A New Regulatory Framweork for Housing Associations in Wales

In 2008 the Essex Report advocated a new regulatory framework for housing associations and community mutuals, characterised by robust local self assessment and a rigorous, risk-based and proportionate regulatory approach. The new framework is still emerging but is based around:

A clear set of performance standards (WAG Performance Standards Phase 1 (467.79 kB)) that WG has consulted on, focusing on financial viability and governance. The outcomes from this exercise can be seen here: Developing A Modern Reg Framework - Delivery Outcomes (220.34 kB). A further consultation on the activity standards (Regulatory Framework Phase 2 - Counsultation Document (401.21 kB)) has also been published.

Self Assessment (Self Assessment - Guiding Principles For Housing Associations In Wales (226.21 kB)) is one of the core elements of the new regulatory framework being introduced by the Welsh Government for housing associations and community mutuals. The characteristics of an effective Self Assessment, include the need for:

  • Assessments to be driven and owned by Housing Association boards.
  • A strong service-user focus to the Self Assessment process and outcomes.
  • Assessments to ensure robust, demonstrable evaluation of the financial management and financial viability of the organisation, service delivery outcomes and corporate governance arrangements.
  • The timing of self assessment to be supportive of, and aligned to, business and corporate planning cycles.
  • Self assessments to be underpinned by a strong evidence base.

TPAS Cymru has recently produced a publication on “Setting Local Delivery Outcomes – Advice and Examples” which suggests delivery outcomes, each with its set of local outcomes from the tenant and customer perspective, and the results in their experience. Examples are provided of evidence to indicate achievement of outcomes.

Setting Local Delivery Outcomes - Advice and Examples (111.42 kB)

Whole Association Assessments (WAAs)

These will be undertaken by a Regulation Manager at the Welsh Government, and organisations are assessed in three key areas: financial viability and management, service delivery, and corporate governance. Performance will be measured and evaluated by a range of data and experience. This will include the self assessment, specific assessments of financial viability and governance arrangements, direct engagement with organisations, tenants/service users and partners, and the outcome of other independent reviews.

The values underpinning the new framework are:

  • Effective relationships between organisations and their local stakeholders with the new Senior Regulation Managers which allow for the overall Whole Association Assessment.
  • Boards which deliver effective governance.
  • Ensuring self assessment is not a prescriptive process, but allows a local approach to reflect local circumstance.
  • Establishing clear standards of service that underpin self assessment and evaluation.
  • Supporting the challenge of building board capacity and empowerment to drive self assessment and change.
  • The importance of the role/skills of the new Senior Regulation Coordinators in building effective local relationships with housing associations and stakeholders, and managing the overall Whole Association Assessment.
  • Embedding a critical focus on financial viability and financial management arrangements into self assessment and the Whole Association Assessment processes.
  • Ensuring the strategic housing enabling role of local authorities and relationships with housing associations are properly reflected.
  • Ensuring the framework allows for evaluation of engagement with, and contribution to, broader community based strategies and initiatives.
  • Considering the potential for a more holistic regulation of all social housing.