The rethinking repairs and maintenance project has been established by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and National Housing Federation (NHF) to support the social housing sector to improve its repairs and maintenance practices.
The Better Social Housing Review found that resident dissatisfaction with repairs and maintenance services is a major issue in the sector, with only two thirds of social renters satisfied with the repairs service they receive. Poor practice has also been increasingly highlighted across news media outlets and in severe maladministration judgements by the Housing Ombudsman. This has underlined the need for the sector to re-examine the basic components of what an excellent repairs and maintenance process should involve.
In response to these issues, the Better Social Housing Review recommended that “Housing associations should partner with residents, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like”.
As part of the action plan, published jointly by CIH and NHF in response to the Better Social Housing Review, we committed to taking forward several actions to help the sector respond to the issues identified by the panel.
To support the sector’s response to the recommendation, CIH committed to setting up a project to examine and share best practice on repairs and maintenance. The aims of the project are:
To do this, CIH has established a best practice group formed of representatives* from registered social landlords, tenant representation bodies, equality and diversity bodies, and procurement and contracting experts.
Together, the group will initially define the guiding principles that social landlords should use to inform the co-design and delivery of repairs services and share examples and case studies of how landlords can consult with their residents, staff, and contractors to do this. The group will also develop new standards and metrics that landlords could use to measure their progress and enable better board and resident scrutiny of performance.
The group will not do this alone; it will be consulting with a wide range of experts, stakeholders, and residents to inform this work, including housing associations and local authorities who own and manage social housing. We will also work collaboratively with the Regulator for Social Housing, the Housing Ombudsman, and other relevant government stakeholders to ensure our proposals align with regulatory requirements.
From September 2023, the group will be examining current good practice in the sector, and drawing on this practice to define the guiding principles that should shape how social landlords design and deliver their repairs and maintenance services in partnership with residents, staff, and contractors.
The group will also begin developing metrics and standards that social landlords could use to drive improved repairs and maintenance processes. We intend to look at possible KPIs the sector could use, as well as examining other methods that could enable residents to have enhanced oversight of their landlord’s performance, such as impact assessments and deep dives into specific cases.
We aim to publish the results of this work, and guidance for how the social housing sector can adopt our principles, standards, and metrics, over winter 2023/24. Following this, the group has also committed to examining and sharing best practice in a range of related areas, such as complaints and culture, data and asset management systems, and procurement and contract management.
Engagement with social landlords, contractors, and the wider housing sector will be important to the development of this work. We are keen to hear views from CIH members, NHF members, and the local authority sector to help us shape our work. Here are some of the ways you can be involved:
We are establishing a community of practice, open to all who have an interest in this work, to share our developing findings and test our ideas. If you would like to be a part of this network, please contact email@example.com.
The review highlighted many examples of existing good practice in the sector, and we are keen to develop these examples into case studies and use them to inform our work. If you would like to meet with us to tell us about what you are doing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be sharing details of this work at upcoming events, including:
The group is chaired by James Prestwich, director of policy and external affairs at CIH, and the secretariat is provided by Matthew Scott, policy and practice officer at CIH.