13/03/2024 - Permalink

Shropshire Council and STAR Housing put customers first in anticipation of new housing regulations

Related topics: Housing / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council, along with Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STAR Housing) – Shropshire Council’s arms-length management organisation – has successfully concluded its role as a pilot participant with the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH), ahead of the forthcoming implementation of new consumer regulation standards across the UK.

This pilot involved residents, colleagues and board members in a comprehensive inspection process.

The evaluation focused on critical areas such as service outcomes, stock quality, health and safety, tenant engagement, transparency, and complaints handling: reflecting the organisation proactively preparing for the new regulatory landscape.

Shropshire Council and STAR Housing, who manage approximately 4,200 council-owned homes across Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and Oswestry, took the opportunity to participate in the pilot scheme, which focused on the services that STAR Housing delivers on behalf of Shropshire Council.

The purpose of the pilot was to refine the RSH’s approach to inspections, scheduled to become a regular activity for all social landlords from April 2024. This move is part of a broader initiative to strengthen the accountability of landlords through the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, aiming to improve service quality, enhance the consumer voice and tenant safety.

The regulator’s feedback noted the commitment of both STAR Housing and Shropshire Council to improvement, and their proactive approach to working towards meeting the upcoming Consumer Standards.

The regulator also outlined that STAR Housing and Shropshire Council have a firm commitment to involving customers in decision-making and have a good understanding of the homes it manages.

Louise Champion, a resident (left), and Chloe Drew, housing assistant (rents)

Louise Champion, a resident (left), and Chloe Drew, housing assistant (rents)

Harpreet Rayet, Managing Director of STAR Housing, reflected on the experience, stating:-

“Participating in this pilot allowed us to align our services closely with the regulator’s expectations and, more importantly, to focus on continuous improvement for the benefit of our residents. This has been a rewarding journey, reinforcing the effective partnership between STAR Housing and Shropshire Council.”

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, said:-

“I am extremely pleased with the outcome of the pilot. Whilst this wasn’t an official inspection, I am delighted with the feedback we received from the regulator.

“We are committed to improving the overall housing offer for our social housing tenants. Taking up the Regulator of Social Housing’s invitation to be a pilot, as preparation for the new arrangements being introduced from April, has proved helpful and given us practical insights into the new regulatory approach.

“We were keen to understand how our services for council tenants measure up in the new regulatory regime, and to use this knowledge to help shape future performance, monitoring the governance structure we have in place, and our relationship with STAR Housing. The findings have been positive and reassuring, and give us a firm basis from which to grow.”

The pilot underlines STAR Housing and Shropshire Council’s preparations for the impending regulatory changes. Through transparent operations, tenant engagement, and a commitment to excellence, STAR Housing and Shropshire Council demonstrate a forward-thinking approach to social housing management, with tenant wellbeing at the heart of their mission.