EELGA responds to UK Government's Consultation on Competence and Conduct Standard for Social Housing

In response to the UK government’s consultation on mandatory qualifications for those working in social housing, EELGA has asked its member local authorities for their views and has offered a response on behalf of the region.

The region acknowledges the Government’s aim to ensure high-quality service delivery to social housing tenants and foster a professional and knowledgeable workforce. However, it highlights significant challenges posed by the current provisions and calls for a more phased approach to implementation.

Key concerns raised by local authorities include:

Timescales: The 24-month timeframe for organisations to retrain staff to the new standard is impractical and burdensome. There is danger that this could limit the ability of housing teams to provide quality services to residents. This could happen either through reduced capacity, as existing managers either retrain or leave the field entirely, or through financial costs as local authorities need to pay for the qualifications.

Clarity on Applicability: The specific application of the regulations is unclear, particularly concerning staff who may be able to point to experience to meet certain elements of the criteria requested, and the scope of employees required to obtain qualifications. Clearer guidance is needed to address these concerns and ensure consistent understanding across the sector.

In response to these challenges, EELGA proposes the following remedies:

  • An extension of the timescale for obtaining new qualifications from 24 to 48 months to alleviate pressure on housing teams and allow for smoother transition.
  • Provision of funding for obtaining qualifications without drawing from existing budgets to mitigate financial burdens.
  • Enable those with experience in the sector to undertake mandatory continued professional development rather than specific qualifications.
  • The Government should issue clearer guidance on the scope of the regulation, especially concerning experienced staff who may already meet some but not all elements of the proposed criteria, and situations where duties could be discharged under supervision.

If these remedies are not adopted, there is a real risk that the proposed changes could create confusion, reduce capacity, and lower service levels for social housing tenants – the opposite of the Government’s intentions.