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26 February 2015

CHC calls for fully independent Regulatory Board

Community Housing Cymru, the representative body for Welsh housing associations, is today calling for the current Regulatory Board for Wales to be made up of wholly independent members.

Speaking at CHC’s Governance Conference, Stuart Ropke, CHC’s Chief Executive said: “The social housing sector in Wales is made up of diverse organisations which are facing unprecedented challenges - budget cuts, welfare reform, local authority cuts and mergers and the future of public service delivery in Wales.”

“The environment has changed since the original board was set up. I believe we need a more representative board, made up of fully independent members, to ensure that the regulation of the housing sector is the most proportionate and effective it can be and retains the confidence of housing association, their tenants, investors and other stakeholders.

Stuart added: “Board members should be appointed on merit by Welsh Government Ministers following an open public appointments process and, collectively, they should set the strategic direction of the regulator and ensure that they are focusing on the right things.

“The board would help provide assurance, confidence and challenge, not just to those organisations that are regulated, but to the regulation team as well.”

“I’d like to see the new board focussed on continuing to support the adoption of the co-regulatory, risk based approach, while reinforcing a relationship with key stakeholders to build an even stronger social housing sector in Wales.”

The call for the Independent Regulatory Board coincides with the launch of CHC’s Code of Governance. The Code, produced in consultation with members, sets standards and practices that boards and their members must adhere to. It has been designed to help housing associations to develop good governance structures and to support continuous service improvement for tenants.

CHC’s Group Chief Executive Stuart Ropke said: “The independent Regulatory Board and the launch of our Code of Governance are crucial elements in helping to achieve our ambition of housing associations being recognised as the best governed organisations in Wales.”