The saying goes that information is power, but at SHAC we know that we need more than information about our landlords if we are to achieve better performance on repairs, maintenance, complaints handling, and other key measures.
We note that the Social Housing Regulator’s Interim Chair, Simon Dow, has equated league tables with increased public scrutiny in a recent Inside Housing article. But all the evidence in health and education shows that the ability to scrutinise performance achieves nothing if those using the services have no influence over the organisation’s decision-making.
The government’s Social Housing Green Paper suggests that league tables will enhance consumer regulation. As the sector’s population knows, however, housing associations already publish their key metrics, and report in even more detail to the Social Housing Regulator which uses this data to assess and grade provider performance. League tables are a red herring; their absence has not driven poor performance in the sector, nor will publishing them address it.
SHAC Chair, Niall Mulholland explains
“Our tenants and residents know which associations are poorly managed, with declining standards of service, and inadequate complaints handling. What we need is the power to hold under-performing landlords to account, and to force them to change their approach. Far too many tenants’ and residents’ associations have been dismantled in favour of less challenging scrutiny panels.
“Genuine representation needs to be reinstated with full legal protection and the right to disclosure of information. Sharing fire safety risk assessments would be a good place to start. As residents and tenants, we know first-hand how well our landlords are managed. Now give us the power to influence what they do.”
SHAC is a campaign to defend social housing, with a focus on housing associations and co-operatives. Fighting alongside members in the Unite Housing Workers Branch it aims to improve the lives of workers and residents, highlighting and opposing the increased commercialisation of the sector.