How to Ace the HCA Co-regulatory Requirements
Published by Investors in Excellence for Investors In Excellence in Housing
It’s a plain and simple fact that the HCA’s co-regulatory approach for the social housing sector also places the onus on social housing providers themselves to meet regulatory standards and gain assurance about their compliance.
But just how can boards make certain that they provide the necessary level of assurance to the HCA without overwhelming and overburdening their organisation? And exactly how can housing associations make sure that they have reassuring answers and compelling evidence at the ready when regulators pose those eight key questions – relating to governance, viability, and value for money – that underpin the HCA’s assurance-based regulatory approach?
Based on our tried-and-tested, continuous improvement approach to business excellence, the Investors in Excellence Standard is an indispensable – and independently-assessed – holistic accreditation wholly relevant to the social housing sector. If your organisation is seeking to demonstrate rigorous compliance with the HCA’s standards framework, the Investors in Excellence Standard will help you excel.
To demonstrate its relevance for the social housing sector, we’ve mapped out exactly how the five essential areas of our Standard – ‘What matters most?’, ‘Leading’, ‘Resourcing’, ‘Delivering’, and ‘Achieving’ – address the eight key questions to which HCA regulators seek robust answers during their engagement with providers:
1. Does the organisation have an appropriate strategic business plan?
In focusing on ‘What matters most?’, the Investors in Excellence Standard encourages any organisation to reflect on the appropriateness of their strategic business plan by scrutinising the desired future direction or vision, key measures and objectives, and current and planned innovations, as well as what sets the organisation apart in its field. Meanwhile, ‘Leading’ probes exactly how the organisation develops its strategies and plans to ensure they are robust, relevant, and realistic.
2. Does the organisation’s strategy suggest that it understands its external operating environment and markets in which it operates?
The ‘Leading’ element of the Standard also assesses how forecasts are made to predict trends and the effects of anticipated movements in the marketplaces, thereby encouraging any organisation to get to grips – at a strategic level – with its external operating environment and markets.
3. Do the financial plan and financial position of the organisation support delivery of its strategic objectives?
Competitor intelligence as well as structured and effective forecasting are examined within the ‘Leading’ component of the Standard. This, combined with the examination of resource management and optimisation within the ‘Resourcing’ component – both in terms of ‘value adding’ and ‘value for money’ – enable any organisation to build a compelling business case around financial viability and strategic performance.
4. Does the organisation understand the risks of delivery of its strategic objectives and get sufficient assurance on them and its systems of internal control?
The ‘Leading’ aspect of the Standard assesses evidence supporting the effective identification, evaluation, management, and reporting of risk, thereby addressing the question of whether or not risk is adequately understood and effectively assured by the organisation.
5. Does the organisation demonstrate how it achieves value for money in meeting its strategic objectives?
The demonstration of value for money is reviewed within the ‘Resourcing’ element of the Standard which looks at value-adding collaborative work as well as value-for-money resource management – including scrutiny of tangible assets, equipment, knowledge, intellectual property, environment and community, and brand.
6. Does the organisation’s business plan have clear and measurable objectives and does the organisation have a track record of delivering its plans and objectives?
The Investors in Excellent Standard incorporates ‘Achieving’ as one of its five essential areas. This requires evidence of an organisation’s strong track record in delivery of its business plan in terms of clear and measurable objectives. Such evidence is sought in the form of robust rationale for targets, resilient operational measures, rigorous monitoring of progress, compelling performance outcomes, and excellent stakeholder satisfaction.
7. Is there evidence that the organisation is transparent and accountable?
Transparency and accountability typically emerge within the ‘What matters most?’ and ‘Delivering’ components of the Standard which include assessment of core behaviours and values, key working alliances and partnerships, and typical communication needs and impact.
8. Is the organisation effectively led and controlled?
All five indicators for the ‘Leading’ section of the Standard enable any organisation to assimilate the effectiveness of leadership and control. As well as examining forecasting, strategies and plans, policies and objectives, and performance management, ‘Leading’ also interrogates the extent to which the organisation’s leaders personally drive a culture of excellence.
If you want your housing association to ace its HCA co-regulatory assessment, score highly both in terms of its governance and viability ratings, and achieve a regulatory judgement you are proud to see published, a little help from the team at Investors in Excellence and our popular Standard will go a long way to achieving that precise ambition.