Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023: Is your HR team prepared for the changes ahead?

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 passed earlier this year has introduced mandatory professional qualifications for Social Housing Managers. This change seeks to ensure that all managers have the skills and qualifications necessary to provide a high-quality professional service for their clients.

Those required to have professional qualifications within the sector are Senior Housing Executives who must have or be working towards either a foundation degree from the Chartered Institute of Housing or a Level 5 Diploma in Housing, and Senior Housing Managers who must have or be working towards a Level 4 Certificate in Housing.

It is imperative that all registered providers of social housing take steps now to prepare and implement these changes to avoid potential pitfalls.

How can our Employment Law Team help you stay ahead of the changes?

  1. Deciding who is affected by the changes.

Descriptions of both Senior Housing Executives and Senior Housing Managers contained within the act are vague. By reviewing your contracts of employment, policy handbook, job descriptions and having a discussion with you about the day-to-day responsibilities of your colleagues, we can help you determine who in your organisation this change applies to.

Ascertaining who exactly need to have these qualifications within your organisation can make the implementation of these changes a lot less daunting from an organisational perspective. We would recommend this as the best first step.

  1. Managing the changes to your organisation

We can help by assisting your organisation with any necessary consultation process. It would be beneficial to consult about these changes sooner rather than later, as it is expected to take full effect within the next two years. The key to effective organisational change is open communication and transparency. Thus, we can ensure your organisation has a clear plan to feedback to your colleagues and ensure that you are well-equipped to answer any of the questions your colleagues are likely to pose.

To account for these changes, your organisation may need new policies to cover study leave/time off to attend college, university or virtual learning platforms; a potential recoupment of fees clause, or provisions that cover re-sitting exams and any expenses involved with this.

There is also the issue of potential discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 to consider. We can assist you in determining how best to implement these changes with any of your colleagues who are currently off on long-term sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave and sabbaticals.  We can, for example, help you put reasonable adjustments in place for colleagues with disabilities to ensure that all who are required to obtain the mandatory qualifications, have the correct support.

We can further help to amend or redraft contracts of employment and/or policy handbooks to reflect these changes.

  1. What to do if a colleague does not achieve the qualification

We can support your organisation to ensure that the correct processes are being followed if a colleague did not gain the qualification within the implementation period.

Whilst the implementation of this legislation appears to be at an early stage and we await further details from the Government as to the transitional process, it is crucial that registered providers of social housing start to plan. Preparation is the key!

For further information, please contact our employment team.

Blog Author:
Eleanor-Mary Silk

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