The regulator of social housing has launched a statutory consultation on proposals to revise its Value for Money Standard from April 2018. The proposed Standard is intended to encourage providers to achieve their objectives by making the best use of every pound and every property to deliver more new homes, make improvements to the existing housing stock, and provide better services to tenants without placing additional burden on the taxpayer.
The proposed VfM Standard is complemented by a Code of Practice that is designed to help registered providers understand what the regulator is looking for when seeking assurance against the Standard. The proposals signal replacing the current self-assessment, which is primarily narrative, with more focused reporting of value for money. Providers will report against their own defined targets as well as against common value for money performance metrics.
The performance metrics are outlined in a separate Value for Money Metrics – Technical Note, also published today (27 September 2017). As part of the regulator’s commitment to minimise interference and potential burdens on registered providers, the technical note proposes a limited number of financial metrics for providers to report on drawn from the pilot being undertaken by the Sector Scorecard Working Group. The metrics are intended to improve the consistency and transparency of reporting and permit comparison across the sector.
Julian Ashby, Chair of the HCA Regulation Committee said:
Since we introduced the VfM Standard in 2012, we have seen improvements in transparency and the delivery of value for money, with registered providers demonstrating much more clearly to stakeholders how they are managing their resources and assets. But there is more work to be done to demonstrate the effectiveness of the sector’s response to the value for money challenge.
There is an increasing level of interest on how providers’ value for money performance influences their ability to deliver new homes, support tenants and ensure existing stock is well maintained. This means it is more important than ever that boards build on progress to date and maintain a clear focus on delivering value for money as an integral part of running their businesses. Please do give us your views on the VfM Standard, Code of Practice and the separate technical note on metrics.
The consultation on the VfM Standard will remain open until 20 December 2017.
Separate feedback on the Value for Money Metrics – Technical Note can be given until 22 November 2017 by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until any new VfM Standard comes into force, which would not be before April 2018, providers must continue to publish a 2016/17 VfM self-assessment against the current VfM Standard demonstrating to stakeholders how they are achieving value for money in delivery of their purpose and objectives. For most providers the deadline for publication of this self-assessment will be 30 September.
The proposed changes to the Value for Money Standard would, subject to the outcome of the consultation published today, require registered providers to set their own strategic objectives and report on progress on these targets annually. This approach would permit individual providers to report on their own bespoke targets, which reflect the individual needs of the organisation. The proposed set of standard metrics defined by the regulator is intended to achieve the different, but complementary, objective of providing measures with wide applicability to enable better comparison across the sector.
The Sector Scorecard Working Group is a steering group which is piloting a sector scorecard of 15 performance metrics with around 300 providers on a voluntary basis:
The Homes and Communities Agency is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England, and is the regulator of social housing providers. As regulator, its purpose is to promote a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs. It does this by undertaking robust economic regulation, as enshrined in legislation, focusing on governance, financial viability and value for money that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer.
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