Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key theme of 2020 has been diversity and inclusivity. This two-part update addresses this theme in detail
The deregulatory package, which we understand is designed to encourage the ONS to reverse its decision of September 2015 to classify housing associations as public bodies, includes:
- Removing the constitutional consents regime, so that consent from the Regulator will no longer be required for previously regulated changes to constitutions, such as changes to objects, nor to mergers and restructures;
- Removing the disposal consents regime, ending the requirement to obtain s172 or s133 consent to selling, leasing, charging for security and changes of ownership (although notification will be required);
- Abolishing the Disposal Proceeds Fund;
- Tightening the powers of the Regulator to appoint officers and managers of housing associations;
- Introducing a special administration regime for use in insolvency situations; and
- Including power for the Secretary of State to make regulations to limit or remove local authorities’ abilities to exert influence over housing associations i.e. to weaken or remove current “golden share” arrangements.
It is yet to be confirmed when such provisions will come into force (and when regulations setting out the detail of the proposals in relation to golden share arrangements will be published); however, we understand that the Regulator is currently reviewing the Regulatory Standards to ensure they will not conflict with these deregulatory measures.
Notification of these issues to the Regulator will still be required and the Regulator will continue to have powers of oversight, most notably through the use of in-depth assessments, which it has already indicated it will propose to carry out for most new structures where its consent would previously have been required.
Taking away the “safety net” of requiring consent from the Regulator, particularly in relation to decisions such as mergers and how the new asset freedoms can be used, will require, more than ever, a focus on good governance. Although there will still be restraints on how assets can be used, including, for example, Charities Act requirements for registered charities, funding constraints and restrictions under stock transfer agreements, Boards will no longer be able to rely on the Regulator to “check their homework”. More than ever, Boards will need to ensure that they are equipped to deal with challenging decisions, particularly in relation to how they can utilise asset freedoms to best serve their purposes.
For more information
please contact Gemma Bell
Covid-19 has resulted, on the whole, in a marked co-operation between contracting authorities and their suppliers as everybody focuses on maintaining delivery as far as possible.
Employment Tribunal rules in favour of claimants in minimum wage case – has the interpretation of “working time” changed?
As we enter a recession, we have been here before, and a key question is what did we learn and how can we benefit from that learning?
It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
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).
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.
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.