SHR and RTO Regional Network Liaison Group - Minutes - 22 October 2019

Updated

02 August 2021

1. Welcome, introductions, apologies and arrangements for the day. 

In attendance. 

RTO Network: Bruce Cuthbertson (Acting Chair), Steve Byrne, Leonora Montgomery, Heather Cuthbert, Helen Westwater, June Anderson and Shona Gorman, Terry Kirkby 

SHR:  Kelda McMichael, Liz McCullagh, Stephen Lalley (observer), Michael Cameron (item 7 only)  George Walker (item 7 only), Anne Jarvie (item 7 only), Sylvia Ward (item 10 only). 

Apologies:Bill Chapman, Cameron Grant

2. Declarations of interest

Nil

3. Agreement of Minute of last meeting

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

Matters arising: At the last meeting, Cameron asked for a list of those RSL’s who pay their Board.  Kelda confirmed that we do not keep a formal list with this information. 

4. Update on SHR Statutory Action

Kelda gave an update on the 5 RSL cases where statutory intervention ongoing.  These are Thistle, Wishaw & District, Arklet, Ruchazie and Fairfield.

The group was advised that the report on SHR’s statutory action at Dalmuir Park HA would be published the following day (23 October 2019). 

5. SHR Planner Update (Future Publications & Events)

  • Kelda advised the group that SHR’s email addresses will be changed from November to @shr.gov.scot and at the same time our main website address will change to www.housingregulator.gov.scot 
  • Kelda noted there will be no change to the web address of the Landlord Directory or the Portal used by landlords. 
  • A redirect for email addresses and the website will be in place until at least March 2020. 

Kelda also informed the group of the following events:

  • Ian Brennan will be speaking at the GWSF Annual conference on 15 November 2019.
  • George Walker will be speaking at the RTO Network Event on 21 November 2019.
  • SHR have developed a list of individuals which we use to select suitable candidates when we make statutory appointments to social landlords. The New Statutory Manager list will be published in November – this follows a  recruitment exercise over late Summer. 
  • Annual Assurance Statements (AAS) –a programme of visits will be arranged with a selection of landlords to assess how they developed their AAS process. We will publish a lessons learned report on this by the end of March 2020.

6. Annual Assurance Statements (AAS)

Kelda gave an update on the AAS.  She advised the group that all social landlords are required to submit statements by 31st October and that while many landlords have already submitted, we are still waiting on some to come in. 

 She told the group that these will be published on our website following 31 October, and that these will be considered as part of our upcoming risk assessment process. 

7. SHR Chair, Vice Chair and Chief Executive Visit

George, Michael and Anne attended to chat with Liaison Group. The group had prepared some questions on a variety of issues. 

SHR Key Achievements

George was asked what he believed his key achievements were since becoming Chair of the SHR. George noted that the updated the Regulatory Framework was a key achievement but that this was a group effort.  

SHR’s National Panel

The Liaison group members asked for more detail on how the National Panel worked in practice and how the work programme for the Panel was determined. SHR provided an update on this at the meeting and provided further written information following the meeting. 

Tenant participation and engagement

The group discussed how meaningful engagement between tenants and landlords can be fostered. Michael emphasised the importance of two way communication and for tenants and tenant groups to voice their ideas to landlords. 

SHR and the Regional Networks

The group discussed the relationship between SHR and the RTO Networks. Michael explained that SHR will be updating our engagement strategy shortly but we value our work with the Liaison group, as well as Tenant Advisors and the National Panel. George emphasised the importance of tenants knowing about SHR and asked for the help of the Liaison Group in spreading the message. For example, encouraging tenants to ask landlords to add a link to SHR’s website on their own website. 

Thematics

The group discussed the Thematic work previously undertaken by SHR and the plans for this work in the future. The Liaison group explained they really value this type of work. Michael noted that this year SHR have focused on embedding the new framework and the new AAS process, but will look towards Thematic work in 2020/21. The group provided some suggestions for topics. 

Rent Consultation

The Liaison group noted that they were aware of a rise in the number of tenants reporting concerns about rent consultations and increases. They noted that their experience was consistent with the findings of the recent SHR thematic on rent consultation.

Michael advised that he was due to speak at TIS event on 24 October on rent setting and affordability in Glasgow. He committed to making reference to consultation as part of this speech. 

George made a commitment to raise tenants worries about rent increases at upcoming events and meetings with ALACHO, GWSF and SFHA. 

Assurance statements

The Liaison group said they welcomed the fact that the Statutory Guidance on assurance statements is clear that landlords should be considering feedback from tenants and service users as part of their assurance frameworks, and noted that feedback is an important and objective view of performance.

Michael noted that it is important for landlords to get the right information at the right time from tenants to feed into the AAS.

Statutory intervention and engagement plans 

The Liaison group explained that they keep up to date with information on statutory intervention and engagement plans on the SHR website. They asked if SHR see any trends 

8. RTO Liaison Group up-date

Region 1

  • The regional group met on 18 October. 
  • The constitution will be updated to reflect some member change requests.
  • All attendees at the meeting reported that their landlords had provided them with the landlord reports on ARC performance. They also reported that some of the landlords consulted with tenants on AAS and some didn’t.  
  • There are 3 interested parties coming on to the network who will attend TIS meeting next week.

Region 2 

Nil report.

Region 3

  • The regional group are looking at what they want to see at the TIS national event.
  • There have been 2 consultations which they have provided feedback on:-
    • Short stay lets (e.g. Air BnB)
    • Quality of Temporary Homeless Accommodation 
  • There has also been some discussion around tenant consultation regarding AAS. There seemed to be a lack of AAS & tenant consultation across all areas of the region.

Region 4

  • 2 new members representing West Dunbartonshire have joined the group. 
  • There is still no representative for East Dunbartonshire.
  • Vice Chair, Lyndsay Anderson from the group is hoping to go along to observe the next Joint Housing Policy Delivery Group (JHPDG) meeting. She may be asked to join as a formal member. 

All: 

  • The Scottish Government (Michael Boal’s team) have issued a questionnaire reading HRA which will feed into a SG report. All regions are working on this
  • Network representatives recently met Audit Scotland (AS) to discuss a report due in Summer 2020 about development and new build
  • Kelda asked for an update on the meeting with AS on 3 July that Network Chairs attended to discuss what assessment AS make when looking at local authority HRA’s.  The meeting was set up at the request of the Housing Minister, which Bruce attended. We are awaiting a further update on this.

9. National Panel – Lauren O’Kane

We published five reports from this year’s Panel work. One on each of the four topics listed below: 

  1. Participation and digital access
  2. Rent consultation
  3. Homelessness services
  4. Gypsy Travellers

A separate report providing an overview of all of the Panel’s work was also published. This report looks at the key findings of the four themed reports. All of the reports are available on our website

Lauren was unfortunately unavailable to provide a presentation at the meeting as planned, however she provided an update on the National Panel by email following the meeting. 

10. National Report on the Scottish Social Housing Charter - Sylvia Ward

Sylvia attended to give an over view of the National report which was recently published. 

The report gives the headline findings of our sixth, national analysis of landlords’ performance against the Charter. It shows that overall, landlords continue to perform well in the service areas that matter most to tenants. Tenant satisfaction remains high, with nine out of ten social housing tenants satisfied with their landlord’s overall service.

We published the report alongside a suite of performance information. This includes a summary report on each landlord’s Charter performance, an online comparison tool, live data tables, and all of the information landlords provided under the Charter.

The landlord reports and comparison tool let tenants find out about their landlord’s performance in the areas tenants said matter most: homes and rents, quality and maintenance, neighbourhoods, tenant satisfaction, and value for money.

11. Any Other Business 

  • Date of Next meeting  - 28 January 2020