Sovereign Housing Inspection Report

J A Giggins made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Tenant Services Authority

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Tenant Services Authority,

In the Audit Commission's last inspection report of Sovereign Housing in 2004 they made the point that they had found an instance where properties earmarked for development were not being maintained.

'117 There is no clear strategy for maintaining stock that is identified for disposal or redevelopment. We found an example of planned maintenance being delayed and communal repairs not carried out on an estate being considered for redevelopment. This is having a detrimental impact on the external environment for residents living in the area and is likely to reinforce the unpopularity of the estate'.

Please could you supply:-

(1)Details of any follow up work undertaken by yourselves or your predecessor organisation, The Housing Corporation on this point.

(2)A list of properties that fell in to this category.

(3)A list of Sovereign Housing properties that do not meet the Decent Homes standard.

(4)Details of any good practice guidelines you may have regarding Housing Association estate redevelopment, including engagement with nearby(non estate)residents.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Foia TSA, Tenant Services Authority

Dear Mr Giggins

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. We will deal with the
matter in accordance with the FOI Act; we will respond to you as soon as
possible and in any case within the deadline of 20 working days
stipulated by the Act.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Zierau | Information and Complaints Assistant
The Social Housing Regulator
Maple House | 149 Tottenham Court Road | London W1T 7BN
T: 020 7393 2283
E: [email address]
W: www.tenantservicesauthority.org

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Marianne Zierau, Tenant Services Authority

Dear Mr Giggins

Thank you for Freedom of Information requests received here on 21 March.

You refer to a statement in the Audit Commission's report from 2004 on
Sovereign Housing which says that 'there is no clear strategy for
maintaining stock that is identified for disposal of redevelopment'
and you request the following:

(1) Details of any follow up work undertaken by the TSA or the Housing
Corporation on this point.

(2) A list of properties that fell in to this category.

(3) A list of Sovereign Housing properties that do not meet the Decent
Homes standard.

(4) Details of any good practice guidelines you may have regarding
Housing Association estate redevelopment, including engagement with
nearby (non estate) residents.

I am now able to reply to your requests. I have retained your numbering
in my responses.

1) Details of any follow up work undertaken by the Housing Corporation
(or the TSA) relating to the point 117 which you quote in your request.
The TSA's records retention schedule states that regulatory documents
should be retained for 3 years. I can confirm that papers from 2004 have
been destroyed in accordance with this schedule and are no longer held
by the TSA. However, I hope the following outline of our procedures will
answer this point of your request.

When an Audit Commission inspection report identifies issues with a
housing association the TSA (and before us the Corporation) ask the
association to draw up an action plan for addressing the issues which
have been raised. Once the action plan is agreed and accepted by the
Audit Commission the Corporation/TSA will ensure the points in the plan
are addressed. In the case of the December 2004 report on Sovereign
Housing the housing association's response with the action plan is on
the Audit Commission's website at this
link [1]http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/SiteC....

You may also be interested to know that that TSA regularly publishes its
views on individual housing associations in the shape of a Regulatory
Judgement (RJ). The RJs are on our website and the one for Sovereign is
at this link
[2]http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/u....

2) A list of properties that fell in to the above category.

I am afraid we are unable to provide a list of Sovereign's properties
which were affected by the above.

Housing associations are independent private organisations with a
committee or board of management made up of volunteers who have overall
responsibility for the work of the organisation. The TSA (and before us
the Housing Corporation) is responsible for regulating social landlords
and does this by setting national requirement which landlords must
meet. Since our focus is whether or not our standards are being met, the
level of detail we hold about providers does not extend to
individual properties.

The requirements which the TSA expects social landlords to meet are set
out in the Regulatory Framework which you can find on our website at
this link
[3]http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/s....

3) A list of Sovereign Housing properties that do not meet the Decent
Homes Standard.

Sovereign Housing has reported to the TSA that they are fully compliant
with the Decent Homes Standard with the exception of 192 properties on
the Somerford Estate, Christchurch for which the association has been
granted an extension until 2013. The properties in question are due for
redevelopment when negotiations with the local authority can be
finalised. As explained above the information we hold about providers
does not extend to information about individual properties.

4) Details of any good practice guidelines regarding Housing
Association estate redevelopment, including engagement with nearby (non
estate) residents.
I am afraid the TSA has not published any practice guidelines regarding
housing association estate development.

The TSA's approach to regulation is co-regulatory; we therefore expect
robust self-regulation by housing association boards, incorporating
effective tenant involvement. This means that we focus on outcomes and
that we therefore seek to avoid being prescriptive. In accordance with
this new regulatory approach the TSA has withdrawn about 1,000 pages of
requirements on landlords made by our predecessors, the Housing
Corporation. Just four Housing Corporation Circulars have been retained,
as they relate to rents and rent policy, which are controlled by the
Government.

For further information about how we regulate I can refer you to the
relevant section our website at this link:
[4]http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/s.... I can
also refer you to the Regulatory Framework; I suggest that the sections
on 'The TSA's approach to regulation from April 2010' (beginning on page
9) and on the 'Neighbourhood and community standard' (beginning on page
29) may be of particular interest to you.

You may also wish to make enquiries to the National Housing Federation
and/or the Chartered Institute of Housing to check whether they hold
good practice banks.

I hope this information is useful to you.

Final comments

If you are dissatisfied with my response you may request an internal
review. To do this you should write to Claer Lloyd-Jones, Chief
Executive at TSA, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T
7BN. You should make your request for review no later than 40 working
days from the date you receive this letter. If you remain dissatisfied
after you have gone through our appeal process, then you may contact the
Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Zierau | Information and Complaints Assistant

The Social Housing Regulator

Maple House | 149 Tottenham Court Road | London W1T 7BN

T: 020 7393 2283

E: [5][email address]

W: [6]www.tenantservicesauthority.org

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Dear Marianne Zierau,

Many thanks for a speedy response.

I wonder if I could ask you to expand on your answer to question 3 by providing electronic copies of, or a link to, the self assessment returns/compliance reports from Sovereign Housing for 2006/7, 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10. I am particularly (but not exclusively)interested in their 'decent homes' compliance assessment.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Marianne Zierau, Tenant Services Authority

I am out of the office in the afternoon of Tuesday 29 March. I will deal
with your enquiry when I return to the office on Wednesday. If your
enquiry is urgent please contact Clare Rees on
[email address].

Marianne Zierau
Information and Complaints Assistant
TSA

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Marianne Zierau, Tenant Services Authority

Dear Mr Giggins

Thank you for your e-mail. We have to treat you additional request for information as a new FOI request. We will deal with the matter in accordance with the FOI Act and we will respond to you as soon as possible and in any case within the statutory deadline of 20 working days given by the FOI Act.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Zierau | Information and Complaints Assistant
The Social Housing Regulator
Maple House | 149 Tottenham Court Road | London W1T 7BN
T: 020 7393 2283
E: [email address]
W: www.tenantservicesauthority.org

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail or its attachments

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Marianne Zierau, Tenant Services Authority

19 Atodiad

Dear Mr Giggins

I write in response to your Freedom of Information request of 29 March.

You have requested the following:

Electronic copies of, or a link to, the self assessment returns/compliance
reports (SACs) from Sovereign Housing for 2006/7, 2007/8, 2008/9 and
2009/10. I am particularly (but not exclusively) interested in their
'decent homes' compliance assessment.

We have searched our records and identified 19 documents which fall within
the scope of your request. I attach those 19 documents.

One of the attached documents (SACs 2009 minute) is a redacted version of
the minutes of Sovereign's Group Audit and Risk Committee which took place
on 18 June 2009. The SACs submission was only mentioned in this one item
of the meeting and the rest of the minutes are therefore outside the scope
of your request.

In accordance with the TSA's retention policy all documents from 2006/07
have been destroyed. That said, by mistake one document from 2006/07 was
not destroyed and is among the attached documents (SACs 2007).

SACs were discontinued after 2008/09 and were not replaced with anything
else so there are no SACs after 2008/09. This reflects the change in
approach to regulation which was introduced by the TSA. As outlined in my
e-mail dated 29 March in response to your earlier FOI request the TSA's
approach to regulation is co-regulatory. We therefore expect robust
self-regulation by housing association boards, incorporating effective
tenant involvement. For further information about how we regulate I can
refer you to the relevant section our website at this link:
[1]http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/s.... I can
also refer you to the Regulatory Framework which is on our website at this
link
[2]http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/s... I
suggest that the section on 'The TSA's approach to regulation from April
2010' (beginning on page 9) may be of particular interest to you.

You may be interested to know that housing associations submit an annual
Regulatory Statistical Return (RSR) to the TSA. Among the information
which associations have to provide is information about Decent Homes
compliance. You can access RSRs from 2002 onwards at this link
[3]https://rsr.tenantservicesauthority.org/.... The organisation
of the RSR forms has changed over the years but information about Decent
Homes compliance is usually towards the end of the report.

You may also wish to look at Sovereign's website which has several
publications including their Annual Reports from 2005 onwards. The
publications can be found at this link
[4]http://www.sovereign.org.uk/about-us/pub....

I hope this information is useful to you.

Final comments

If you are dissatisfied with my response you may request an internal
review. To do this you should write to Claer Lloyd-Jones, Chief Executive
at TSA, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7BN. You should
make your request for review no later than 40 working days from the date
you receive this letter. If you remain dissatisfied after you have gone
through our appeal process, then you may contact the Information
Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Zierau | Information and Complaints Assistant

The Social Housing Regulator

Maple House | 149 Tottenham Court Road | London W1T 7BN

T: 020 7393 2283

E: [5][email address]

W: [6]www.tenantservicesauthority.org

ü Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail or its
attachments

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