Anne Cook, Head
of the Scottish Government social housing team, reflects
on some of the housing highlights of the past year and what’s in this edition.
A key issue for the sector was the Scottish Housing Regulator’s review of its regulatory framework which was carried out in consultation with landlords and tenants across the sector. The review has shaped the way the Regulator will work in future and more details can be found here.
During the year we retained our focus on supporting developments and improvements in tenant participation and scrutiny through the “Next Steps” Tenant Participation support programme which is being delivered on our behalf by the Tenants Information Service and the Tenant Participation Advisory service.
The programme is designed to help landlords and tenants review current practice, improve their understanding of tenant participation and scrutiny, consider how improvements can be made in relation to tenant participation and scrutiny. We are pleased that we will be able to continue the programme next financial year which will enable more landlords to participate.
In November we hosted a visit from UK Government colleagues from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, who wanted to know more about our approach to Tenant Participation in Scotland and what lessons could be learned from us following the Grenfell tragedy. Our achievements in Scotland certainly gave them much food for thought.
At the end of last year we said a fond farewell to two long serving staff whose experience, knowledge and good humour will be greatly missed, not only by us but by many in the wider housing sector- read more about them here.
In January we were delighted to welcome Cat McMeeken as our new Unit Head. In her first few months Cat has been busy meeting a wide range of our partners and has quickly become immersed in all things housing.
At the end of February we published a new practitioner guide on allocations and suspensions “Social Housing Allocations in Scotland – a practice guide” which was developed by Craigforth Consulting and CIH Scotland. The guide was developed in close consultation with housing practitioners and specialist partners, ensuring that the guide reflects the experience of practitioners on the ground. The guide will support Local Authority and RSL landlords in reviewing their allocations policy and managing the allocation of their housing stock.
As we go to press the order extending Freedom of Information to Housing Associations has recently been laid in Parliament. This will extend FOI to Housing association tenants as well as Council tenants who are already covered by the provisions of FOI. Housing Associations in Scotland have proven track record as open and transparent organisations, and, as such, are in a strong position to implement the provisions of FOI successfully.
I do hope you find the newsletter of interest and enjoy this edition.
Head of the Social Housing Services Team