Life after TSA and Audit Commission? Where does this leave regulatory framework?
04/04/2011 9:14 pm
Hi all, in your opinion how will the abolishment of the TSA and Audit Commission affect current Regulatory Framework once govermentproposals it is implemented? - If you are a professional in this field I would be especially interested in your opinion.
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06/04/2011 2:32 pm
The regulatory framework will undergo four different types of change as a result of the government’s proposals:
• changes to regulatory priorities
• changes to the standards
• institutional change (who does what)
• reduced resources
Many of these changes are driven by the Localism Bill. The biggest change will be in relation to the consumer standards. The regulator will have a ‘backstop’ role and will only be able to intervene where there is ‘serious detriment’ to tenants. It is the government’s intention that local scrutiny arrangements combined with the involvement of councillors, MPs and ultimately the Ombudsman will resolve most performance problems.
There are expected to be changes to some of the regulatory standards. However, the governance and viability standard will remain substantially the same. Value for money is likely to assume greater importance. The Secretary of State is expected to make Directions to the Regulator that will modify some of the consumer standards in relation to tenant empowerment and involvement, mobility and tenure. The precise scope of these changes will not be known until the Directions have been issued (after consultation).
The institutional changes in the Bill will not of themselves be the principal driver of change. Regulation powers will be held by an independent Regulation Committee which will be directly appointed by the Secretary of State, located within the HCA. Regulation staff in the TSA will transfer to the HCA.
The periodic inspection of housing providers against Key Lines of Enquiry has already ended. The Regulator only commissions inspections where it has evidence that there is a risk of significant failure to meet standards, and none have been commissioned for some months. The Localism Bill proposals will change current arrangements so that the Regulator will be free to commission inspections from organisations other than the Audit Commission in future.
The TSA has made substantial budget and staffing cuts in the run up to the transfer of regulation to the Regulation Committee, and is re-organising to reflect the focus on economic rather than consumer regulation. This process will be largely complete by the time the changeover happens in April 2012. The new Regulator will have approximately 40% of the resources that were available to the TSA in its first year of operations.
It is still too early to judge the overall impact of these various changes.
06/04/2011 3:07 pm
Excelent comment Julian, I would however also like to reiterate verbatem what our Group Director of housing services John Wood at the Riverside Group said on the Riverside web site http://www.riverside.org.uk/corporate/news/riverside_view/localism.aspx
If we are all honest, there was probably a wry smile or two at the prospect of less regulation and inspection in the world of social housing with the announcements of the pending demise of the TSA and the Audit Commission.
There have been elements of that whole regime that we won’t miss, but think a bit harder, and appreciate the value added by the performance focus that the system encouraged.
Frustrated as we should be by some organisations that sought to coast through regardless, the external challenge and scrutiny that we were exposed to, left little ground for complacency.
The value for money mindset should now be much more embedded, but so should the foundations for a much more robust approach to resident involvement. It should no longer be a question of “did we consult?”, but “what did we change as a result?” and “what impact did that have?”.
The TSA regulatory framework has had its critics, but in truth it represents a pretty solid business model. It encourages, through the co-regulation philosophy, a clear development of the relationship between Boards and tenants, with the latter holding the former very clearly to account.
To respond more effectively to the needs and preferences of our customers, particularly at a local level, can be no bad thing, particularly when the opportunities for them may becoming fewer.
I would go as far to suggest that we need them and they need us more than ever before. Indeed, in case you hadn’t noticed, the framework hasn’t gone away – rather we are being left to ‘get on with it’ in partnership with our tenants.
So let’s use the localism agenda as a catalyst to build that relationship to be stronger than it’s ever been. It’s in our joint interests.
06/04/2011 3:52 pm
Nobody has mentioned that there is likely to be less tenant involvement -- landlords will love that?
After all, won't they be happy when experienced, knowledgeable and interested tenants can no longer challenge them in relation to Value For Money or the tenant experience?
AND, of course, the high and mighty who know little will love the fact thet they will hold sway and "those people" who have lived on "these estates" "will do as they are told and get what they deserve"will just have to put up" with what the landlord plus cronies want to give them.
09/04/2011 2:08 pm
what does the tenant services authority actually regulate ? i fail to understand why it was named the tenant services authority in the first place as despite several contacts with them, they do not appear able to clarify how they regulate from the tenants perspective, it appears from what i read above, the tsa relies on housing associations to make their own statistical returns, and if everything appears ok then no checks are made and thats it for a few more years. no wonder some housing associations are walking all over their tenants as there doesnt appear to be any meaningful regulation on behalf of tenants and even the housing ombudsman is taking 10+ months to complete complaint investigations which a majority of tenants appear to be dis satisfied with the outcome or processes adopted. it appears tenants are totally on their own.
11/04/2011 11:15 am
Perhaps there might be more enthusiasm for the new framework if it was remembered that it is not really part of the Tory "localism agenda". It dates from the Cave Report.
It's been smuggled into Tory philosophy purely because - it appears - it will be cheaper to operate. But let's not allow opportunism on the part of politicians to taint perceptions of something that might be what tenants are crying out for.
11/04/2011 1:06 pm
Steve has a very good point.
The TSA has tried to implement risk based regulation but has failed to identfy and create a proper system of risk management so doesent actually regulate anything . There has been a fundemental flaw in the adoption of the cave review and its principles of co regulation which has been subverted by so called "Tenant led regulation".
The people and skill sets that should exist in any organisation providing the services that these organisation are supposed to provide lie in tatters as the impact of spending cuts looms . Though to be honest i think they were pretty much shredded following some awful organisational appointments which created the mess in the first place.
11/04/2011 8:13 pm
Hi some interesting points raised here thank fior everyone's input. Another question - 2How do you see this affecting service delivery from landlords? Especially repairs and maintenance?
12/04/2011 12:59 pm
Sam, providing the right calibre of tenants ( who drive service delivery ) are in place, it will be them who will ensure good repairs/maimtenance because the Regulator will do beggar all and is likely to be more wishy-washy than the Tea Supping Agency who lost their way when the went against the principle of 'resident-led' regulation.
12/04/2011 5:59 pm
Where the right calibre tenants are in place repairs/maintenance will continue to improve I agree. However when these tenants run out of steam are we sure that all landlords will replace them with tenants of the same calibre. I have my doubts.
12/04/2011 6:19 pm
Quite so Alex and to top it all there is an ever increasing crisis within the sphere of active tenants locally. There is a potential here for disaster as there is an increasing number of clashes following alleged blatant self-interest based decisions.
Doubts also exist because of future reductions in tenant involvement requirements of the Regulator/government as well as perceived "landlord string-pulling".
12/04/2011 7:41 pm
I find use of the term "right calibre of tenants" a bit concerning. I am not sure this reflects the right attitude towards tenant ivolvment and engagement to be truthfull. All tenants have a vested interest in having input in how services is delivered by their landlords. I do not see how segregating the the right to participate for tenants will help the landscape for all.
12/04/2011 7:42 pm
please include the word "improve" in to the last sentence......
12/04/2011 8:29 pm
To me the right calibra of tenant would be a tenant who challenges the quality of information, seeks more informaton (beyond that they are given), is not intimidated by "high flyers or flunkies", is not the "landlords' whelp" and most of all, is willing to speak loudly (to the press if required) to improve things for everyone and not just the individual.
Such tenants are a dying breed -- they have lived through periods of well-intentioned (?) "appeasement" before and rallied to the cause to get things improved.
13/04/2011 11:16 am
Anon @ 9-59am
This may surprise you somewhat but the criticism of "the right calibre tenants" ( - I took care over the spelling of calibre as I made a hash of it in my previous posting) is, in my local experience, not from the landlord but mainly from other involved tenants who, generally speaking, sold their own homes to fund their retirement but came to live in social housing as it was cheaper than renting privately.
13/04/2011 12:06 pm
Involment is a con anyway. why would you wnat to get involved when after being involved and givne so much you can get dismissed and tarnished as a troublemaker or even worse?... Tenants shoulddemand rights not involvment, where you are there only at the landlords convenience.
13/04/2011 3:53 pm
12:06 p.m. Anony
Your so right and the its not the Tenant Service Authority its THE LANDLORD'S Service Authority they not regulating - Customer Trigger my big foot.
13/04/2011 4:59 pm
My point at the beginning of the thread , There are no triggers. as there is no real risk management. finance is pretty the only thing that will cause real intervention i reckon. therefore customer service wil linevitably suffer if rogue landlords are involved , fortunately there are however, many good landlords out there
13/04/2011 5:23 pm
The changes will free up landlords to concentrate on increasing returns and investing these into development. Obviously the concentration on service excellence, involvement, value for money, and diversity have all been undue hinderences on the business of housing. Now that these barriers have been removed we can enjoy a new age in housing provision, profit, and trough-snufffling.