In order to ensure that approved housing bodies (AHBs) are run effectively, the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) was established by the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019. One of its main requirements was to establish a set of standards for AHBs in relation to governance, financial matters, property and asset management and tenancy management.
The board of an AHB should ensure that it is compliant with all legal, regulatory, funding, and statutory obligations. The board must provide effective leadership and its governance arrangements should set out the roles and responsibilities of the board members, sub- committees, and staff. Decisions of the board should be based on reliable accurate and timely information and records maintained providing the reasons for decisions made. Honesty and the integrity of board members are crucial, and the board members must put the AHB’s interest before their own personal or private interests and disclose any third-party interests that may cause a conflict. Board members have equal and collective responsibility for decisions and the board is responsible to tenants, the regulator, and other key stakeholders. Risks should be managed, and appropriate controls put in place.
AHBs must put appropriate financial governance arrangements in place. These include financial management, cashflow and treasury management to ensure that the AHBs can meets their financial obligations and future expectations and that there is a robust financial risk framework in place so that its tenants and assets are not at undue risk. Accurate and regular financial reporting to the board is necessary.
Property and asset management
AHBs should deliver an effective asset management programme which should meet its current and future needs and based on reliable and up to date information on the condition of all properties held by the AHB. They also must have a cost-effective repairs and maintenance programme that meets their tenants needs.
Homes must be allocated in a fair, transparent and efficient manner and aligned with the AHBs funding obligations. Good working relationships should be maintained with local authorities. Effective communication with tenants is key to ensuring that a solid relationship is developed. Fair and transparent rent policies are required and should be communicated and understood by the tenants. A complaints procedure which should be in clear terms and easily assessable is required under the standards. Engagement with tenants on the delivery of services is also critical, as is understanding tenants’ satisfaction through the monitoring and reporting on the performance of it service delivery.
The ABHRA provides guidance on the standards to include guidance documents, webinars, and other educational tools.
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