FCA Regulation February 2015
CHC will host a meeting to discuss the FCA regulation that took effect April 2014, particularly around debt counselling. The NatFed guidance was written by Suzanne Benson, Senior Partner at Trowers & Hamlins, who has agreed to give an update and answer questions from the sector on the 17th February. The meeting will be held at CHC offices at 12.30pm, with a possible video link to North Wales. Find out more here.
Sector-wide Tenant Satisfaction Survey 4.11.14
The main report will be published widely but will not identify individual RSLs. Each member, along with their Regulatory Manager, will receive a copy of the raw data for their organisation so they can undertake further analysis. As part of the sector-wide tenant satisfaction survey questionnaires have been sent to over 42,000 Housing Association tenants living in Wales. To maximise the response rate we have extended the survey deadline and offered tenants alternative ways for tenants to participate including responding to surveys; by email, via the website and also by taking part in telephone interviews. Unfortunately this process is taking longer than expected and means the draft report will be delayed. WE are now expecting a final report mid December.
Code of Governance 4.11.14
CHC wishes to thank everyone who responded to the consultation on “ A sector Code of Governnce”. We received a total of 33 responses to the consultation paper. Responses were received from a wide range of organisations including RSLs, CIH, Baker Tilly, CML, Welsh Government and RG Curtis. Overall there was widespread support for the principles underlying the Code. The steering group has considered the responses and a final version of the Code will go to the Executive Committee meeting before Christmas with a view to launching the Code at CHC’s Governance Conference in February 2015.
Schedule 1 4.11.14
Following requests from the Regulator for detailed information on what changes the sector requires to Schedule 1, CHC agreed to undertake a short consultation with its members. The consultation has now ended and CHC has responded asking for Schedule 1 to be repealed as originally agreed. This would serve to reduce the unnecessary bureaucracy of compliance which is currently overly time-consuming not just for Officers but for Board members who are regularly having to approve the use of exemptions.
Code of Governance Consultation
CHC has published the consultation paper on a proposed “Code of Governance” for the Housing Association sector in Wales. The proposed Code is based heavily on CHC’s Charter of Good Governance – with tweaks that reflect language and requirements contained in other UK Codes of Governance. The format is also different from the Charter which recognizes views about ease of use for practitioners.
There have already been several events where there’s been an opportunity to discuss a draft of the paper. The consultation paper includes a series of questions and we would very much welcome your views on these by 31st August, in particular, your thoughts on how CHC can support you to meet the expectations contained in the Code.
All consultation responses should be sent to email@example.com.
Regulatory Advisory Group / Financial Advisory Group - May Update
Information Sharing Protocol: At the last meeting of the groups the intention to commission an external consultancy to develop an information sharing protocol was confirmed.
Reliance Protocol – it was agreed that the Regulator needs to be clear with the sector how they use third party evidence, for example Investors in People or internal audit reports and needs to develop a reliance protocol. This work is underway.
New format for Regulatory Assessments - A new format for the Regulatory Assessment report has been proposed but further work is needed, based on case studies, before it is adopted .
Learning & Development Advisory Group - May Update
Governance Action Plan
This has three strategic aims:
A Shared/Interesting Learning Matrix
The Matrix has been developed by the regulators and contains a list of Housing Association initiatives/projects likely to be of wider interest. Following feedback at CHC’s Chief Executives Network it was agreed that the document will not be published but that CHC would share the document with the Housing Associations as and when it had been updated. Ownership of the document would lie with the Regulator. They would be responsible for identifying areas of shared learning and updating the document on a regular basis.
Sector-wide tenant satisfaction survey - May Update
RMG Clarity has now received data from all participating RSLs and an email has been issued to all members explaining when their tenants can expect to receive a questionnaire. A draft report has been promised for the end of July.
Financial Viability Judgments
The Regulator has issued thirty five financial viability judgments of which thirty-two associations were assessed as a “pass” and three associations as a “pass with closer regulatory monitoring”. In terms of the content some Associations felt that the information included on covenants is commercially sensitive and should not be included, however, most were however content with the new narrative.
Code of Governance
At CHC’s annual conference the Minister announced he is keen to see the introduction of a Code of Governance for the sector, fixed terms of office for board members and plans to achieve greater board diversity in relation to gender, age and professional experience etc. CHC is currently exploring with members whether to adopt a Code of Governance in return for more freedoms which support a robust system of governance which enables innovation and better service delivery.
Further information about this work can be obtained from Amandafirstname.lastname@example.org
A Risk Based Approach to Regulation
The Regulatory Board met on 11 December to approve the new Risk based approach to Regulation which is currently being implemented.
Capacity in the Regulatory Team
Peter Griffiths will be leaving the Regulation team in the next couple of weeks and a replacement will be sought as soon as possiblle. The Welsh Government’s Organisation Development and Job Evaluation Team have also been undertaking a review of the Regulation Team’s functions, roles, workload, team resource and deployment of resources. Further information will follow as and when available.
NB Due to capacity in the regulation team there will be a delay in the timetable for undertaking Regulatory Assessments with RSLs in the South East of Wales.
Advisory Group Discussions
Regulatory Advisory Group
A link to the minutes from the last meeting can be found here.
Learning and Development Advisory Group
The Learning and Development Advisory Group has produced a Governance Action Plan based on he findings from the Welsh Government Review of Governance across the Housing Association sector. The three strategic action points contained in the plan are:
a. To develop and agree a Code of Governance.
b. To develop support structures to underpin the Code of Governance.
c. To consider, develop and review wider policy/legislation.
These actions were approved by the Board which met on 28 January – it is intended the Governance Action Plan will be launched at the CHC Governance Conference in February.
Finance Advisory Group
A link to the minutes from the previous meeting can be found here.
The CML has called for a judgment on governance. The Regulatory Board does not see this as adding value and are working with the FAG and RAG and CML to develop a protocol which would negate the need for a judgment.
WG have now produced an analysis of the results of their survey issued in the autumn - a copy of the report will be made available to the sector as soon as possible.
Following on from the publication of the “Interim Review of Regulation” the Regulatory Board has approved a Strategic Action Plan for change which was sent to all Chief Executives and is accessible here. The plan, details how Welsh Government, the Regulatory Board and the sector will work together to drive forward the actions and improvements needed to address the findings in the Interim Review.
The main vehicles for delivering the changes required are three advisory groups; the Regulatory Advisory Group, the Financial Advisory Group and the Learning and Development Advisory Group. It was agreed CHC should nominate two possible co-options from the sector to each group.
Advisory Group Representatives
Regulatory Advisory Group
Alan Brunt - Newport Housing Trust
Duncan Forbes - Bron Afon
Doug Elliot - Independent/CHC consultant
Amanda Oliver - CHC
Learning Advisory Group
Jen Barfoot - Tai Calon
Ffrancon Williams - Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd
Amanda Oliver - CHC
Financial Advisory Group
Tony Wilson - Wales and West Housing Association
Katrina Michael - Tai Ceredigion
Steve Evans - CHC