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Social Housing Speed Read – Review into Professionalisation

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced on the 18th January 2022 the launch of the Social Housing White Paper Professionalisation Review, with the working group to include representatives from the Chartered Institute of Housing, TPAS, Sanctuary Housing, and North Star Housing Group.

This review shall consider the availability and adequacy of the qualifications and training available to social housing staff, with a view to improve tenant treatment. Landlords, tenants, and trade bodies are expected to be offered the opportunity to provide their view on what training they consider to be necessary, which should allow the Department for Levelling Up to identify which areas are being adequately met, and those that require additional support.

However, at this stage, it is the social housing residents that are being urged to come forward and offer their experiences in engaging with staff and social housing providers, and provide opinion on what changes they consider to be needed.

This review follows on the coattails of the Social Housing White Paper, which set out the Government’s new approach towards ensuring that all social housing residents are safe, heard, living in good quality homes, and have effective routes for resolving disputes and grievances. It was suggested that increased professionalisation was to be a core focus in achieving these aims, according to the Social Housing Reform in England: What Next? document published by the House of Commons in May 2021.

This review is being conducted in the context that recent reports have found that a majority of social housing tenants are not satisfied with how their complaints have been handled, with further statistics indicating that complaints of tenants have more than doubled in the past year.

Grenfell, the media attention on housing conditions, and a regulatory “eye off the ball” on the   housing management has resulted in a renewed focus by Government on what surely must be the core purpose of social landlords.

In speaking on this Review, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP, has said:

‘Too many social housing residents have told me they feel like they are not listened to or treated with respect…this needs to stop. This review announced today will drive up the standard of services…[and] is a key element of our Social Housing White Paper, which is bringing forward wide-ranging improvements for tenants’.

Thus it is clear a fresh round of scrutiny is to be aimed towards Social Housing providers, and it will be crucial in the coming weeks and months to ensure that all staff are adequately trained and qualified for the provision of Social Housing services, and that all tenants are aware of the relevant complaints procedures and are reassured that their concerns are being handled effectively and respectfully.

Landlords, residents, and any other interested parties can now contribute to the Review by emailing Professionalisation.Review@communities.gov.uk. For any further information or advice on handling tenant grievances or establishing effective resolution procedures, please contact Simon Thirtle at simon.thirtle@wardhadaway.com.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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John Murray

Partner | Built Environment

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+44 (0)790 049 4700

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Simon Thirtle

Partner | Built Environment

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