The regulator is the body responsible for overseeing registered social housing providers. It rates providers based on their governance and financial viability. Following an in-depth assessment (IDA), GSA has secured the highest governance rating.
In October 2021, six months after the merger which created GSA, the provider’s rating was downgraded from G1 to G2. This reflected significant risks associated with the lack of up-to-date health and safety information about GSA’s homes including fire risk assessments, asbestos surveys, and electrical reports, which came to light during data record checks completed following the merger. When GSA discovered these breaches, it self-reported them to the regulator.
Ruth Cooke, Chief Executive at GSA said: “Over the last two years our focus has been on resolving the issues which led to the downgrade in our governance rating, and we’ve made transformational changes as a result.
“We put in place our Building Safety Recovery Plan to rectify the safety issues with our homes and initiated wide-ranging changes to the governance and leadership of our organisation. Huge progress has been made and we recently received the green light from Savills that we have completed the relevant property checks and put in place improved processes and procedures.
“There is still a lot of work to be done and we have substantial programmes of works to complete, including completing a two-year programme of fire safety works. However, our return to the top governance rating of G1 following an IDA by the regulator represents important recognition of the improvements we have made, and demonstrates the regulator is now satisfied we meet their governance requirements.
“This is a significant step forward for GSA and it was pleasing to see the regulator recognise in its judgement that our refreshed Simpler, Stronger, Better business strategy provides a clear roadmap for the future with a renewed focus on investment, quality and data.”
In its judgement, the regulator noted that GSA has strengthened its governance and compliance frameworks. It also said it was clear the refreshed Board and Executive Team have set a revised strategy that simplifies the organisation’s activities and structure and prioritises investment in existing homes. The regulator also noted that GSA has accelerated its programme of fire risk assessments, asbestos and electrical safety testing, stock condition surveys and now has robust, reliable, and up-to-date data on which it has based its compliance and reinvestment programmes.