The Social Housing Green Paper: What do we know?

In March, our Chief Executive Laurice Ponting shared insight from recent conversations about the Social Housing Green Paper with senior leaders from across the sector. You can read an abridged version of her communication below. To receive a copy in full, please contact elaine.middleton@housemark.co.uk.

At HouseMark we are regularly out and about meeting with senior teams, CEOs and sector influencers. Many of our recent conversations have been about what is likely to happen to the Social Housing Green Paper post-Brexit and what the sector is doing to prepare for it. Although Ministers have been silent on the issue for a while, it’s clear there are discussions going on behind-the-scenes to prepare for an announcement ahead of the second anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy.

So, what do we know and how is the sector preparing?

1. The sector should expect enhanced consumer regulation. We don’t know what that will look like yet nor which body will be mandated to carry it out. This could be the current Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) or a new consumer regulator entirely, perhaps taking a steer on its purpose and scope from that of other consumer regulators like the FCA.

2. The sector should expect to have to report upon consumer metrics which could be published by the regulator in some form to demonstrate transparency and enable comparisons across providers.

3. Through our network, we are working with representatives from across all parts of the social housing sector to develop solutions to some of the challenges set out in the Green Paper which are meaningful for tenants and deliverable by landlords.

4. The RSH is making it clear that being open and honest about what providers want to achieve and how they are doing it is important in demonstrating sector accountability.

5. Proactive providers are already getting ahead and not waiting for definitive direction from government on regulation. HouseMark is working with a number of organisations who are taking action now.

6. There has been much discussion as to whether the sector should be measuring customer experience or customer satisfaction. STAR remains the dominant framework for collecting satisfaction information in the social housing sector. We think it’s time for a fundamental review to ensure STAR remains a relevant and trusted tool for the sector. We are taking a collaborative approach to the review, with an interim report due in June and the launch of the new methodology targeted for October 2019.

For more information about the STAR review, please contact jonathan.cox@housemark.co.uk.

By Natalia Karska

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