Regulator of Social Housing says providers ‘should not wait’ when it comes to the White Paper. What does this mean for your organisation?

On Monday Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) opened Inside Housing’s Digital Housing Week. She was talking about the lessons learnt so far in the pandemic and how the sector has managed during this challenging time, praising its ‘agility and focus’.

One thing was front and centre throughout what she said: keeping tenants’ needs at the heart of operations while maintaining transparency and accountability.

The Government has confirmed its intention to publish the Social Housing White Paper before the end of this year. When it does arrive, the sector can still expect enhanced consumer regulation and redress, as well as the need to report on their performance in relation to the customer voice, customer experiences and satisfaction.  On Monday, Fiona was clear about what the sector should be doing now:

“We’ve said for some time that providers should not wait to focus on areas of their service or their engagement with tenants they need to improve.”

Since the Green Paper was first published, we have been working closely with landlords who want to improve and the overwhelming response to our STAR review demonstrated the sector’s commitment to improving customer satisfaction.

After her session at Housing 2019, our Chief Executive Laurice Ponting wrote a blog outlining how social housing providers can  keep their service delivery relevant and meet the expectations that tenants and leaseholders experience as consumers in other parts of their lives – despite the pandemic, looking back this still feels as relevant today while we await the White Paper as it was then.

The relationship between landlord and tenants has changed significantly throughout the crisis, and our members are telling us that tenants and leaseholders have been happier as a result. Landlords have been able to better understand the levels of vulnerable customers in their homes – triggering strategic discussions about what suitable and sustainable service provision looks like for the future. We launched HouseMark STAR, the only co-created framework for consistently measuring comparable customer satisfaction in January. The new features included the flexibility to collect responses via a range of methods including online and by text message. The catalyst to move to more digital delivery has seen landlords use this framework to understand what is most important to their tenants to drive action. We are now preparing to launch the our HouseMark STAR rating – for more information about progress to date and how HouseMark STAR has been modernised visit our webpage or contact emily.cullingham@housemark.co.uk to find out more.

With so much to learn from the pandemic and a clear expectation from the regulator that landlords should be prioritising tenant engagement, don’t miss the chance to attend our customer experience ‘Ask the experts’ virtual panel session on Thursday, 9 July. Welcoming a virtual panel of experienced housing professionals – who have worked in housing organisations, or as consultants to the sector – the event will aim to share important answers and ideas to address your key concerns, and provide essential advice and guidance to understand and improve customer experience in your organisation.

‘Ask the experts’ is free to HouseMark members. Find out more and secure your place here.

By Emily Dixon

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