SHR Board Meeting Minutes - 27 February 2024


02 April 2024


02 April 2024




George Walker (GW)

SHR Chair

Andrew Watson (AW)

SHR Deputy Chair

Siobhan White (SW)

SHR Board member & ARAC Chair (from during item 5)

Ewan Fraser (EF)

SHR Board member

Helen Trouten Torres (HTT)

SHR Board member

Marieke Dwarshuis (MD)

SHR Board member



In attendance at the meeting


Michael Cameron (MC)

SHR Chief Executive

Helen Shaw (HS)

SHR Director of Regulation (items 1-8 & 10)

Iain Muirhead (IM)

SHR Director of Digital & Business Support (items 1-8 & 10)

Roisin Harris (RH)

SHR Corporate Governance Manager (items 1-8 & 10)

Linsey Smith (LS)

SHR Communications Officer (item 6)

Callum Chomczuk (CC)

Chartered Institute of Housing (item 10)





Caroline Cameron-Russell(CRC)

SHR Regulation Analyst (items 1-8 & 10)

Linda McKenna (LM)

SHR Regulation Manager (items 1-8 & 10) 

Welcome, Apologies and Declarations

GW welcomed all present, especially the staff observers.  The Board noted apologies from SHR Board members Lindsay Paterson (LP) and Colin Stewart (CS).   It also noted SHR Board member SW would join the meeting later.  

The Board considered declarations and noted that LP is now working on the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry, which is referenced in the Chief Executive’s report.  It noted LP and SHR will be mindful of any potential future conflicts of interest.

AW reported that his son has started a joint contract with Shettleston and Tollcross Housing Associations.  

The Board noted the declarations and that the members will update published declarations of interest. 

Consent Agenda

The Board noted and approved the consent agenda including:

  • The Chair and Member activity report;
  • Board minutes from December 2023;
  • a note of the Board workshop in January 2024;
  • the matters arising report; and
  • draft minutes from the ARAC meeting in December 2023.   

The Board noted that update to the Terms of Reference for ARAC were on the agenda and agreed to consider these when SW joined the meeting.

Chief Executive’s Report

MC presented on issues and developments that impact regulated bodies, the wider housing environment and SHR.  He highlighted that the Scottish Government had published statistics on homelessness that day and reported that SHR will do some further analysis to feed into its ongoing risk assessment and update the Board. 

MC also reported on recent meetings he had attended of the Housing to 2040 Strategic Board and with Scottish Parliament Committees.   MC explained that there was a focus on the challenges around homelessness at each.   MC highlighted that COSLA, ALACHO and local authorities are reporting that there will be statutory failures until the operating context and resource position changes.  MC explained the challenge for SHR in terms of engagement to seek improvement.  He also explained the potential impact on other service areas over the coming years as landlords re-profile investment programmes as well as the range and extent of services that they can provide. 

The Board considered the report and discussed:

  • Housing to 2040, welcoming that in general the vision for the Scottish Government’s strategy is still supported despite that resource challenges related to delivery and agreeing the importance of highlighting the value and wider contribution that social housing makes to the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes;
  • the importance of leadership from Scottish Government, especially in terms of action planning, noting the challenges for it in responding to the most immediate issues and ongoing stakeholder discussions;
  • SHR’s communication planning, noting a likely adjustment in tone to reflect the current situation around systemic failures;
  • investment, noting good availably of private funding from traditional routes and that any new borrowing comes at a cost, which ultimately will be reflected in rents. It also discussed the increase cost of building, and investment issues around aging stock; and
  • information and insight that SHR can bring to stakeholder discussions, but agreeing that investment and policy decisions go beyond the scope of regulation, noting wider housing system issues like land release and planning policy.

MC also updated the Board on SHR’s data collection around RAAC.  He reported that currently:

  • 11 local authorities have found RAAC in stock;
  • 106 landlords have confirmed that there is none present; and
  • 48 landlords are continuing investigations.

The Board welcomed SHR’s recently correspondence with landlords who are continuing investigations and noted it will be updated as these conclude.   MC confirmed that the tenants impacted have been informed by all social landlords and SHR is continuing to engage to understand plans.  He explained that the costs to remediate will impact the sector’s building and investment programmes.   The Board noted the update and welcomed that SHR would encourage all involved to conclude  investigations as soon as possible.

MC reported that the Scottish Parliament is considering the Scottish Budget that afternoon and no changes are anticipated for SHR.  He explained that Scottish Government has confirmed some budget treatments that will be applied to SHR’s budget and this will slightly increase available revenue spend, so reducing the expected shortfall and anticipated vacancy rate it would need to achieve.  

The Board noted the Chief Executive’s report.

2023/24 Annual Report Narrative

RH presented a proposed outline of the structure and topics to cover for SHR’s 2023/24 annual performance report as dictated by the Scottish Public Finance Manual and a timetable for production ahead of audit.  The Board considered the outline and discussed:

  • Best Value, agreeing to include some information on SHR’s related work:
  • the importance of setting out work plans that SHR has not been able to complete in the year as well as what it as achieved; and
  • the forthcoming three year strategy, asking RH to look for opportunities to reference this and the wider impact of social housing.

The Board approved the outline subject to inclusion of the topics that it discussed.  

Action: RH to take account of Board feedback as she develops a first draft of the narrative for the Board to consider in March 2024.  

Quarter Three Corporate Performance Report

MC presented SHR’s corporate performance report for quarter three.  He highlighted the Scottish Government’s public service reform agenda, explaining that SHR submitted a further information return to Scottish Government recently following a similar submission already made in September 2023.  He reported on discussions with other public delivery bodies on the data collections. 

MC also highlighted the volume of FOI requests that SHR handled in the quarter and new duties emerging around consumers legislation.   MC confirmed that SHR does not actively measure and monitor time spent responding to FOI requests as it has a statutory duty to respond to within target timescales, which it does monitor. 

HS updated the Board on engagement with Reidvale Housing Association. The Board welcomed that Paul Sweeney MSP had met with SHR that it had offered future meetings. 

The Board also discussed:

  • introduction of online web forms for tenants to submit concerns about landlord performance in additional to the other available routes, noting cost considerations and that this was only raised by one respondent to SHR’s consultation;
  • SHR’s risk register, considering if it reflected the strains and stresses in the wider housing sector. It noted that the register reflects the risks to SHR rather than wider risks to regulated organisations and that a register and strategy review is ongoing with ARAC and Management Team and will come to the Board in March

The Board noted the Quarter Three Corporate Performance Report.

ARAC Terms of Reference

SW presented proposals from ARAC to update its Terms of Reference.  The Board considered the updates and approved the changes, noting this is an annual exercise.  

Action: IM to implement the new Terms of reference for ARAC and publish these on SHR’s website. 

People surveys

IM presented an overview of the 2023 Civil Service People Survey findings and also the results of a survey of SHR’s staff about the Board.   He reported on SHR’s positive results highlighting the context of change and challenges especially around SHR’s office accommodation.   IM reported that SHR’s overall engagement score has increased, with  SHR in the top quartile of all the bodies that participated UK wide, and that its overall engagement index score is the equal highest of all participating organisations across the UK alongside Active Transport England.  IM explained work with staff to inform action plans.   He also reported on the very positive results of the staff survey about the Board.  The Board considered both surveys and discussed:

  • staff observers at Board meetings, agreeing it could accommodate more to meet interest and that it would also welcome back staff who have observed previously as recent spaces had been prioritised for new joiners;
  • feedback from staff around future priorities, noting this has been used to help shape the future strategy;
  • the role of managers and how that is positively reflected in the surveys;
  • the importance of continued training opportunities for staff, welcoming work to refresh SHR’s learning and development strategy and a recent skills audit which is informing learning programmes;
  • Board member interaction with regulated organisations, agreeing that this was different from operational regulatory work and is important for the Board to hear directly from landlords on broader strategic issues; and
  • opportunities for a broader range of staff to present papers to the Board, welcoming that LS had observed this item noting her input to facilitating the surveys for SHR.

The Board thanked IM and LS.  It also thanked all the SHR staff who had participated in the surveys. 

Action: RH to reflect the Board’s feedback around future observing and participation opportunities for SHR staff at Board meetings.

AOB, Effectiveness of meetings & papers and DONM

The Board considered and noted the agenda planner.  It noted that RH will explore if there is an alternative date for the meeting in October.  It also noted that the date for the August Board meeting has been amended and the Chair thanked members for being flexible. 

The Board noted and thanked the staff observers for their feedback. 

GW thanked AW for stepping into chair when he briefly lost connection during the meeting. GW also reported on some issues he is experiencing with the Board’s file sharing system.  The Board confirmed that these issues are not widespread.  

The Board will meet on 26 March 2024.

Private session

The Board met in private with the Chief Executive.

Charter Institute of Housing (CIH)

The Board met with CC, National Director of the CIH in Scotland.  CC presented to the Board on CIH.  He set out the challenges and context for the entire housing sector in Scotland.  CC highlighted partnership work CIH does with Women’s Aid on domestic abuse and with Fife Council on rapid rehousing.  He also spoke about Scottish Housing Day, CIH’s lobbying role and CIH’s aims around professionalism in the sector.  Finally, CC explained the UK wide role that CIH has and some developments in the rest of the UK.  

The Board and CC discussed:  

  • the economic and social impact of housing and how the information and reports that SHR publishes are welcomed and provide evidence for organisations like CIH who have a lobbying role and can use this to help make the case for social housing;
  • the role of the private rented sector, how this differs from social housing, the current challenges and the Scottish Government’s position around future regulation;
  • challenges for the Scottish investment market including the impact of different rent controls policies in the UK;
  • retrofit and challenges for owner occupiers, also more general issues around resourcing, technology development and how progress competes as a priority with other important areas such as homelessness. 

The Board noted that CIH welcomes SHR’s publications including thematic reports that bring regulatory insight.  It welcomed the strong working relationship that SHR has with CIH.  The Board thanked CC for making time to meet with it and nothing the forthcoming CIH Housing festival in March 2024, which most of SHR Board and many SHR staff members plan to attend. 


Between the 31 January and 26 March 2024 the Board received briefings covering:

  • Media coverage on social housing;
  • Engagement with Reidvale Housing Association;
  • CIH Housing Festival;
  • RSL audited financial statements;