Scottish regulator acts over governance failures

The Scottish housing regulator has intervened in the running of two housing associations after its investigations found serious governance failures.

The regulator has told Wishaw & District Housing Association it needs to find another landlord prepared to merge with it. This follows a review by an appointed manager David Jepson, who “concluded the option to merge with another HA would provide the best opportunity for Wishaw & District to meet its strategic objectives.” The association is now seeking expressions of interest from landlords and Mr Jepson will stay for a further year to oversee the process.

The regulator is also increasing the number of its appointees on the governing body to seven. The HA owns and manages just over 1,000 homes and employs around 22 people. Its problems stemmed from a site it bought for £1m in 2010 but which it has failed to progress plans for and to develop the site. An options appraisal in 2016 revealed “serious risks” with the development and a subsequent investigation revealed “serious governance failures”, “significant weaknesses in risk management” and “serious financial risks” as a result of buying the site. The regulator has also intervened at Glasgow based Thistle Housing Association, which owns 950 homes, where it has appointed a manager and five members to the group’s management committee.

The regulator said it acted to safeguard tenants’ interests after an independent review identified failures to meet regulatory standards of governance and financial management. The HA was also failing to meet the Scottish Social Housing Charter in relation to communications standards with tenants and other customers, the regulator said.

By Patrick Mooney, editor