Thursday, 24 April 2014

Value-for-money call queried

Housing providers have expressed scepticism at analysis the regulator has used to back a renewed call for better value for money.

The Homes and Communities Agency on Wednesday called on social landlords to do more to achieve value for money, after finding it cannot account for around half the variations in operating costs between providers.

It published a piece of work examining reasons for cost variations. Understanding unit costs of housing providers: regression analysis looks at the impact of factors including regional wage differences, deprivation, group structures and types of homes.

The document says: ‘There is still considerable variability in costs - on average 29 per cent above or below the mean - which cannot be explained by [these] factors.’

Matthew Bailes, director of regulation at the HCA, said: ‘This reinforces the need for boards to have a firm grip on value for money and they should be considering a number of options, including driving out unnecessary costs, as part of their management strategies.’

Joseph Carr, finance policy leader, at the National Housing Federation, is not convinced the unexplained costs are due solely to inefficiency.

‘We need to make sure there are no other explanations for the difference. More needs to be done to understand where we are, through better benchmarking by organisations,’ he said.

Nick Atkin, chief executive of 6,000-home Halton Housing Trust, said: ‘I get a bit frustrated when people make sweeping conclusions from data that is not sophisticated.’

The regulator has introduced a new standard which requires providers to submit annual self-assessments of their value for money.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Rick Campbell

    Anybody tried asking tenants if they are getting value for money?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "The Homes and Communities Agency ...called on social landlords to do more to achieve value for money, .....The regulator has introduced a new standard which requires providers to submit annual self-assessments of their value for money."
    -Clearly the HCA is not VFM

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • Grant penalty for failing value for money rule

    31/01/2014

    The Homes and Communities Agency has hinted providers that fail to meet value for money rules may be penalised when bidding for grant under the new £1.7 billion affordable homes programme.

  • Digital revolution

    27/09/2013

    Welfare reform has placed a heavy burden on social landlords’ resources but results from an exclusive new survey reveal that many organisations are turning to technology to lighten the load. Jess McCabe reports

  • Landlords disappointed over downgrades

    14/02/2014

    Peabody and Gentoo among those rapped by HCA over value for money

  • Sector poised as Osborne plans future

    20 June 2013

    George Osborne is due to reveal his spending priorities on 26 June but, with austerity set to continue into the next parliament, many social landlords fear affordable house building will not be one of them. Michael Haddon examines four big issues to look out for in Wednesday’s review

  • HCA warns 160 landlords over value for money

    28/02/2014

    Letter tells associations to improve or risk a governance downgrade

Resources

  • Acting out to tackle domestic abuse

    28/03/2014

    An interactive training course is helping housing professionals in the south west identify and tackle domestic abuse. Lydia Stockdale finds out how

  • Precision thinking

    15 January 2014

    Analysis of its lets, voids and tenancy lengths has allowed Adactus Housing Group to cut its planned maintenance bill by millions of pounds a year and plough the savings into developing new homes. Kate Youde finds out how

  • Express yourself

    06/12/2013

    A research study in Merseyside aims to prove that artistic therapy can help people with Alzheimer’s and their families cope better with the disease. Ciara Leeming investigates

  • Freedom to roam

    21/03/2014

    Brighton Housing Trust is no housing giant - but it’s a massive technological help to its clients. Jess McCabe reports

  • The cost-cutting continues

    31/05/2013

    More cuts to legal aid will further limit tenants’ ability to bring cases to court, says Ole Hansen, partner at Hansen Palomares Solicitors