NIFHA today warmly welcomed the Department for Social Development’s proposals for a new regulatory approach to social housing.
DSD, through its Social Housing Reform Programme (SHRP), has published a consultation paper entitled ‘Proposals for A New Regulatory Framework for Social Housing Providers in Northern Ireland’.
The proposals set out the framework that will be used to regulate housing activities and services provided by social landlords. The consultation proposes a regulatory framework that:
• Protects and empowers tenants;
• Ensures the continued provision of high-quality housing services;
• Provides assurance to tenants, investors and Government; and
• Supports social landlords in service delivery enabling them to become more innovative.
In response to the proposals, Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations, said:
“NIFHA warmly welcomes DSD’s proposals for a new regulatory framework for social housing providers.
Housing associations recognise the need for effective regulation to provide assurance to tenants, politicians and funders. However for some time housing associations have felt that the compliance-based system imposed unreasonable bureaucratic burdens and was too focused on process rather than the outcomes being delivered for customers.
DSD has heeded these concerns and we are pleased to have been able to contribute to the proposed approach. The new system should be based on robust outcome-focused standards around consumer standards, governance and financial viability. ‘Better regulation’ principles will help ensure the revised approach is proportionate, transparent, consistent and targeted.
As a result, we expect housing association boards will have greater freedom to set the strategic direction of their organisations, as well as in providing them with constructive challenge. Freed from excessive compliance requirements, housing providers can work more closely with tenants in scrutinising and improving services. Customers will have more opportunity to shape services and hold their landlord to account through access to fuller and more timely information.
We thank Minister Storey and his officials for the valuable work so far in re-shaping social housing regulation. We look forward to continued close working with DSD, tenant groups, funders and other key partners in finalising and implementing the new system.”
For further information contact Danny Lorimer by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 02890897695.