standard after a self referral, the Regulator has confirmed this has led to a downgrade in governance.

The judgement says: “We have also concluded that concerns about landlord health and safety compliance data raised by advisors undertaking due diligence, as part of the merger process, were not responded to appropriately by either legacy organisation.

“Accord now needs to ensure that actions being taken since the merger to strengthen its governance and compliance frameworks are robust and based on reliable data. It also needs to ensure that the board maintains effective oversight of health and safety compliance and that appropriate actions are being taken in relation to all significant due diligence findings.

“Based on evidence gained from a Stability Check, the regulator has assurance that Accord has an adequately funded business plan, access to sufficient security and is forecast to continue to meet its financial covenants. It has the financial capacity to deal with a reasonable range of adverse scenarios.

“However, the current plan forecasts a very low level of stock investment within legacy Accord properties. Improvements in stock condition data may introduce significant additional costs in the early years of the plan, which in combination with the delivery of extensive post-merger efficiencies, is a material risk which Accord will need to manage to ensure continued compliance.”

Another regulatory noticed published was for Norwich City Council, which the Regulator has found to breach the Home Standard, potentially causing “serious detriment to Norwich City Council’s tenants”.

After a self referral, the Regulator said the council “failed to meet statutory health and safety requirements in relation to fire, electrical, asbestos and water safety”.

On fire safety, “the regulator has learned that a number fire risk assessments (FRAs) were overdue, including a small number of high-risk buildings and sheltered schemes. The Council reported they were unable to provide information on outstanding FRA remedial actions.”

Norwich City Council reported that “over one thousand electrical inspections were overdue” including around two hundred communal tests. The Council were unable to provide information about the completion of electrical safety remedial actions.

The council was also “unable to provide data on either communal or domestic asbestos surveys, including whether any were overdue or had outstanding remedial actions” and “hundreds of legionella risk assessments were overdue, including a small number of high-risk buildings and sheltered housing schemes.”

There were many organisations that retained their G1/V1 ratings, including Havebury Housing Partnership, One Manchester, North Star Housing, Pickering and Ferens Homes, Railway Housing Association, Soha Housing, Futures Housing Group, Paradigm Housing, Hundred Houses Society, Rooftop Housing, L&Q, Broadacres Housing Association, Clarion Housing Group, and Eastlight Community Homes.

Emma Palmer, Chief Executive, of Eastlight, said: “To have retained our top rating despite the challenges of merging during a pandemic is a clear indicator that the regulator has confidence in our financial plans and how we run our business.

“This endorses our commitment to do more to meet housing need and support our communities in the East of England.’’

Also retaining their ratings were several organisations at G1/V2, with Guinness Partnership, Thames Valley Metropolitan, Cambridge Housing Society, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Believe Housing, Framework Housing Association, and Acis Group all receiving the grade.

And while Broadland Housing also retained its G1/V2 rating, a note from the Regulator said: “Broadland does, however, have a number of material risks which it continues to need to manage to maintain compliance. A significant proportion of its revenue is derived from non-social housing activities, including homes for outright sale.

“This gives rise to downside risks, including exposure to the housing market. In addition, increased investment in its existing stock weakens interest cover and limits Broadland’s capacity to absorb a wide range of adverse events.”