The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
On page 68 of the report is a table which sets out which regulations were breached when enforcement action was taken. The table shows that failures in governance were the most common marker indicating the need for enforcement action. Taking the report and statements regularly made by Andrea Sutcliffe and David Behan, it is fair to say that what is meant by failures of governance in this context really means failures of leadership.
We act for hundreds of care providers and a number have been subject to enforcement action. Often the action is in respect of one location among many otherwise good, or even outstanding, services, which tends to support the widely held view that problems are often more of a marker of failure of local leadership than of organisational failure. It is a truism of the care sector that a good manager makes a good service and vice-versa but if that is so, why do organisations allow poor managers to continue to lead services without proper challenge or adequate support? Is it not at that level (i.e. supervision and reporting) that there is a governance failure, or lack of leadership, in dealing with known problems?
Boards set the tone for the governance of organisations of any significant size and it is not good enough for Boards to explain failures solely in terms of local management. Their governance structures ought to provide a clear line of sight right into performance at the service level so that problems can be spotted, actioned and any learning integrated across all services, thus driving a virtuous feedback loop. Such a process is exactly what demonstrates “effective” services in terms of the KLOE assessments.
Senior directors who approach us when enforcement action is threatened almost never seek to deny there are problems. If they do wish to challenge the actions which CQC is threatening it is usually because they consider there has been a poor inspection process, in which case it is possible to divert CQC from enforcement action, with a measured approach asserting they have not acted in accordance with their own procedures.
Where there are real problems with a service, most well-advised providers will work with CQC and demonstrate a wish to get things right with CQC’s assistance and we have been involved in several cases of services being ‘turned around’ in this way.
However, from a governance perspective, the lack of surprise about poor services begs the obvious question; why have the problems not been resolved before CQC threatened action? A harsh question, but aren’t hard questions exactly what Boards are there to ask their executive team?
For further information please contact John Wearing. John is a leading UK expert in his field, advising many well-known care providers on strategic issues concerning good governance, risk management, portfolio development and the transfer of care assets.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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