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Social housing heavyweights among raft of providers downgraded by HCA

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Social housing heavyweights among raft of providers downgraded by HCA

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Regulation

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Large housing associations Gentoo and the Peabody Trust are among 15 registered providers to be downgraded by the Homes and Community Agency for failing to meet its value for money standard.

Other providers downgraded include Fabrick Housing Group, Progress Housing Group and St Mungo Community Housing.

VfM is one of the HCA's key regulatory requirements. The agency says that those downgraded have not met the specific requirements of the regulatory framework:

• To produce a transparent self-assessment that was sufficiently timely and robust to demonstrate to stakeholders that the provider had an understanding of the return on their assets.
• To provide the absolute and comparative cost of running their services
• Clear evidence of past VfM gains, and future aspirations.

The full list of downgraded providers is:

Abbeyfield Society
Bolton At Home
Brunelcare
Fabrick Housing Group
Gentoo Group Limited
Heantun Housing Association Limited
Housing Hartlepool
Inquilab Housing Association Limited
Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association Limited
Mount Green Housing Association Limited
Peabody Trust
Progress Housing Group Limited
St Mungo Community Housing Association Limited
Tristar Homes Limited
Two Castles Housing Association Limited

All have been knocked one notch down the HCA's governance scale, from G1 to G2, meaning they "meet the requirements on governance set out in the Governance and Financial Viability standard, but needs to improve some aspects of its governance arrangements to support continued compliance".

None of the providers had their viability grades changed, with all still on a top rating of V1, except for Bolton At Home, Gentoo and St Mungo Community Housing, all of whom currently have V2 ratings.

Matthew Bailes, the HCA's executive director of regulation, said: “We expect providers to publish a transparent and robust self-assessment, in a timely way. It is vital that providers demonstrate a strategic approach to delivering value for money in the achievement of their objectives. A minority of providers have really risen to the challenge of the new VfM standard and have published clear, transparent, and comprehensive self-assessments that will allow stakeholders to understand their approach to VfM and hold them to account on their performance. Most have got some of the way there, but will need to do better next year.

“However, 15 registered providers have not provided sufficient assurance of their compliance with the value for money standard and, as regulator, we have reflected this in our published gradings.”

Peabody chief executive Stephen Howlett said: “Peabody has long been committed to achieving excellent value for money so we can invest more in providing affordable homes and community programmes across London. We are disappointed to be downgraded by the HCA for a delay in publishing our robust and transparent VfM self-assessment. We intend to get our G1 rating back as soon as possible.”

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