SHR and RTO Regional Network Liaison Group - Minutes - 18 June 2019

Updated

21 June 2019

1. Welcome, introductions and arrangements for the day. 

In attendance:

RTO: Bill Chapman, Leonora Montgomery, Cameron Grant, Terry Kirby, Heather Cuthbert, Bruce Cuthbertson, John MacKenzie, Shona Gorman and June Anderson.

SHR: Tracey McAlpine, Kelda McMichael, Shazia Razzaq (observer), Liz McCullagh (observer) and Craig Heron (observer)

Declarations of interest

Nil

2 Agreement of: 

  • Minute of last meeting 12 March 2019
  • Final version of the new RTO Liaison Group Terms of Reference document. 

The group agreed the Minute of the last meeting was an accurate reflection of discussions.

The group also agreed the final version of the new RTO Liaison Group Terms of Reference Document.

3. SHR Update 

Board Membership

Kelda confirmed SHR welcomed three new members appointed by Scottish Ministers from 1 April 2019. The new members are:Helen Trouten TorresColin StewartEwan Fraser

They replaced tenant member Lisa Peebles as well as Simon Little who have both served full terms on the Regulator’s Board. All three will serve between 1 April 2019 to 30 March 2023.

Kelda provided a brief biography on each of the three new Board Members.

Kelda also shared the sad news of the death of our former Board member Alex Condie. Alex served on our Board from 2011 to 2012.

Framework

Kelda confirmed that the new Framework went live on 1 April 2019. It has been shaped by SHR’s experience of regulating over the past six years.

Assurance Statements:

There was much discussion relation to the Annual assurance statements, Kelda confirmed SHR is committed to working with the sector to develop a toolkit which will help board and committee members to ask the right questions and get the assurance they need. SFHA, GWSF, ALACHO, and SHR will work together on the development of a Self-assurance Toolkit for future use for landlords.

Cameron shared with the group the statement ACHA were planning to submit.

The group noted that they believed that tenant participation at a local authority level is still an issue with lack of interaction between local authorities and tenants in relation to the ARC. Concerns were raised about tenant involvement in signing off the assurance statement. Heather raised concerns about new staff members at management level in local authorities not engaging with tenants, raising concerns about tenants input at both ARC and AAS returns.

A general feeling among the group is that some councils are more pro-active in their tenant engagement than others and the group noted concern regarding ‘a level playing field’ when comparing council tenant against RSL tenant involvement.

Kelda suggested time be set aside at the next meeting to discuss this in full. The group will have also met with Audit Scotland by this point, where this issue is likely to be discussed.

Equalities

Kelda confirmed that SHR is working with landlord representative bodies and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to support the sector to develop a guidance framework around equality and human rights in social housing in Scotland. 

What We Will Do 2019-20

The group discussed the What We Will Do 2019-20 publication. Highlights include:

implementing its new Regulatory Framework;

  • a new three year corporate plan;
  • national charter analysis and individual landlord reports in August;
  • a planned engagement with all RSLs and local authorities set out in its published engagement plans;
  • providing a regulatory status indicating compliance with standards for all RSLs by March 2020; and
  • launching a new website.

Statutory Interventions

Kelda gave an up-date on the current statutory intervention cases (Arklet, Fairfield, Ruchazie, Thistle and Wishaw and District) and provided an update on recently completed statutory interventions (Ferguslie Park Housing Association, Kincardine, Antonine and Dalmuir Park Housing Association).

Bill was keen to know how many tenants had been used as Statutory Appointees. Kelda to consider this request for the next meeting.

The group asked for clarification around the costs of statutory action as noted in some of the most recent statutory action reports (for example the FPHA report) Kelda explained that this figure represented the statutory manager’s services and expenses costs. The group discussed the other costs associated with poor governance and non-adherence to regulatory standards.

SHR Beta Website

Kelda confirmed the beta site is now closed and our suppliers are making tweaks based on user feedback. The vast majority of feedback was very positive and we’re getting ready to launch this shortly.

RTO feedback was mixed with Heather, Mac (John) and Cameron confirming testing of the system. Cameron committed to forwarding his comments regarding the Beta Website to SHR.

Risk Assessment Summary Outcomes

The group discussed the Risk Assessment Summary Outcomes document. Heather led on discussion relating to landlord performance with Kelda clarifying how some of the figures are gathered and how SHR internally assesses them prior to reporting. Areas for discussion included ‘stock quality’ and service quality’.

ARC (Annual Return on the Charter)

SHR confirmed that all landlords have submitted ARC and EESSH returns for 2018/19 and SHR’s annual data integrity exercise was underway where SHR representatives check the data for anomalies and where, appropriate contact landlords, to verify entries have been made correctly.

Kelda confirmed that over the summer, SHR will begin the early stages of our risk assessments across the sector and if anything was raised in EP’s about specific issues the EP lead will review and contact landlords as appropriate.

SHR published in March the new Charter technical guidance which will apply to Charter returns due in May 2020.

We again discussed the upcoming Assurance toolkit and its link to the charter.

SHR Planner (Future Publications & Events)

The protocol for requesting SHR Board member attendance at RTO events was discussed, and Tracey explained it was useful for RTOs to have a focus for SHR attendance in mind when making attendance requests.

Kelda provided an update to the group on upcoming events and publications which SHR will be involved in.

4. RTO Liaison Group Update 

Bill confirmed that Regional Network representatives will meet with Audit Scotland (AS) on 2 July. The group is keen to find out what assessment AS make when looking at local authority HRA’s. The meeting was set up at the request of the Housing Minister. Ultimately the group would like to have bi annual meetings with AS. Kelda again explained the Shared Risk Assessment Process to the Group and Tracey agreed to provide links to some recent relevant AS reports on ‘Best Value’ which would be useful to have reviewed in advance of their meeting with AS.

The group again discussed Assurance Statements. (Post meeting note: Tracey circulated the FAQ on Assurance Statements to the group).

Annual Meeting SHR CEO & Chair/Brd Members – It has been 18 month since the group last met with Michael. Kelda to liaise with colleagues to arrange attendance by Michael / George / other Board members. The group agreed their focus for discussion with Michael and others would be the Assurance Statement.

Region 1 to 4 Updates

all regions have now had their AGM’s. Membership has fallen with some local authority areas not being represented in their region.

A good discussion took place about how tenant involvement in the RTO Network can be encouraged. This included using social media and utilising housing students to increase interest. There was also an acknowledgement that more had to be done in relation to attracting minority groups.

Bill highlighted that staff changes at the Scottish Government had caused some difficulties in encouraging network membership.

Work is being undertaken by all Regions include inquiry responses to fire safety, short term lets and standards of temporary accommodation.

5. An Other Business 

Cameron asked for a list of those RSL’s who pay their Board. Kelda to consider this for the next meeting.

Date of Next meeting - Tuesday 17 September 2019