WAO Says Housing Associations Are 'Failing to Deliver' for Tenants

Article excerpt

MANY housing associations are letting their tenants down in crucial ways, according to a hard-hitting report from the Wales Audit Office released today.

The report says unsatisfactory progress is being made towards meeting key policy priorities of the Assembly Government.

In the course of their investigations, the WAO team say they came across around 50 examples where associations were failing to deliver.

The report says: "Progress towards meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (a benchmark for high quality social housing to be achieved by the end of 2012) was often poor.

"Many associations had not met the Assembly Government's key milestones, stock condition information was unreliable and ongoing measurement of performance was limited. Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was weak. Improvements to reception and public areas were often made just prior to inspection, and associations did not always assess comprehensively their schemes' compliance in relation to specialist housing.

"Systems to manage gas servicing were not always robust, and we identified a range of weaknesses in policy documentation, public information and monitoring. Very few associations provided services that complied with the Code of Practice for Rented Housing of the Equality and Human Rights Commission."

The report goes on to say that in a large number of associations, complaints processes were not adequately promoted, tenants were not encouraged to use them and they often did not comply with the Assembly Government's expectations.

Compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations was often poor with limited public information, inadequate control measures and weak management plans. Service provision in Welsh was limited and some associations were not complying with their own Welsh language schemes.

The report says: "There was evidence to suggest that a number of associations had taken action to comply with Regulatory Code requirements only immediately prior to our fieldwork, to 'get their houses in order' for inspection. …