Annual Assurance Statement
This letter gives you information to support you in your preparation of the Annual Assurance Statement (AAS) due to be submitted to us by 31 October 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on social landlords and on the services they provide to their tenants and service users.
The Regulatory Framework requires social landlords to prepare and publish an AAS to confirm to their tenants and us that they are meeting regulatory requirements. It is important that the AAS reflects the context that landlords have to operate in. Given this, landlords should identify in this year’s AAS any non-compliance with regulatory requirements that is directly due to the pandemic and distinguish this from non-compliance that is for other reasons.
In August last year, we published advisory guidance to assist landlords to adapt their approach to the submission of the AAS to reflect the impact of the pandemic. This guidance remains relevant and landlords should refer to it when producing their 2021 AAS.
We also said that we would ask each landlord to include an update on their position in relation to equalities and human rights in their 2021 AAS. At that time we had anticipated that the guidance on equalities data collection would have been available to landlords by now; however, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the production of that guidance, and it is not yet available to support landlords in their work to comply with equalities and human rights requirements.
We continue to work with the SFHA, GWSF and ALACHO to produce guidance on equalities data collection, and we are working with the Scottish Human Rights Commission to develop a briefing on the right to housing. We anticipate that these guides will be published during this coming summer. In recognition of this position, we ask landlords to provide us with assurance in their AAS to be submitted to us by the end of October 2021 that they have appropriate plans to implement an effective approach to the collection of equalities information and that they have started to consider how they can adopt a human rights approach in their work.
If you have already submitted this year’s AAS, we will contact you to discuss an update to your AAS to reflect this advice.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions about your Annual Assurance Statement, please contact your Engagement Plan lead.
Best wishes and stay safe,