Statement on the Regulatory Framework

This statement should be read in conjunction with the Regulatory Framework and associated guidance. The changes to the Regulatory Framework introduced by this statement apply to 2020/21 only.

A message from our Board

Dear Colleague

I hope this finds you well.  We today publish a statement on the Regulatory Framework which further adjusts our regulatory approach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this statement we aim to give landlords, tenants and other service users clarity about how we will regulate during the period of restart and recovery. The adjustments to how we regulate enable us to continue to fulfil our statutory objective and to support landlords to plan and deliver their recovery from the pandemic.  This statement complements the statements we published on 18 and 31 March 2020.

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

Thank you for your contributions and engagement through the consultation on the changes we proposed.  This helped us to appreciate more fully the challenges being experienced by tenants, people who are homeless and other service users, and the unprecedented and demanding circumstances in which social landlords are operating.

Thank you and stay safe. 

Yours

 

George Walker

Chair

Annual Assurance Statements (AAS)

All social landlords should submit their Annual Assurance Statement (AAS) by 30 November 2020, in accordance with the Regulatory Framework and the relevant statutory guidance.  

This change to the timescale applies to 2020 only.  The timescale will revert to October in 2021.

We would ask landlords to submit their AAS before the end of November where they can.  This will help us to proceed with the annual risk assessment at the earliest time possible.

In the AAS, a landlord should identify any non-compliance with regulatory requirements that is directly due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown and distinguish this from non-compliance that is for other reasons.  We have published advisory guidance to assist regulated bodies to adapt their approach to the submission of the AAS. The guidance gives landlords advice on how to provide an AAS in the current circumstances.

Publication of Scottish Social Housing Charter performance reports by landlords

The Regulatory Framework requires social landlords to submit an Annual Return on the Charter (ARC) in accordance with our published guidance.  In view of the pandemic we extended the timescale for the submission of the ARC for 2019/20 to the end of July 2020. 

Following submission of their ARC, landlords are required to report their performance in achieving or progressing towards the Charter outcomes and standards to their tenants and other service users. We are extending the timescale for this report by landlords from the end of October to the end of December.  Each landlord should report its Charter performance to its tenants and service users no later than the end of December 2020.

This change to the timescale applies to 2020 only.  The timescale will revert to October in 2021.

Publication of Engagement Plans and Regulatory Status

In accordance with the Regulatory Framework, we will begin publishing updated Engagement Plans for landlords at the end of March 2021 and include a Regulatory Status in the new Engagement Plan for each Registered Social Landlord. 

This will follow an appropriate and proportionate risk assessment in which we will take account of the unprecedented and demanding circumstances in which social landlords are operating as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will acknowledge where a landlord has told us it is unable to fully comply with regulatory requirements as a consequence of the pandemic, and we will take account of this when we assess risk. 

Equalities and Human Rights

The Regulatory Framework sets out the requirement on social landlords relating to equalities and human rights. 

In February 2019 in our response to the feedback on our consultation on the new Regulatory Framework we said that to give time for the development by the sector of guidance on equalities and human rights in social housing, we would start assessing landlords’ compliance with the requirements on equalities and human rights from 1 April 2021.

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 ensure they comply with equalities and human rights requirements.  In recognition of this, we will ask each landlord to include an update on their position in relation to equalities and human rights in the AAS they will provide to us in October 2021.