1 Status of the Charter
1.1 As required by section 31 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, the Scottish Ministers, in this Scottish Social Housing Charter, set the standards and outcomes that all social landlords should aim to achieve when performing their housing activities.
1.2 The Charter was approved by resolution of the Scottish
Parliament on 14 March 2012. It has effect from 1 April 2012 and
continues to apply until
the Parliament approves a revised Charter.
1.3 Before submitting the Charter to the Scottish Parliament for approval, and as required by section 33 of the 2010 Act, the Scottish Ministers consulted the Scottish Housing Regulator; tenants in social housing and their representative bodies; social landlords; homeless people; and other stakeholders about the Charter's contents. They have taken account of all their views to ensure that the outcomes in the Charter:
- describe the results that tenants and other customers expect social landlords to achieve
- cover social landlords' housing activities only
- can be monitored, assessed and reported upon by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
1.4 The Charter replaces the performance standards set out in the guidance that the Scottish Ministers issued under section 79 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 in November 2006. It does not replace any of the legal duties that apply to social landlords, but in several cases the outcomes describe the results social landlords should achieve in meeting their legal duties.
2 Purpose of the Charter
2.1 The Charter will help to improve the quality and value of the services that social landlords provide, and supports the Scottish Government's long-term aim of creating a safer and stronger Scotland. It will do so by:
- stating clearly what tenants and other customers can expect from social landlords, and helping them to hold landlords to account
- focusing the efforts of social landlords on achieving outcomes that matter to their customers
- establishing a basis for the Scottish Housing Regulator to assess and report on how well landlords are performing. This assessment will enable the Regulator, social landlords, tenants and other customers to identify areas of strong performance and areas needing improvement.
2.2 The Regulator's reports will also help the Scottish Government ensure that public investment in new social housing goes only to landlords assessed as performing well.
3 Scope and content of the outcomes and standards
3.1 The Charter has seven sections covering: equalities; the customer/landlord relationship; housing quality and maintenance; neighbourhood and community; access to housing and support; getting good value from rents and service charges; and other customers. It contains a total of 16 outcomes and standards that social landlords should aim to achieve. The outcomes and standards apply to all social landlords, except that number 12 applies only to local councils in relation to their homelessness duties; and number 16 applies only to councils and registered social landlords that manage sites for Gypsies/Travellers.
3.2 Each section is accompanied by a short narrative that describes the context of the outcome or standard, including the areas of activity to which it applies and any relevant legal duties connected with it. The narrative is not part of the outcome that social landlords should achieve, and does not tell them how to achieve it. That is a matter for each landlord to decide in consultation with its tenants and other customers.
4 Assessing social landlords' achievement of the outcomes
4.1 Social landlords are responsible for meeting the standards and outcomes set out in the Charter. They are accountable to their tenants and other customers for how well they do so. They should ensure their performance management and reporting systems show how well they are achieving the outcomes; identify any areas where they need to improve; and enable them to report to their tenants and other customers and the Scottish Housing Regulator.
4.2 Under the 2010 Act, the Scottish Housing Regulator is responsible for monitoring, assessing and reporting on how well social landlords, individually and collectively, achieve the Charter's outcomes. It will consult on and then publish its arrangements for doing so.
5 Reviewing and revising the Charter
5.1 Unless stakeholders raise urgent and significant concerns about how the Charter is working in practice, the Charter will apply for five years from 1 April 2012. In consultation with stakeholders, Scottish Ministers will review its effect on the quality and value of social landlords' services, and its value to tenants and other customers, social landlords and the Scottish Housing Regulator. The review will start within two years of the Charter coming into force, so that Scottish Ministers can take the review's findings into account in preparing a revised Charter, which will take effect from 1 April 2017.