We regularly provide strategic support to executive teams and boards, both in responding to challenging situations and in planning future strategy and direction. This includes facilitating business-planning sessions and board away days.
We also have a team that specialises in dealing with investigations and responding to regulatory interventions, both from the social-housing regulator and other regulators such as the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Safety Executive.
We are keen to walk alongside you and build a strong, high-trust relationship - understanding your key drivers, values and direction is essential to us providing you with practical advice, which is tailored to your organisations' circumstances. We view it as a privilege to be able to assist you in formulating the next stage of your organisation’s journey wherever possible.
We have found that our clients also value the opportunity to come together and discuss their proposed strategies and initiatives with other housing associations and we see part of our role as your legal advisers as facilitating strategic discussions with other housing associations in a confidential, secure environment.
We work nationally with registered providers of social housing, arms’ length management organisations, local authorities and community-led associations.
Our strategic support for executive teams services
Our immersion in the housing sector, and relationships with the regulator and bodies - such as the National Housing Federation and Housemark - means that we are up-to-date with the latest developments in law, policy, best practice and strategy. We are able to act as your “eyes on the horizon” and work with you to inform your strategy and future planning.
We have advised on many innovative governance, funding and development models within the sector and combine our in-depth sector knowledge with commerciality and pragmatism, in order to provide strategic support and insight when supporting executive teams and boards. We are practised in acting as a “critical friend” to our clients, to help them to test out potential new strategies and initiatives and identify legal, best practice, regulatory, practical and commercial hurdles and issues.
With several of our key clients we meet quarterly or bi-annually to bring them up to date on key legal-, regulatory- and best-practice changes and to help them to address issues that are affecting their organisation.
We have worked with many of our clients to assess their business plans in light of the four-year rent cuts, the introduction of the Voluntary Right to Buy, the linkage of rents to Local Housing Allowance and other measures contained within the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Our support has included attending key executive team discussions and presenting to boards or facilitating away days to discuss potential options that could be available to their organisations. Our specialist intervention and investigations team is experienced in providing responsive, practical support in times of crisis. To do this we utilise our strong relationships with key regulators such as the social-housing regulator and the Care Quality Commission to assist in anticipating regulatory concerns and providing straightforward, solutions-focused advice.
We have assisted clients in liaising with the regulator over potential regulatory downgrades or enforcement action and, in particular, in agreeing voluntary undertakings that were realistic and achievable whilst still addressing the regulator’s concerns.
We have also provided support in preparing for in-depth assessments, including working with board members and executive teams to prepare for potential interview questions.
Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.
Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.
We have been recognised for the work we do
On 7 September 2021, the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) published its annual consumer review.
Last week, the NHF published its final version of its new Code of Governance and made some important changes from the previous draft that will impact on those housing associations looking to adopt it.
Delayed since Spring 2020 as the Government tackled the Covid-19 crisis, Tuesday 17 November saw the publication of the Social Housing White Paper, setting out the future regulation of the sector
As the UK’s social housing sector recovers from the initial Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, now is the time to focus on the challenges that may emerge next.
There is no universal approach to regenerating town centres. However, housing must be considered a key part of any regeneration project – providing well-needed new homes and economic growth.
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).
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”
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
AGM season will soon be upon us. One of the many challenges social distancing measures has presented is how to hold AGMs and other General Meetings.
In this update, we have focussed on the headline governance and regulatory issues that are facing RPs at this time. as we all deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
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