25 May 2023
Housing associations exist to provide good quality, affordable social homes for people who need them and offer vital services to support their communities.
While most housing association homes are of high quality, we know that some homes and services are falling short of the high standards our sector expects and that our residents deserve.
Guided by their social purpose, our members told us that they wanted to urgently take action to address these issues of quality, learn where things may be going wrong, and begin to tackle the root causes of the problem. That’s why we, alongside CIH, commissioned an independent panel to make recommendations to guide this work, which were published last year in the Better Social Housing Review (BSHR).
Since its publication, we’ve been focused on next steps that are tangible and rooted in the challenges that housing associations currently face. We’ve spoken to members across the country, and worked closely with members in our Quality and Trust Steering Group and Working Group on Race and Structural Inequality in the BSHR, to produce an action plan outlining what we will deliver.
Structural inequalities, and in particular race, were a core theme throughout the BSHR’s report and therefore form an important part of our action plan.
This action plan is a significant, long-term piece of work that demonstrates the whole sector’s commitment to improving quality. It takes into account the increasing pressures that housing associations are under, and considers upcoming legislation and changes to regulation including the revised Decent Homes Standard, the Social Housing Regulation Bill and other consumer regulation.
We are now working with CIH to develop workstreams that will deliver each action in the plan, and will be in touch with updates as this work progresses.
One of the key findings of the Better Social Housing Review is that social housing providers need to improve how they collect and use data – both about the condition of the homes they manage and about who lives in them. Its recommendation is for the sector to work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of all social housing in England. NHF Policy Leader Annie Owens introduces a major new programme of work.