The Better Social Housing Review: Joint NHF and CIH action plan – what it means for you

 The National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing have come together to produce an action plan, setting out what they will do to work alongside registered providers of social housing in response to the Better Social Housing Review.

The recommendations and action plans are dealing with issues that have been prevalent in social housing and are becoming spotlighted i.e., the importance of repairs and maintenance, inequality for tenants with protected characteristics, and ensuring that the customer is at the center of all actions and decisions made by housing associations.

Boards and all employees of housing associations should be aware of these recommendations and meet them moving forward.

In summary, the NHF and CIH have proposed actions for the following recommendations:

Recommendation Every housing association, and the sector as a whole, should refocus on their core purpose and deliver against it.
Organisation leading National Housing Federation
Notes and Action plan The core purpose of the sector is ‘to provide decent, safe homes for those who can’t afford the market.

  • Ensure importance of equality, diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority and encourage the consideration of societal inequalities that exist in communities where they have homes
  • Track progress on improving the quality of social housing
  • Utilise the NHF Code of Governance to improve transparency, demonstrate accountability and increase trust
  • Organise events and share resources which will support and challenge housing associations to reflect on their core purpose and organisational culture.
Recommendation Housing associations should work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of all social housing in England.
Organisation leading National Housing Federation
Notes and Action plan The Better Social Housing Review found that the sector does not have a shared, consistently detailed understanding of the quality of housing association homes. Sector can also do more to link information about residents’ protected characteristics and additional needs with property information.

  • NHF and CIH propose to work with housing associations to develop a new set of core indicators on the condition of homes and who lives in them
  • Work with the Regulator and officials to ensure the new indicators take into consideration the revised Decent Homes Standard and then new consumer regulation standards
  • Continue to influence the legislative and regulatory changes as they develop
  • Consult on proposals with all NHF and CIH members to ensure they work for all sizes of organisations
  • Share examples of good practice from the ongoing work to improve the quality of housing association homes.
Recommendation Housing Associations should partner with residents, contractors, and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an outstanding maintenance and repairs process looks like.
Organisation leading Chartered Institute of Housing
Notes and Action plan Dissatisfaction with repairs and maintenance is a particular concern for residents. Panel noted that barriers relating to disability, ethnicity, not having English as a first language, communication impairments and poor mental health contribute to people not being heard when they raise concerns.

  •  NHF and CIH will support housing associations to review their maintenance and repairs processes, ensuring focus on equitable services for all residents
  • CIH to establish a Best Practice in Repairs and Maintenance Group to identify and develop key metrics on repairs and maintenance performance that can track improvements.
Recommendation CIH should promote the traditional housing officer role as a supported and valued employment opportunity with a Chartered Institute of Housing recognised programme of training and continuing development.
Organisation leading Chartered Institute of Housing
Notes and Action plan The BSHR panel heard of significant levels of stress and low morale being experienced by some social housing staff in resident-facing roles and that they are not given the resources needed to do the job well and take the necessary steps to solve residents’ problems.

  • CIH will promote qualifications, training, and professional standards for the housing officer role in 2023 and beyond
  • Ensure the course content and promotion is inclusive and embraces diversity, avoiding creating systemic barriers or marginalising those who share protected characteristics
  • Encourage and support housing associations to explore inclusive recruitment and reflect on organisational culture.
Recommendation Housing associations should work with all residents to ensure that they have a voice and influence at every level of decision making across the organisation, through both voluntary and paid roles.
Organisation leading National Housing Federation
Notes and Action plan BSHR panel found the voices of Black, Minority Ethnic, and disabled residents are still too often excluded and the issues that disproportionately impact these groups are not always given proper emphasis.

  • NHF will increase the number of Together with tenants adopters
  • Revisit the Together with Tenants Charter to ensure it captures the ambition to eliminate inequality and racism and that it aligns with changes to consumer regulations
  • Offer support to Together with Tenants adopters by sharing good practice.
Recommendation Housing associations should develop a proactive local community presence through community hubs which foster greater multi-agency working.
Organisation leading Chartered Institute of Housing
Notes and Action plan Residents are concerned about reduced face-to-face contact with their housing associations.

  • CIH and NHF recommend creating more community-based hubs. Where this may not be appropriate, the principles of increasing the physical presence of the landlord still applies.
Recommendation Housing associations should support residents and frontline staff to undertake an annual review of the progress each organisation is making in implementing this review’s recommendations.
Organisation leading National Housing Federation
Notes and Action plan BHSR calls on housing associations to make regular assessments of their work to implement the recommendations and lessen inequitable access to good quality housing.

  • NHF and CIH will support housing associations to set up such mechanisms by sharing best practice
  • Highlight examples that have successfully used engagement from residents and staff with diverse backgrounds
  • Using publicly reported date, track progress at a national level.

The full report can be found on the link below and provides further details and timeframes for the above.


Should you or your organisation have any queries regarding the recommendations and action plan, please contact solicitor Beth Mckeown on

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