What makes a good Compliance procedure in Social Housing?

Within Social Housing, Registered Providers are seeing an increase in the amount of Compliance related work they are having to undertake. This is an ever-growing area and is more likely to increase in the future. So, how can a Registered Provider of Social Housing ensure it is ready for any changes in this area, and ensure it is dealing with the current requirements efficiently and effectively? 

The number one aim for all providers should be ensuring that they have a good procedures and policies in place. An effective and robust procedure can ensure you stay on the right side of the relevant regulations and ensure that your staff know exactly what they are doing so that each time a property is worked on, the compliance matter is moving forward and never standing still. Getting this right reduces any possibility of risk, and moreover a good procedure can be used as a basis across different areas, from gas and electric, to fire safety. 

So, what are the three biggest tips to ensure a good procedure? 

      1. Timing 

Timing is crucial in compliance. The earlier something can be resolved, the better. When reviewing your process, consider whether you are taking each step at the right time and whether the process be streamlined. It’s important that all staff know what the next step is once an action is taken, so matters don’t linger. This is important in ensuring you are taking all reasonable steps. 

      2. Risk Management 

Managing risk is the central purpose of a good compliance procedure. When reviewing or drafting a procedure, be sure to think about what the risks are. For example, what is the risk of no access for a gas safety issue in a high rise, and what is the best way to manage that effectively? Not all stock will carry the same risk, so it’s important to tailor the approach when considering what is being managed.  

      3. Tenant Engagement 

Access to your properties is crucial and at the heart of issues surrounding compliance. Good tenant engagement should be at the core of any good compliance procedure, as this will minimise the access issues and help manage this risk effectively. Naturally, there will always be hard to access tenants, but these can be reduced considerably. The Social Sector (Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group considered this in a pilot scheme earlier in 2021, and concluded that a more personalised, explanatory approach led to greater engagement. Not taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach could pay dividends in the long term and lead to less access problems. 

Should you or your organisation have any compliance related issues which you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact our Head of Compliance, Andrew Fairman on 0151 318 5756 or via email to andrewfairman@msbsolicitors.co.uk.  

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