Social Housing Speed Read – revised Value for Money standards
2nd October, 2017
Value for Money (VFM) is the standard by which the HCA regulates the performance of registered providers in terms of performance of their functions economically, efficiently and in a manner that value is obtained from social housing investment.
The current VFM standard was introduced in 2012. The HCA is proposing to revise and replace this standard with one which is strengthened, alongside a supporting Code of Practice which will aid registered providers in their understanding of the VFM standard.
The HCA is consulting on both the VFM standard and the Code of Practice. The consultation is an opportunity for interested persons and organisations to influence the development and implementation of the revised VFM standard and its code of practice and its coming into force is proposed for April 2018.
The HCA’s proposals on updating the standard reflect the environment providers are now operating in. The consultation document outlines the following objectives for the revised standard:
- To continue improvement in VFM in the sector
- To embed a strategic approach in businesses for delivering VFM
- To encourage investment in existing homes and new housing supply
- To enhance consistency, comparability and transparency in VFM reporting
The HCA has said that it is “more important than ever” that housing associations demonstrate how their VFM delivers the new and affordable housing and tenant support that is needed.
The new standard aims to move away from self-assessment reporting to include more focused reporting by registered providers “in order to increase consistency, comparability and transparency”.
Next Steps (VFM)
Julian Ashby, chair of the HCA Regulation Committee, said that VFM influences registered providers ability to “deliver new homes, support tenants and ensure existing stock is well maintained”.
The closing date for the VFM consultation is Wednesday 20 December 2017 and responses are to be made via https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ValueforMoneyStandard
In addition to the VFM consultation, the HCA is also seeking feedback on a selection of performance metrics for providers to report their progress to the regulator through.
The last day for feedback on this is Wednesday 22 November 2017 and any feedback should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
CIH calls for closer relationships with local authorities
A report authored by the CIH and sponsored by the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) along with Housing Association VIVID, is called ‘Building Bridges’ and aims to provide guidance on how housing associations and councils can work more effectively together.
John Bibby, Chief Executive of ARCH, recognises that “there are undoubtedly some tensions between what should be very strong partners”.
The two parties have been put under strain by reduced funding, welfare reforms and financial pressures. The CIH suggest that a closer relationship between the two is crucial to meet housing need and housing crisis.
What does the report suggest?
Terrie Alafat CBE, Chief Executive of CIH, says that most of the tension between local authorities and registered providers is rooted in government policy.
As well as making suggestions to councils and housing associations, the report also makes some recommendations to government on how it can assist in making the relationship between them thrive. Some of the recommendations include:
- The two bodies working together to form a Local Housing Affordability Framework (LHAF)
- At local level developing efficient systems together for allocations and lettings.
- Suggestions to government to grant local authorities more freedom in facilitating affordable housing by making it easier for them to dispose of land.
- Suggestions for government to increase grant levels for low-rent homes.
In the movement to tackle the housing crisis, a better working relationship between the two bodies in the sector will ensure “safe, decent and affordable” housing is delivered to communities.
If you have any questions on the above and how it will affect social housing providers, or any other questions as a social housing provider, please do not hesitate to contact John Murray or a member of our expert Social Housing Team.
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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