The Competence and Conduct Standard

04 April 2024

We have submitted a full response to the government’s consultation on The Competence and Conduct Standard.

What is the Competence and Conduct Standard?

In February 2024, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched a consultation on the Competence and Conduct Standard. This is one of a series of government consultations on the implementation of the Social Housing Regulation Act, which received Royal Assent in July 2023.

The Competence and Conduct Standard aims to introduce a national framework for promoting high standards and professionalism within the social housing sector through the introduction of new measures on professionalisation.

The Standard aims to introduce high levels of professionalism by requiring people who deliver social housing services to have, or gain, specific qualifications related to their work.

At the NHF, we want to ensure the new Standard considers the existing experience and expertise of the sector and address any impact on costs, retention and recruitment.


In February 2024, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched a consultation on the Competence and Conduct Standard and this week, following engagement with our members, we submitted a detailed response.

Summary of our response

    Housing associations are committed to delivering a high-quality service to residents and investing in staff development. However, we want to ensure the measures introduced in the Competence and Conduct Standard do not negatively impact costs, retention and recruitment for the sector.

    We know the operating environment for housing associations is challenging and housing associations are already difficulties around staff recruitment and retention.

    We want to ensure the proposals are deliverable for housing associations, including smaller and supported housing providers, to ensure the best outcome for residents. The changes proposed are substantial, and need enough time for a transition period that allows the sector to adapt.

    In our response to the consultation, we have asked the government to consider:

    • A transition period of at least five years, enabling the sector to adapt to the Standard and reduce disruption to existing services. This will allow costs to be spread over a longer period of time, give the labour market time to adapt to the changes and allow training providers time to adapt.
    • More consideration about how the Standard will affect supported and smaller housing associations, which may have more staff who would require training under the changes. We’re asking the department to use the Regulator of Social Housing’s definition, which is those with fewer than 1,000 homes.
    • Measures to reduce disruption to service delivery, including clarity on which existing qualifications can be passported and whether staff with significant experience can be fast-tracked. For staff in the final years of their careers, an option for exemption should be considered.

    Find out more

    You can find out more about the consultation on the government website. You can learn more about our work on the Social Housing Regulation Act and stay informed about the latest developments on our new dedicated webpages.

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    Who to speak to

    Evelyn Williams, Policy Officer