Regulator informs landlords on timescales for submitting annual regulatory returns

Letter to Local Authorities

5 March 2021

 

Dear Colleague,

I hope this finds you well. 

As you will know, from March last year we adjusted our regulatory approach to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions landlords were having to operate within.  This included extensions to the timescales for the submission of annual regulatory returns during 2020. 

Over the last few weeks we have discussed with key stakeholders, including landlord representatives, the best approach to regulatory returns during 2021.  Stakeholders expressed a range of views, with the predominant opinion being that it is appropriate to collect the full range of information in the regulatory returns and that we should revert to the original timescales for these.  Many stakeholders stressed the importance of collecting the full dataset for the Social Housing Charter to provide a comprehensive picture of the impact of the pandemic and the scale of recovery work that is needed, whilst recognising that the resulting datasets will look very different to those in previous years.

On balance, we believe that it is appropriate to revert to the original timescales.  This means that you should submit your Council’s Annual Return on the Charter and the Energy Efficiency Standard by 31 May 2021 and your Council’s Annual Assurance Statement by 31 October 2021. Please follow the published technical guidance for each return, and use the comments facility to provide any clarifications or additional information you think are appropriate.  We will publish shortly frequently asked questions to help you to complete the returns.

We will use the information you provide to us to understand, and to be able to acknowledge, the impact of the pandemic on your performance and your ability to fully comply with regulatory requirements. We will take account of this when we assess each landlord’s performance and risk and when we publish our national reports. This information will also allow us to judge our level of engagement with each landlord in the context of the impact of the pandemic.

During the period of the pandemic we have collected a small set of information from each social landlord each month, and we publish this in the form of a dashboard. We provide this information to the Social Housing Resilience Group and the Scottish Government to help them monitor and respond to the impact of the pandemic.  Following discussion with stakeholders at the Social Housing Resilience Group, we consider that there is still value in collecting regularly information on the impact of the pandemic on social landlords, but also that it is appropriate to change the frequency of the return to collect the information once for each quarter starting from April.  So, we will continue to collect the information for February and for March before moving to a quarterly return for April to June to be submitted by landlords in July.  We will consider the continuing relevance of each element of the information in the current monthly return with the Social Housing Resilience Group ahead of starting the quarterly return.

We will keep this position under review to respond to any significant developments in relation to the national response to the pandemic.

If you have any questions on this, or if you have concerns about your council’s ability to meet the submission timescales, please contact your lead regulator.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Michael Cameron

Chief Executive

Scottish Housing Regulator

 

Letter to RSLs

5 March 2021

 

Dear Colleague,

I hope this finds you well. 

As you will know, from March last year we adjusted our regulatory approach to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions landlords were having to operate within.  This included extensions to the timescales for the submission of annual regulatory returns during 2020. 

Over the last few weeks we have discussed with key stakeholders, including landlord representatives, the best approach to regulatory returns during 2021.  Stakeholders expressed a range of views, with the predominant opinion being that it is appropriate to collect the full range of information in the regulatory returns and that we should revert to the original timescales for these, although some asked that we postpone bringing forward the submission of the Five Year Financial Projections to the end of May.  Many stakeholders stressed the importance of collecting the full dataset for the Social Housing Charter to provide a comprehensive picture of the impact of the pandemic and the scale of recovery work that is needed, whilst recognising that the resulting datasets will look very different to those in previous years.

On balance, we believe that it is appropriate to revert to the original timescales.  This means that you should submit your:

  • Annual Return on the Charter and the Annual Return on the Energy Efficiency Standard by 31 May 2021
  • Loan Portfolio (annual return) and Five Year Financial Projections by 30 June 2021
  • Annual Accounts by 30 September 2021
  • Annual Assurance Statement by 31 October 2021

Following discussion with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, we are retaining the submission date of 30 June for the Five Year Financial Projections return in 2021.

Please follow the published technical guidance for each return, and use the comments facility to provide any clarifications or additional information you think are appropriate.  We will publish shortly frequently asked questions to help you to complete the returns.

We will use the information you provide to us to understand, and to be able to acknowledge, the impact of the pandemic on your performance and your ability to fully comply with regulatory requirements. We will take account of this when we assess each landlord’s performance and risk and when we publish our national reports. This information will also allow us to judge our level of engagement with each landlord in the context of the impact of the pandemic.

During the period of the pandemic we have collected a small set of information from each social landlord each month, and we publish this in the form of a dashboard. We provide this information to the Social Housing Resilience Group and the Scottish Government to help them monitor and respond to the impact of the pandemic.  Following discussion with stakeholders at the Social Housing Resilience Group, we consider that there is still value in a regular collection of information on the impact of the pandemic on social landlords, but also that it is appropriate to change the frequency of the return to collect the information once for each quarter starting from April.  So, we will continue to collect the information for February and for March before moving to a quarterly return for April to June to be submitted by landlords in July.  We will consider the continuing relevance of each element of the information in the current monthly return with the Social Housing Resilience Group ahead of starting the quarterly return.

We will keep this position under review to respond to any significant developments in relation to the national response to the pandemic.

If you have any questions on this, or if you have concerns about your ability to meet the submission timescales, please contact your lead regulator.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Michael Cameron

Chief Executive

Scottish Housing Regulator