11 Dec 2023

New consumer standards to hold us accountable

From April 2024, we’ll need to show that we’re compliant with a new set of national consumer standards and are acting in line with a code of practice set by the Regulator of Social Housing.

The regulator is responsible for monitoring the performance of providers of social housing like us. They set several ‘regulatory standards’ which contain specific expectations and outcomes that we need to meet and deliver. Those standards are described as either ‘economic’ or ‘consumer’ standards.

Our performance is assessed in various ways, with the regulator publishing regulatory judgements to explain how well we’re doing in meeting the standards.

What’s changing?

From April 2024, the consumer standards we need to meet are changing, as is the way in which the regulator will assess and report on them. The regulator will have greater powers to inspect and enforce the new requirements and will carry out regular inspections to check we’re meeting both the economic and consumer standards.

The new consumer standards are designed to help ensure that social housing landlords provide decent, safe and well-maintained homes and treat their residents with fairness and respect.

The proposed new consumer standards cover:

  • Safety and quality, requiring landlords to provide safe and good quality homes and landlord services to tenants.
  • Transparency, influence and accountability, requiring landlords to be open with tenants and treat them with fairness and respect so that tenants can access services, raise complaints when necessary, influence decision making and hold their landlord to account.
  • Neighbourhood and community, requiring landlords to engage with other relevant parties so that tenants can live in safe and well-maintained neighbourhoods and feel safe in their homes.
  • Tenancy, setting requirements for the fair allocation and letting of homes and for how those tenancies are managed and ended by landlords.

Other new measures

In April 2023, we told you about the introduction of national tenant satisfaction measures by the regulator. Those require all social housing providers to collect and publish a range of comparable information on areas such as repairs, safety checks and complaints.

Some tenant satisfaction measures are assessed by landlords directly and others by landlords carrying out tenant perception surveys. The new measures will help enable you to scrutinise our performance, as well as provide insight about where we can improve. The regulator will also use this information to see if we’re meeting the regulatory standards.

Next steps

We were already working towards delivering much of what the new consumer standards require in line with our Better Together strategy. Now, we’re looking at what more we need to do to ensure we meet the new regulatory expectations and how we can best demonstrate this to you. There’s work to do and we’re committed to get it right.

We’ll keep you up to date on the changes to the consumer standards when they are finalised, as well as on the further improvements we are making and how you can get involved.