We’re here to give social landlords the confidence to make decisions and to always be in the know with how you can make a difference to the lives of your customers, your people, and your business. This year, we’ve worked alongside the sector to navigate operational complexity and evidence strategic prioritisation… and now we’re ready to redefine what’s possible with you into 2022. Here’s our round up of our top predictions for the New Year…
We’ll see widespread investment in data quality
Regulatory bodies UK-wide have been clear on the need for accurate data to respond to evolving requirements including the decarbonisation agenda and building safety… but we’ve discovered that 96% of social housing professionals think there are some data quality issues within their organisation. An investment of both time and money will be needed for organisations to get assurance on the quality of their data and we expect this to be a key priority next year. Look out for more on our sector-wide data quality in 2022 – including our data-driven decarbonisation research project.
Operational challenges will remain for repairs services
Repairs performance has been put under the spotlight in recent months as we’ve seen from ITV’s coverage on the state of repairs in social housing, as well as the embedding of the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code to support consumer redress… and it looks like this profile will continue into 2022. Access issues, staff shortages and the rising cost of materials have all added to operational complexity for repairs services, and we forecast that these issues will continue for the remainder of the financial year. Aside from the usual spike in demand over winter, these factors are likely to limit the return of pre-pandemic repairs volumes until later in 2022. However, we forecast a gradual increase in repairs satisfaction as landlords work through backlogs and solve material shortages to minimise end-to-end delays. For more sector summary performance analysis, take a look at our latest Quarterly Forecast report.
More landlords will join the ESG ‘early-adopters’
For UK social housing, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has developed into a consistent set of measures laid out in the Sustainability and Reporting Standard (SRS). This year, more than 50 landlords voluntarily pledged to make their report publicly available. With the rising profile of ESG concerns and the need for quantitative metrics by potential investors, we expect to see more landlords adopt this standard. Look out for our exclusive analysis of what we can learn from these early adopters in early 2022.
Landlords will need to be innovative about understanding their customer base
The message from the English Regulator since the publication of the Social Housing Green Paper has been clear: do not wait for regulation to do the right thing now. Our analysis of where the English sector is now against the proposed tenant satisfaction metrics (TSMs) has shown that it has responded to this and is already collecting and reporting on much of this data, however the Regulator has said that the TSMs are the baseline from which landlords should build understanding of their tenants and that much better insight is required to truly meet the needs of a diverse range of customers. In 2022, we’ll see resident engagement, customer services, and a variety of customer-facing teams work together to bring this diversity to understanding the customer voice.
The increased cost of living will impact on arrears
As we near the end of 2021, we are seeing some impact on arrears corresponding with an increased cost of living, with inflation topping 5%. The effect of lower real incomes, paired with the rent increase, will result in challenging conditions for rent and arrears collection teams up to year-end. As a result, we forecast that arrears will be slightly higher in March 2022 than we recorded in March 2021, with increased challenges into the new year.
More uncertainty looks certain… but we know the sector can respond
Through our COVID-19 impact monitoring and Monthly Pulse, we’ve now tracked performance and charted recovery over 20 months and through three lockdowns – including the sudden and severe restrictions in March 2020 – and we’ve seen how resilient the sector has been in its response. The prognosis for the virus into 2022 and the possibility of further restrictions is still unknown… but what we do know is that the sector is resilient and has responded well to challenges so far.
To find out more about how we can work together in 2022, contact us.