SHR Board Meeting Minutes - 3 November 2020

Present

 

Present  
George Walker (GW) SHR Chair
Siobhan White (SW) SHR Board Member
Colin Stewart (CS) SHR Board Member
Mike Dailly (MD) SHR Board Member (items 2-10)
Ewan Fraser (EF) SHR Board Member (absent for update on Glasgow inquiry under item 4)
Andrew Watson (AW) SHR Board Member

 

In attendance  
Michael Cameron (MC) SHR Chief Executive
Iain Muirhead (IM) SHR Director of Digital & business Support (items 1-6 & 7 - part of 10)
Ian Brennan (IB) SHR Director of Regulation (items 1-9)
Roisin Harris (RH) SHR Corporate Governance Manager (items 1-9)
Helen Shaw (HS) SHR Assistant Director of Regulation (items 1-3)
Clare Nicolson (CN) SHR Business Manager (items 4-6)
Shazia Razzaq (SR) SHR Assistant Director of Regulation (items 4-5)

 

Observers  
Helen Trouten Torres (HTT) SHR Board Member
Sofia Kareli (SK) SHR Financial Analyst (items 1-9)

Apologies and declarations of interest

GW welcomed all present, especially SK.  The Board noted apologies from SHR Board members Bob Gill (BG) and Helen Trouten Torres and noted that although HTT was not available to fully participate, she would observe.                                      

There were no declarations of interest.

Consent Agenda

The Board noted and approved the consent agenda items including:

  • minutes from 6 October 2020 Board meeting;
  • matters arising report; and
  • Chair and member activity report.

Risk Assessment Methodology

IB and HS presented proposals for the annual risk assessment of landlords.  They highlighted the impact of the pandemic and future challenges for landlords and SHR.  IB also explained that the temporary changes to SHR’s regulatory approach meant returns from landlords were later by SHR than in previous years.  HS explained how the proposed risk assessment methodology focused on the priorities previously agreed with the Board including:

  • services for people who are or could become homeless;
  • tenant and resident safety;
  • RSL governance; and
  • financial health in RSLs.

IB also set out that the risk assessment would be kept under review in light of the changing circumstances, but that any amendments would be brought back to the Board.

The Board considered the proposals and discussed:

  • the complexity in balancing affordability and financial viability and compliance with the Regulatory Standard to manage resources to ensure financial well-being, while maintaining rents at a level that tenants can afford to pay;
  • recent discussions with stakeholders around affordability and viability;
  • rent increases, the importance of landlords seeking efficiencies, rent consultations and the concept of value added choices;
  • how thematic work could be helpful in the area of rents, but noting SHR cannot currently resource this sort of work;
  • challenges around SHR being able to resource and delver the risk assessment, noting that publication of the outcome will commence from March 2021 and this may have to be staggered; and
  • the level of SHR’s priority reactive work and how that could impact delivery of the risk assessment and the importance of retaining some flexibility in the methodology.

The Board thanked HS, IB and all the team involved in preparing the risk assessment proposals, noted the challenges and approved the methodology.  It also noted that SHR plans to would seek to publish a summary of the risk assessment focus at the end of November 2020. 

Action: HS/IB to implement the risk assessment methodology. 

Chief Executive Report

MC presented on issues and developments that impact regulated bodies, the wider housing environment and SHR. 

He highlighted the publication of the recent dashboard showing the impact of the pandemic on landlords and that SHR’s RTO liaison group had met virtually recently. 

MC also highlighted that between meetings, the Board approved spend authority to the purchase new software licenses for the cloud-based replacement for the existing customer relationship management component of SHR’s Business Intelligence System (BIS), (which reaches end-of-life in July 2021) and noted spend will be contained within the existing BIS revenue budget.

The Board considered MC’s update and discussed:

  • the monthly dashboard on the impact of the pandemic on landlords, including drivers for staff absence levels and the use of furlough in the sector;
  • the RTO liaison group, thanking HTT and CW for attending, and agreed it would be useful for Board members to retain contact with the group; and
  • how lettings are working in the sector.

IB updated the Board on engagement with Thistle Housing Association, reporting on the ballot of tenants on a proposed transfer to Sanctuary Scotland and the potential next steps. 

IB updated the Board on the inquiry into Glasgow City Council’s services for people who are experiencing homelessness.  The Board welcomed the forthcoming publication of the report, noting this followed on from SHR’s previous report and engagement and also the next steps.

The Board noted the Chief Executive’s report and between-meeting decision.

 

Quarter Two Budget Update and Mid-Year Reviewvvvv

MC and CN presented an update on SHR’s revenue and capital budget at the end of September and proposed re-stated revenue budgets, based on a mid-year review. 

MC explained the context and reported on recent meetings with Scottish Government and the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning to discuss SHR’s budget.

CN presented SHR’s budget position to the end of September 2020.  She highlighted the vacancies that SHR is holding and updated the Board on spend under the budget headings.  She also explained a new budget line to enable SHR to monitor pandemic-related costs.

The Board thanked MC and CN for the update.  It noted the expenditure in the year to date and the current forecast outturn and approved the restated revenue budget for 2020/21.  

EESSH2

SR presented proposals to consult on indicators that will allow SHR to monitor, assess and report on landlords’ performance against the Scottish Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing 2 (EESSH2).  She explained the consultation timescale and proposals for finalising feedback.  

The Board considered the indicator proposals and reflected on the work for landlords.  SR reported how the sector has been involved in developing EESSH2.  The Board thanked SR and SHR Regulation Manager Janet Dickie for their work.  It noted that some Board members are very interested in the topic and willing to get involved as required. The Board approved the indicator proposals and the plans for consultation and finalising SHR’s response, agreeing this could be done by the Chief Executive, unless there was any adverse reaction.

Action: JD to consult on EESSH2 indicators and agree SHR’s response with MC.

Quarter Two Corporate Performance Report & risk register

MC presented the corporate performance report for quarter two 2020/21. He highlighted the expanded areas which provide more information on intensive casework, and reported on plans to explore case studies during the forthcoming Board workshop in January. 

The Board welcomed the report and discussed:

  • reactive work, including the volume of whistleblowing casework and the impact on SHR’s resources;
  • notifiable events, noting that the numbers seemed to have peaked in quarter one in relation to lockdown office closures and service delivery; and
  • casework information, welcoming the new format and how that may be updated for future reports.

The Board noted the performance report and thanked the SHR staff team. 

AOB

The Board noted that a survey on SHR’s governance would be circulated during November for discussion in December. 

Effectiveness of meeting and papers

SK provided feedback on her experience observing the Board meeting.

Agenda planner, meeting dates 2021 and DONM

The Board will next meet on 1 December 2020. It noted that additional dates have been agreed for provisional meetings in April, July and September 2021 and that these may not all utilised as full Board meetings.    

Private session

The Board held a private session with the Chief Executive and the Director of Digital & Business Support.

Post meeting notes

Between 3 November and 1 December the Board was briefed on:

  • publication of the risks SHR will focus on in its annual risk assessment and updated advisory guidance for RSL governing bodies;
  • dashboard on the impact of COVOD -19 on social landlords;
  • preparation for the evidence session with the Local Government & Communities Committee;
  • a consultation about a proposed direction under Section 67 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010; and
  • changes in SHR’s staff team.