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Social landlord plans to publish £500 expenditure

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

Social landlord plans to publish £500 expenditure Social landlord plans to publish £500 expenditure

Another housing association is planning to publish all expenditure over £500 – following in the footsteps of Home Group and Viridian.

West Midlands social landlord Herefordshire Housing – which manages around 5,500 homes – is planning to publish the details alongside its chief executive’s pay.

Chief executive Peter Brown said: “There’s a growing distrust in organisations like banks and in chief executives’ pay in general. It’s about how you keep your relevance in that environment. Because of that, I think you need to be more open. We’re preparing an openness statement which we’ll take to board in March.”

Mr Brown said a lot of the information already existed in things like the Annual Report and other performance-related information the landlord publishes.

However, he said the plan is to “put it in one place” so people can see “we’re very open compared to most organisations”.

The move could see the landlord publish its £500 expenditure from April 1.

He said there was some "nervousness" about the move which could have “unintended consequences” – particularly around preserving the commerciality of its suppliers, for example, if it revealed the price it paid for specific materials or services.

The housing minister Grant Shapps has stepped up his bid for associations to become more transparent and has praised the likes of Home Group and Viridian who are publishing all expenditure over £500.

However, the NHF argues that housing associations have already put in place a "raft of measures to ensure they are transparent, accountable and open in their operations".

At yesterday’s NHF Communications and Marketing Conference, the move was dubbed unnecessary by one housing chief.

Diane Bellinger, chief executive of housing mutual Community Gateway Association said her tenants weren’t interested in the landlord publishing such details.

She said: “They can find it out anyway. Our tenants feel very well informed. However, if they asked – if there was a groundswell of opinion - we would do it."

Steve Smedley, associate consultant at Housemark, said publishing expenditure over £500 was a “poor tool” to judge a landlord’s value for money because tenants would have "nothing to compare it to".

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