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BLOG: Social Housing White Paper – what does it mean for Network Homes and residents?

14 December 2020

By Jamie Ratcliff, Executive Director for Business Performance and Partnerships

Last month, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published the Social Housing White Paper, titled The Charter for Social Housing Residents. The White Paper will have significant implications for our residents, how Network Homes operates and the shape of the sector in the future. Implementation has already started with the Regulator of Social housing advertising for a Director of Consumer Regulation, although not all of it will happen at the same time as many of the proposals require legislative and regulatory changes.

What is in the Social Housing White Paper?

The paper has a strong focus on strengthening consumer regulation and empowering residents. It covers seven key areas and explains what residents should be able to expect from their landlord:

  • To be safe in your home. The Government will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.
  • To know how your landlord is performing, including on repairs, complaints and safety, and how it spends its money, so you can hold it to account.
  • To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong ombudsman who will give you swift and fair redress when needed.
  • To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants.
  • To have your voice heard by your landlord, for example through regular meetings, scrutiny panels or being on its board. The government will provide access to help, if you want it, for you to learn new skills to ensure your landlord listens.
  • To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in, with your landlord keeping your home in good repair.
  • To be supported to take your first step to ownership, so it is a ladder to other opportunities, should your circumstances allow.

The Social Housing White paper also includes information about the policy measures the Government will put in place to ensure landlords live up to the Charter. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has produced a useful guide for residents which includes a summary of the policy measures in the White Paper.

Read the Charter for Social Housing Residents – Residents explainer

What does this mean for Network Homes?

There are improvements and changes we can make at Network Homes to ensure we live up to this Charter. We had already moved ahead of many aspects of the White Paper with our commitment to build residents’ trust in us and are making progress against this strategic objective. We’ve also revised our other strategic objectives so they’re clearer about what we want to achieve and how we’re going to achieve them.

There’s more we can do and as a business it’s important everyone at Network Homes understands what’s covered in The Paper and what it means for the service we provide to residents. Therefore, we held mandatory briefings about the Social Housing White paper for all our colleagues. You can watch the recording of the webinar briefing below: