On 18 May 2020, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) wrote to all social housing residents in England (residents).
- Value for money — RPs are required to demonstrate compliance with the regulatory standards, under which they are required to “understand the costs and outcomes of delivering specific services and which underlying factors influence these costs and how they do so” (Regulatory Framework – Value for Money Standard). Contractors should be prepared to provide this information when contracting with RPs.
- Disposals of assets - consent needed — until 6 April 2017, RPs are required to obtain consent from their regulator for all disposals or charging of social housing properties. Even after 6 April, it is still likely that an RP will need to prepare a post-disposal report to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), meaning that the RP will still need to ensure that they comply with any HCA regulations. When you enter into a commercial contract relating to land or the development of such, you should be aware of the consent/reporting requirement, which may have additional time constraints.
- Best terms — Most RPs are also charities (either registered or exempt), and therefore any disposal should be for the best price and on the best terms reasonably obtainable (unless the disposal furthers the RP’s own charitable aims). The Governance & Financial Viability Standard prohibits RPs from entering into arrangements that inappropriately advance the interests of third parties (or could be seen to do so). This means that an RP has to be able to justify why they agree to onerous or unusual commercial terms.
- Probity requirements — RPs receive a significant amount of their income from public funds. This means that they are under increased political and public scrutiny, not only in relation to how they use their resources, but also in relation to the way in which they conduct their business. In particular, there are restrictions on their ability to contract with connected persons, and most RPs will have specific policies which set out the parameters within which they can contract externally. Such policies will set out the conduct that an RP expects to be demonstrated by its contractors, and they will expect you to have knowledge of, and comply with, their policies. You should also declare, where applicable, any connections with the RP’s directors or staff.
- Procurement — RPs are 'contracting authorities' for the purposes of European Union (EU) procurement law. This means that RPs are required to advertise contracts with a value over the relevant thresholds across the EU, and to carry out a formal Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) compliant tendering process. The relevant thresholds are currently (excluding VAT):
- contracts for supplies and services: £164,176;
- contracts for works: £4,104,394; and
- concession agreements (works or services): £4,104,394.
The regulations are complex, but there are exceptions that allow RPs to enter into contracts without carrying out a full tendering procedure. This makes it worthwhile for you to explore whether any exemptions apply that might allow you to approach an RP with a proposal directly.
To find out more information relating to this article, please contact Laura Golightly.
For anyone who is currently restrained from holding their General Meeting or have held such in breach of their governing documents, help is on the way!
Social landlords may be surprised to learn that “landlords should be able to carry out routine as well as essential repairs for most households”.
Many housing providers are now re-thinking about gathering information to complete their data return to the Regulator of Social Housing, with the initial exercise having been delayed by Covid-19.
With many premises being left unoccupied (or minimally occupied) during the lockdown, both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have warned of the increased risks of Legionella.
The Court of Appeal judgement in Booth and another v R  EWCA Crim 575 will be welcome news for local authority prosecutors and their investigation teams.
The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on 4 April.
The purpose of this 30-minute free webinar is to address how employers navigate homeworking; supporting employees whilst also ensuring that their organisation stays financially viable.
As we make our first tentative steps out of strict lockdown, many of us have been thinking about what the future will look like for charities, both in the short and long term.
The UK Government has, in the last few weeks, introduced a multi-billion-pound package of measures and financial support for businesses and institutions that experience issues with their cash flow.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.