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HouseMark Cymru sponsorship feature

Goodbye to Lisa

Lisa King, previously HouseMark Manager for Wales, has recently left us to take up the post of Research Policy Officer at RCT Homes. We wish her well in her new job and appreciate her contribution and the hard work she has put into developing our services in Wales.

We will announce the new Wales Manager when an appointment is made. Meanwhile, our services in Wales will continue to be looked after by:

Regulation of Welsh Housing Associations

The Welsh Assembly Government is now close to finalising detailed arrangements for the regulation of Welsh housing associations. HouseMark, like many of you, has been actively engaged in this process, as a member of the Essex Regulation Group, and by providing detailed responses to Assembly consultation papers.

Throughout, HouseMark has welcomed the emerging regulatory framework. Our response has been concerned largely with the mechanisms that will be put in place to support the new framework, to ensure, for example:

  • robust resident engagement
  • the availability of good comparative information
  • the adoption of high aspirations in terms of good practice

Resident engagement

To date, Assembly consultations have said little about the need for locally-defined standards to sit beneath national, or the centrality of residents in defining such local standards and challenging performance. In England, the CIH has been developing the concept of ‘Resident-led self-regulation’. HouseMark has sought to complement that thinking, particularly around landlord-wide tenant scrutiny groups to act as bodies that hold their landlords to account. In Wales, we are working to this ‘Tenant Powered Performance’ model with tenants of Newydd HA, and tangible improvements in performance are already being seen as a result.

<strong.Comparative information

If associations are to be able to robustly self-assess and challenge their own performance, and to continuously improve, they must be able to compare their performance to others, and to track their own performance over time. Without comparisons, how do landlords, service users or regulators know how well an association is doing, or what is possible? HouseMark cost and performance benchmarking offers an established methodology, and data validation techniques to ensure consistency. We also provide on-line analysis and reporting, a range of specialist benchmarking services covering PI tracking, ASB, STATUS, estate services, residents involvement, contact centres, etc., and a Local Standards Tracking Service for tracking locally-determined standards.

Good practice

If landlords, residents and regulators are to aspire to the highest standards of practice, they must be able to access up-to-date examples of the best practices available. Assembly regulatory staff will have an important role to play in disseminating good practice. However, this will take some time to develop, and will, of necessity, be confined to examples from Welsh housing associations, when valuable lessons can also be learnt from local authorities, and from the rest of the UK. HouseMark has an established database of more than 1000 examples of good practice from UK associations and local authorities, over 500 case studies, a database of inspection reports and Ombudsman case digests, and an online discussion forum.

HouseMark at Harrogate

Thanks to all our Welsh members and non-members who made the trek to Harrogate for the CIH Conference in June, especially to those who visited HouseMark’s stand (even if it was just for the table football). The victorious Welsh team included Jason Wroe and Simon Morris from Newydd HA, and Rhian Robinson from CHC.

Visits to Welsh Customers

HouseMark are undertaking a programme of ‘relaunch’ visits to our Welsh customers as part of our drive to \’Keep The Customer Satisfied\’. Alan Crowder, our Acting Welsh Manager, has so far visited 8 housing associations, 3 stock transfer associations and 2 local authorities in Wales.

The purpose of these visits is to spread knowledge about the HouseMark product to as many members of staff as possible within subscribing organisations. Many staff are unaware that their organisation’s HouseMark subscription entitles them to such a wide range of information and benefits. We want all of our subscribers to get maximum value for money from their subscription and to enable their staff to use all the benefits of HouseMark in their day to day work.

There is no charge for these visits, so if you are a HouseMark customer and would like Alan to visit (or if you are not a HouseMark subscriber and would like to know more about the wide range of performance improvement tools we offer) please contact Alan on the number or email address above.

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