Why we are engaging with Viewpoint
We are engaging with Viewpoint about its governance and financial management.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the services provided by social landlords in 2020 and will continue to influence how services are provided in 2021. We will continue to monitor, assess and report upon how each landlord is responding and we will keep our regulatory engagement under review so that we can continue to respond to the challenges of COVID-19.
Viewpoint informed us in its Annual Assurance Statement that there were areas of material non compliance with the Regulatory Standards of Governance and Financial Management (Regulatory Standards).
Viewpoint became aware of allegations of fraud during September 2020. An investigation into the allegations was carried out and completed in October 2020. The investigation report found that there was no evidence to support the allegation of fraud however it did raise a number of serious weaknesses in relation to assurances provided to the Board, contract management, the internal control framework including financial controls and the association’s budget and forecast processes.
Viewpoint commissioned a further review to evaluate evidence of compliance with Regulatory Standards. Viewpoint told us that there are areas of material non compliance with Regulatory Standards including assurances relating to value for money, compliance with procurement regulation and adherence to the association’s procurement systems, processes and internal controls.
Viewpoint has agreed to develop a comprehensive action plan to work through the required actions. We are engaging with Viewpoint to seek assurance that it addresses all areas of non compliance.
Viewpoint has also commissioned internal audits into Procurement and Assets, in particular its processes to authorise works orders.
Viewpoint is working openly and constructively with us as it takes forward this work.
The Housing (Scotland) Act (2010) requires us to monitor and assess the financial well being, governance and performance of each Registered Social Landlord.
Our current assessment is that Viewpoint is working towards compliance with the Regulatory Standards of Governance and Financial Management. We set out below the information that Viewpoint must provide in order to assure us that it can achieve compliance.
What Viewpoint must do
- develop a comprehensive action plan which addresses the areas of non compliance;
- keep us informed of its progress against meeting the actions in the plan; and
- send us a copy of the internal audit report on Procurement and keep us informed of any issues arising from the audit of Assets.
What we will do
- meet with Viewpoint to discuss the investigation findings;
- provide feedback on Viewpoint’s action plan;
- continue to liaise with Viewpoint and consider its progress in addressing the areas of non compliance;
- review the internal audit report and follow up if necessary; and
- update our published engagement plan in light of any material change to our planned engagement with Viewpoint.
Viewpoint must provide us with the following annual regulatory returns and alert us to notifiable events as appropriate:
- Annual Assurance Statement;
- audited financial statements and external auditor’s management letter;
- loan portfolio return;
- five year financial projections; and
- Annual Return on the Charter.
It should also notify us of any material changes to its Annual Assurance Statement, and any tenant and resident safety matter which has been reported to or is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive or reports from regulatory or statutory authorities or insurance providers, relating to safety concerns.