The revised Governance and Financial Viability Standard came into force on 1 April 2015. Under the Standard, Registered Providers (RPS), including yours, are expected to provide annual confirmation that you comply with the requirements of the Standard, including the specific expectation that you “adhere to all relevant law”.
Your Board will therefore need to show it has taken reasonable measures to assure itself of compliance with all relevant law, and it will need to give this formal confirmation in your annual report. A number of concerns were raised by RPs and housing professionals over the inclusion of this requirement in the Standard when the consultation was published in 2014; however, the Regulator decided to retain it within the Standard.
The accompanying Code of Practice (which is intended to give clarification on what compliance with the Standard may look like) states that compliance with all relevant law encompasses legislation (including secondary legislation), common law and relevant statutory guidance. In areas of law which are still developing rapidly, such as procurement law, it can be challenging for organisations to know how to make sure they are compliant, but many organisations only discover they are non-compliant in other significant areas when problems arise, when it is often too late, and opens them up to criticism or potential downgrade by the Regulator.
To support you in complying with the Regulatory Standard, we have formulated a Legal Compliance Certification (or “LCC”) package including:-
- “LCC checklist” designed to indicate areas of potential non-compliance with relevant law (including the requirements of the Regulatory Framework). This checklist will be offered on modular basis and is designed to ensure that it deals appropriately with areas of relevance to your organisation. For example, it will include modules on social housing (i.e. core business), care and support, development, market renting, social enterprise, education and other relevant areas of non-core social housing activity;
- an optional “bolt on” package of 10, 20 or 50 hours of specifically targeted legal support designed to assist you in tackling potential areas of non-compliance which have been identified through your responses to the checklist;
- to enable you to build legal compliance into your risk register as well as to reassure the Board, an analysis report commenting on the findings of the checklist review and indicating whether compliance with all relevant law had been achieved, and if not, what actions are being (or need to be) taken to do so; and
- thereafter, an optional rolling programme of 6 monthly updates on the areas covered by your LCC, to highlight any key areas of development during that period which you need to comply with, with additional support and advice on request to enable you to meet the requirements of the Standard in this respect, and your Board to continue to give the annual certification required by the Regulator.
For further information
You can find out more about how we help the housing sector here.