Consultation feedback and our response

Introduction

1.1

Social landlords, tenants and other people who use their services continue to face unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social landlords continue to deliver services in very difficult circumstances and are working hard to meet the needs of their communities.

1.2

In July we consulted on proposals to adjust our regulatory approach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognising the challenges social landlords are facing. You can read the consultation documents here.

Consultation feedback and our response

2.1

We received responses from a total of 57 organisations and individuals, including:

  • 10 local authorities
  • 31 Registered Social Landlords
  • Scottish Regional Networks of Registered Tenant Organisations SHR Liaison Group
  • Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO)
  • Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Glasgow & West of Scotland Forum (GWSF)
  • Chartered Institute of Housing
  • UK Finance
  • Accounts Commission
  • Shelter

We published responses on our website here.   Thank you to everyone for sharing your views with us. 

Annual Assurance Statements

2.2

Respondents to the consultation expressed a range of views on the timescale for the submission of the Annual Assurance Statement (AAS), although there was broad consensus on us providing advisory guidance on producing an AAS in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2.3

Around 54% of respondents agreed with the proposal to hold to the October submission date, while 37% asked for an extension to the timescale. Both the SFHA and GWSF requested an extension to the submission timescale, by a minimum of one month and two months respectively, while ALACHO agreed with holding to the October submission timescale.  Table 1 provides a breakdown of how respondents answered the question: are our proposals for the Annual Assurance Statement right?

 

Table 1: Respondent

Yes

No

Partial

RSLs

15

14

2

Local authorities

8

1

1

Sector bodies

2

4

0

Tenant groups

1

1

1

Lenders

2

0

0

Others

3

1

0

Total

31

21

4

 

2.4

The SFHA asked for an extension of at least one month to facilitate the updating of the Toolkit guidance and other guidance it provides to landlords to take account of the new advisory guidance on the Annual Assurance Statement. Taking this on board, and recognising the range of views from respondents, we have set the date for the submission of the Annual Assurance Statement this year at 30 November.  This extension means that we will have a shorter time period than usual to complete our annual risk assessment and deliver Engagement Plans for each landlord.  So, we are asking landlords to submit their Statements before the end of November where they can to help us proceed with the annual risk assessment at the earliest time possible.

Reporting on the Charter

2.5

There was general agreement amongst respondents to the proposal to extend the timescale for landlords to report their performance in achieving or progressing towards the Charter outcomes and standards to their tenants and other service users from end October to end December. Around 86% of respondents agreed with the proposed change. Table 2 provides a breakdown of how respondents answered the question: are our proposals for the publication of Charter performance right?   

 

Table 2: Respondent

Yes

No

Partial

RSLs

29

0

2

Local authorities

8

1

1

Sector bodies

4

0

1

Tenant groups

1

1

1

Lenders

2

0

0

Others

4

0

0

Total

48

2

5

2.6

Given the broad agreement with this proposal, we have set the date for landlords to report their performance in achieving or progressing towards the Charter outcomes and standards to their tenants and other service users at the end of December. We aim to publish the National Report on the Scottish Social Housing Charter at the end of October.

Engagement Plans and regulatory status

2.7

There was broad consensus amongst respondents on the proposals to publish Engagement Plans, with Regulatory Status for RSLs, by the end of March 2021, although some respondents, including some lenders, expressed disappointment that it would not be sooner. Around 84% of respondents agreed with the proposed change.  Table 3 provides a breakdown of how respondents answered the question: are our proposals for the publication of Engagement Plans and regulatory status right?

 

Table 3: Respondent

Yes

No

Partial

RSLs

28

1

2

Local authorities

10

0

0

Sector bodies

2

1

2

Tenant groups

2

1

0

Lenders

1

0

2

Others

4

0

0

Total

47

3

6

2.8
We will publish details of the risks that we will focus on in the annual risk assessment at the end of November. We will use each landlord’s Annual Assurance Statement as part of that risk assessment which will determine the level of engagement we need with that landlord.  We will begin publishing updated Engagement Plans for all landlords at the end of March 2021 and include a Regulatory Status in the new Engagement Plan for each Registered Social Landlord.

Equalities and Human Rights

2.9

In our consultation we did not make any proposals to change the requirement on social landlords relating to equalities and human rights. However, some respondents asked about an extension to the timescales relating to our assessment of landlords’ compliance with these requirements.

2.10

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.

2.11

In recognition of this, we will issue further guidance next year asking each landlord to include an update on their position in relation to equalities and human rights in the Annual Assurance Statement they will provide to us in October 2021.