New research from the Local Government Association has announced that councils could face an additional cost so that they can deal with the government’s new housing standards.
With the government introducing new standards concerning the professionalisation of the housing sector under the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, research from the Local Government Association has found that the new changes are likely to cost councils almost £18 million in the first two years. After this, the changes would cost around £3.7 million a year, every year.
Now, the Local Government is calling on the government to fund the additional costs, to prevent them from being added on top of already over-stretched Housing Revenue Accounts. This call would see the new changes being properly managed, with the government working alongside the LGA and qualification bodies o form a comprehensive strategy. This would help to relieve councils, many of whom are already facing significant workforce pressures. The LGA has also stated that local areas should be able to make their own assessments of roles, based on their own individual workforce profile.
Other findings of the research include:
- 66% of senior housing managers at respondent councils were not yet sufficiently qualified to meet the new requirements, and 54% of senior housing executives likewise require further qualifications.
- 62% reported that they would not feasibly be able to ensure 100% compliance with the required level of qualifications within a two-year period, given their current resources.
- 80% of respondents anticipated great or moderate disruptive impacts on their recruitment and retention of housing officers as a result of the new requirements, while 68% anticipated a disruptive impact on their service provision.
The Local Government Association’s Housing spokesperson, Cllr Linda Taylor, said:
“Councils are fully committed to improving the quality of social housing, supporting housing staff an ensuring they receive appropriate training and can gain qualifications to help them in their roles.
“With costs to councils likely to be almost £18 million just for the first two years, it is essential that these new requirements are fully funded.
“Councils’ Housing Revenue Accounts are already facing unsustainable financial pressures, and this would be an additional burden which risks impacting on councils’ ability to fulfil their roles effectively as housing authorities.
“In addition, as our research shows, councils need more time to plan and implement these new requirements that are being imposed on them. This is why it is vital government works with us, and that these changes are carefully and properly managed, while being mindful of the significant workforce challenges housing teams are facing right including recruitment and retention concerns.”
A range of other measures will come as part of the new Social Housing (Regulation) Act, including the strengthening of the role of Regulator of Social Housing to make sure that tenants have more rights and ability to hold their landlord to account on consumer issues.
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