|George Walker (GW)||SHR Chair|
|Andrew Watson (AW)||SHR Deputy Chair|
|Siobhan White (SW)||SHR Board member|
|Marieke Dwarshuis (MD)||SHR Board member|
|Lindsay Paterson (LP)||SHR Board member|
|Ewan Fraser (EF)||SHR Board member|
|Helen Trouten Torres||SHR Board member (items 1 – 7)|
|In attendance at the meeting|
|Michael Cameron (MC)||SHR Chief Executive|
|Helen Shaw (HS)||SHR Director of Regulation|
|Iain Muirhead (IM)||SHR Director of Digital & Business Support|
|Roisin Harris (RH)||SHR Corporate Governance Manager|
|John Jellema (JJ)||SHR Assistant Director|
|Sean Neil (SN)||
Director for Local Government & Communities
Scottish Government (items 1 - 3)
Welcome, Apologies and Declarations
GW welcomed all present including guest speaker SN from Scottish Government.
The Board noted apologies from SHR Board member Colin Stewart (CS) and that LP is joining remotely via Teams Audio. There were no declarations of interest.
The Board also noted and approved the consent agenda items including:
- Chair & Member activity report;
- minutes from 28 March 2023; and
- the matters arising report.
SN presented to the Board on:
- the structure of his department in the Scottish Government;
- the new Ministerial set up with interests in housing; and
- work priorities and challenges.
The Board discussed with SN, Scottish Government’s forthcoming policy plans, legislative priorities and the related challenges and opportunities.
The Board noted feedback from SN on the SHR’s work. It thanked him for meeting with it.
Chief Executive Report
MC presented on issues and developments that impact regulated bodies, the wider housing environment and SHR. The Board discussed:
- project and risk management arrangements for the review of the Regulatory Framework;
- research commissioned by the SFHA on the Regulatory Framework;
- withdrawal of an application to register a new social landlord, noting that the onus is on applicants to demonstrate how their applications meet statutory and regulatory registration criteria;
- SHR’s current and future office arrangements, noting that as a result of a decision by Transport Scotland, SHR will no longer be moving to collocate with it at 177 Bothwell Street. It expressed its disappointment and noted that SHR will for now remain in the interim accommodation at George House. It also noted ongoing work to achieve alternative office space and the likely timeframe;
- continued staff sharing arrangements with Transport Scotland, noting this is not impacted by future office plans;
- adjustments made to SHR annual report and accounts 2023/24 in consultation with its external auditors to account for the change plans to move to 177 Bothwell Street;
- a recent evidence session with the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee involving SHR, CIH and SPSO; and
- further briefing welcomed by SHR on putting safety first produced by SFHA and for governing body members.
The Board noted the Chief Executive’s report.
Regulatory Framework Review – Discussion Paper
- legal advice on appeal processes within the Regulatory Framework;
- a draft discussion paper on SHR’s Regulatory Framework review; and
- stakeholder engagement plans for the discussion paper phase of the review.
The Board considered legal advice on how SHR delivers its appeal arrangements. It agreed that the advice was clear, noting that under current legislation the Board could consider options such as delegation through appointment, that decisions remain those of SHR, and it is not possible for SHR to establish an independent process. The Board noted that an independent set up would need a change in legislation.
The Board considered potential changes to the appeals process, including potential risks and benefits, and agreed to maintain the current arrangements, but that it may consider this further following the conclusion of the discussion phase of the Framework Review.
The Board considered the draft discussion paper. It noted that this took account of an early discussion with MC and the Board during April and feedback from SHR staff. The Board discussed:
- regulatory status of RSLs, welcoming how this is framed in the discussion paper and noting a range of views on this;
- Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria (ESG), noting that currently there is no statutory obligation for RSLs to adopt this;
- resilience, agreeing that timing does not feel right to progress related change; and
- Significant Performance Failures, noting the challenges around how this is framed in legislation and aspirations to review how criteria is defined.
The Board approved the discussion paper for publication in early June 2023.
Finally the Board considered the engagement plan for the discussion paper phase of the review. It welcomed opportunities to engage directly with stakeholders and agreed to participate in events and forums where possible.
Action: MC to publish the discussion paper on the review of SHR’s Regulatory Framework and develop engagements plan to further involve SHR Board members.
Outcome of the risk assessment
HS and JJ presented to the Board on the outcome of the risk assessment. The Board considered the presentation and discussed:
- the level of detail of information gathered around SHQS fails, noting that SHR will be considering indicators under the review of the Regulatory Framework;
- sustainability of development plans, noting work SHR does to inform and enrich related risk assessment, including reviewing Scottish Government data and RSL five year financial projections;
- March 2022 tenant and resident safety performance, noting declines relating to electrical and smoke detection work and that the majority of landlords had plans to prioritise and complete related works by March 2023 or as soon as possible;
- abeyances and exemptions and work to explore how these have been categorised, noting some issues continue around access post-lockdown, but that there are also varying levels of customer service in terms of accommodating working tenants or those with care commitments;
- impact on tenants who are living in properties that have not met the standards in terms of safety and the issues that could emerge in the situation of a related event;
- homelessness discussions with local authorities, noting continued pressure on temporary accommodation, particularly in the larger city areas;
- allocation levels to homeless people, noting targets sought in Glasgow and how this relates to RSL allocation policies; and
- when SHR would use its powers around improvement plans and targets, welcoming an opportunity to discuss this further in the future.
The Board noted the outcome of the risk assessment. It thanked all the staff involved in the delivery across SHR and welcomed the opportunity for further discussions on use of powers.
Action: HS to involve the Board in further discussions on the use of improvement plans and targets.
Quarter Four Corporate Performance Report
MC presented the final performance report for 2022/23 highlighting that this reflects performance captured in the annual report. He reported on plans to review the format for quarter one, especially around the most serious casework. MC highlighted while the volume of these sorts of cases has reduced in quarter four, notifiable events and significant performance failure applications have increased. The Board considered the report and discussed:
- if there were any trends in significant performance failures applications and noted that any that meet the criteria will be reported to SHR’s Board;
- complexity of some issues raised that can at times require SHR to take legal advice;
- progress of appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner;
- engagement with Clyde Valley Housing Association, welcoming recent progress;
- engagement with Reidvale Housing Association. It noted the discussions between MSPs in Parliament; and
- investigations commissioned by landlords, noting that at times expertise is needed and that there are a range of providers available covering various disciplines.
The Board thanked staff and noted the corporate performance report.
8.1 Workforce planning – the Board noted that further retirals are expected from SHR during the coming years and it asked Management Team to consider this further when it next updates the risk register so that mitigation work that is ongoing is reflected.
Action: Management Team to consider Board feedback on workforce planning when it next updates the risk register.
8.2 GW updated the Board on recent engagement in the Scottish Parliament chamber by some MSPs that referred to SHR’s work, and to the developing position at Reidvale Housing Association.
The Board noted that there is an ongoing appeal with the Scottish Information Commissioner by an MSP and that SHR has fully participated in this process. The Board agreed that it had looked at the concerns that MSP had previously raised with it and responded fully to these.
The Board noted feedback from a recent landlord group around development of further sector led support for landlords.
Effectiveness of meetings and papers
The Board welcomed the papers and agreed the external venue continued to be very effective while SHR does not have a suitable space its own interim office.
DONMs & Agenda Planner
The Board will meet for a workshop on 20 June 20023 and the next Board meeting will be on 29 August 2023.
The Board noted that guest speakers are lined up for all future meetings and workshops for the rest of 2023. It welcomed that meeting dates proposals for 2024 will be forthcoming shortly. The Chair asked Board members to forward future speaker and agenda item suggestions for 2024 to RH.
GW reported that while he can join the October Board meeting remotely, he cannot attend in person and that AW has agreed to chair that meeting as he will be there in person. The Board noted the arrangements.
The Board noted that the November meeting may be moved to an Edinburgh location.
Between 30 May 2023 and 29 August, the Board was briefed or received updates on:
- Regulatory Framework discussion paper and stakeholder engagement
- Work of the Regulator in Social Housing
- Research with SHR’s National Panel of Tenants and Service Users
- Solace, Cosla & ALACHO report – Housing in Scotland: Current Context & Preparing for the Future
- Directorate of Internal Audit – quarterly bulletin
- Standards Commission update
- SFHA report on regulation in practice
- Advisory guidance on effective recording of decisions and discussions by governing bodies
- SHR's office
- Scottish Government’s response to recommendations from the Temporary Accommodation Task & Finish Group
- Scottish Housing News Podcast