Scottish Housing Regulator
Extract from the Scottish Housing Regulator's web site: https://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/for-tenants
We regulate to protect the interests of people who receive the services of social landlords.
How we regulate
In this section we set out regulatory requirements for all social landlords and the standards of governance and financial management for RSLs.
We are committed to the better regulation principles enshrined in the Scottish Regulators’ Strategic Code of Practice. This Code also reflects our obligations under section 3 of the 2010 Act. Our regulation is:
•targeted only where needed.
Landlords assuring themselves, their tenants and us is central to our approach.
Each landlord is responsible for delivering good outcomes and services for its tenants and service users. Landlords need to be self- aware, analytical, open and honest about their performance, and identify and drive improvement. When we engage with landlords, we look first at what they have done to assure themselves that they are meeting regulatory requirements. We have also issued a suite of statutory guidance to assist landlords to understand their responsibilities and what they need to do.
All landlords must prepare and publish an Annual Assurance Statement, to confirm to their tenants and us that they are meeting regulatory requirements for local authorities and RSLs. For RSLs, this includes meeting the Standards of Governance and Financial Management. The Statements support openness and a culture of continuous assurance and improvement.
Empowering tenants, people who are homeless and other service users
We promote a strong tenant voice. It is important that landlords involve tenants and other service users in the scrutiny of their performance, and in discussions about affordability and what they get for their rent.
We empower tenants and others by publishing landlord performance information in accessible and useful ways, to enable them to ask questions and hold their landlords to account. We give tenants an effective way to bring to us significant performance failures by their landlord.
We assess risk in landlords to determine what assurance we need from them and what they may need to improve. We:
•focus on the most significant risks to tenants, people who are homeless and other service users
•continually assess each landlord to understand its performance and risk
•engage with landlords at different levels depending on their risk and performance profile
•engage with landlords in the least intrusive way possible to get the assurance we need
•are transparent about why and how we engage with landlords
•give landlords the opportunity to improve where there are problems, unless we need to act quickly
•use our powers in a proportionate way
•take decisive, effective action to safeguard the interests of tenants and other service users when a landlord does not have the capacity or willingness to improve.
Our assessment of risk may not always be the same as a landlord’s own detailed assessment of the risks it faces. Risk-based regulation is a way for us to prioritise our resources and plan how to engage with landlords through further scrutiny, engagement and intervention.
The main risks we consider are:
•poor outcomes for tenants, people who are homeless and other service users
•poor quality of tenants’ homes and investment failures
•poor financial performance and management (for RSLs only)
•poor governance (for RSLs only).
We publish an Engagement Plan for each landlord. Each Plan sets out the information we require from the landlord, what it needs to do, and how and why we will engage with it.
For local authorities, we work through the risk assessment process with our partner scrutiny bodies, to consider the full range of scrutiny activity for each local authority. More information on this is set out in the Joint Code of Practice.
There are four broad ways we carry out our work with both local authorities and RSLs:
•gathering and publishing data in ways that tenants and others can use
•getting assurance from landlords
•taking action where we need to
•thematic work to look in depth at specific areas of landlords’ work
In these ways we deliver the priorities we set out in our Corporate Plan. We use our inquiry and information gathering powers as the basis for much of our work, including our routine annual requests to landlords for information.
Equality and human rights
Promoting equality and human rights is integral to all of our work. These rights mean that everyone should be treated fairly and with dignity and respect. All landlords must ensure that they fully comply with their responsibilities under relevant human rights and equalities legislation.
We are committed to meeting our equality duties and working in a way that promotes equality and human rights. We set out our duties, how these will be met and the indicators for success in our Equalities Statement.
We promote equality and human rights by monitoring, assessing and reporting on landlords’ work to:
•achieve, or have effective plans in place to achieve, the equalities outcome in the Scottish Social Housing Charter and outcomes for Gypsy/Travellers
•meet their legal duties in relation to equality and human rights, including the requirement in section 39 of the 2010 Act to encourage equal opportunities
•in how they perform their housing activities and deliver homelessness services
•collect and use equalities data effectively in how they plan and deliver services
We require landlords to confirm through their Annual Assurance Statement that they meet these requirements, or what they are doing to improve their compliance. We seek assurance that landlords are giving due regard to equality and human rights in their decision- making. We consider this through our engagements with individual landlords. We may also carry out thematic work on specific equality issues, for example considering access to housing and homelessness services.