08 Jun 2022

Independent panel set up to help tackle poor-quality homes

Social housing is a sector driven by a social purpose to provide good quality, affordable homes, and it is clear this has not been the experience of every resident. Scrutiny from the media and social media, in the last 12 months - including the ITV News investigation and campaigners such as Kwajo Tweneboa - has shown this hasn’t been the case.

These instances have highlighted a problem across the social housing sector, including local authority housing providers and housing associations. Organisations have redoubled efforts to find and repair serious problems in their homes, but the sector wants to do more to understand why these issues have been happening and what changes can be made.

CIH and National Housing Federation (NHF) have been talking to members – from all areas of the social housing spectrum - around the country about these issues and about how we can respond. There is an acknowledgment that as a sector, we want to and must do better.

In discussion with members, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and National Housing Federation (NHF) have set up an independent panel to make recommendations for change to improve stock.

This group, chaired by Helen Baker, will comprise of people with lived experience and expertise in social housing. It will meet over the summer with residents, community leaders, and other partners, including local authority housing providers, to consider improvement actions that can be taken so that residents always receive the high-quality services they deserve.

The Panel will consider wider factors affecting social housing and consider how these issues may have impacted on quality.

Trust in the sector has been shaken by instances of poor-quality housing. As the professional body for the sector, CIH are committed to supporting our members to deliver changes that will improve stock and customer experience for all.

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, says:

“All tenants of social housing should be able to live in a good quality, well-managed home and be treated with dignity and respect. Where this is not the case, we must put that right.

“I welcome the insight an independent panel will bring, taking time to engage with residents, communities, partners, and staff to understand where improvements are needed and to make recommendations to the sector that will fix what is wrong and develop greater trust between landlords and tenants.

“As the professional body for housing, we look forward to supporting the sector to progress the recommendations provided to deliver the right mix of knowledge and skills, behaviours, and values to ensure a quality home and service for all.”

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, says:

“Everyone should expect a safe, secure, good quality, and affordable home.

“Housing associations play a vital role in every community in the country providing essential social housing.

“We know most people have a good experience in their housing association home, but we have clearly seen that this has not been the case for every housing association resident and that is simply not acceptable.

“The sector wants to learn how these problems have happened and what action they can take to do better.

“I look forward to reading the panel’s recommendations later in the year and working with colleagues across the sector to take the action that’s needed to make sure every housing association resident can trust that they will live in a secure, good-quality home”

Notes to Editors

For any queries or interview requests, please contact CIH communications manager, Rachel Martin.