Review of the Scottish Social Housing Charter
When the first Scottish Social Housing Charter came into force
in 2012 we said we'd review it and put a revised charter to
Parliament for approval by April 2017. We are delighted that
Parliament approved it
on 8 February.
Our review considered the impact of the Charter, how landlord performance in meeting it is reported, and whether its 16 outcomes and standards needed to be changed, updated or added to.
A stakeholder group, including members of the Registered Tenant Organisation Regional Networks, advised us what the review should include and how to involve the widest range of stakeholders.
Between May and July 2016, we held 12 events across Scotland. These let over 400 tenants, housing professionals and others discuss what the Charter has achieved and offer views on what changes should be made. We went to the annual general meetings of most of the regional networks, talked about the Charter at tenant and landlord events across the country, and at Tenant Information Scotland ( TIS) and Tenant Participation Advisory Service Scotland ( TPAS) conferences.
TIS and TPAS also helped us encourage harder-to-reach groups to join the conversation. Between them they got the views of 500 people.
We also asked the Scottish Housing Regulator, responsible for monitoring and reporting on social landlords' performance against the Charter, to help with the review. Their evidence paper brought together evidence from the regulator's publications about how landlords have performed against the Charter.
Views on the current Charter were generally positive, with most largely in favour of keeping the current outcomes and standards unchanged.
A formal Charter review consultation in summer 2016 received 106 responses. Most respondents thought the quality of landlord services had improved because of the Charter. Further analysis reinforced the view that
- they did not want fundamental changes to the Charter at this relatively early stage of its existence;
- the outcomes and standards should remain largely the same; and
- to alter the Charter substantially would reduce the positive impact it has made on the services landlords provide.
A copy of the analysis can be viewed at www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/11/1336
Tenants, Registered Tenant Organisations, the nine Regional Networks and tenant representative bodies generally supported the Charter and felt it had improved the quality of services. They also thought it had given tenants more opportunities to get involved with their landlord in monitoring performance and helped them hold their landlord to account.
The revised Charter
During the consultation we heard examples of the positive impact the charter has had. In light of this, we limited changes to those few that tenants and landlords suggested to us would help improve the quality of services that social landlords deliver. The changes, fine-tuning the original Charter, are:
Anne Cook at the Glasgow event.
- highlighting of all the standards and outcomes should be reflected across the whole of a landlord's activities;
- updating the narrative, which describes the scope of the standard or outcome, to reflect recent developments in best practice, including the impact of digital developments on the delivery of housing services;
- adding a requirement that landlords should meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing by December 2020;
- amending the neighbourhood and community outcome to recognise more explicitly that meeting this outcome requires landlords to work with other agencies to achieve it; and
- strengthening the Gypsies/Travellers outcome by adding that local councils and registered social landlords with responsibility for managing sites meet the minimum site standards set in guidance on standards that the Scottish Government issued in May 2015.
We're grateful to the tenants who took part in the review. Their views are reflected in a revised Charter that continues to identify the standards and outcomes that matter to tenants and other customers of social landlords; that are the responsibility of social landlords to deliver; and that can be assessed by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
A hard copy will have been sent to all registered tenant organisations and social landlords.
If you would like a copy contact email@example.com or phone 0131 244 0643.
Tenants come together to discuss the review of the charter..
Email: Annabel MacMillan