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The Better Social Housing Review

The Better Social Housing Review report is making recommendations to housing associations to improve the quality of social housing.
The Better Social Housing Review report has been published, making recommendations to housing associations to drive improvements in the quality of social housing.

The Better Social Housing Review report has been published, making recommendations to housing associations to drive improvements in the quality of social housing.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) and Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) welcome the recommendations in full and will now design an action plan to implement these changes.

“Housing associations accept in their entirety the recommendations from the Better Social Housing Review, commissioned by us and the Chartered Institute of Housing six months ago.

“At our core, housing associations exist to provide safe, good quality homes. This commitment was clear in the conversations the panel carried out with residents, housing association staff and stakeholders during the review.

“But elsewhere, the report is undoubtedly not an easy read. There are very serious issues with the quality of some social homes, and the report asks housing associations to make sure they are prioritising the needs of their tenants at all times.

“We will develop a thorough nationwide action plan which will set out how housing associations will respond systematically to all the recommendations. This begins with checking every single housing association home to make sure we know where problems exist, like damp and mould, and fix them.  

“Housing associations will also work with tenants and partners to set a clear standard for excellent repairs and maintenance services that everyone living in a housing association home can expect.

“I hope these swift and far-reaching actions reflect the gravity with which we take these findings and our residents’ experiences. Thank you to the independent panel for carrying out such a thorough review.”

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation

“All tenants of social housing should live in good quality, well-managed homes and always be treated with dignity and respect. Where this is not the case, we must work quickly to put that right, so I welcome the findings and recommendations set out by the Better Social Housing Review panel, which provide a practical framework for the sector.

“As the professional body for housing, we are committed to working with our members and the National Housing Federation to develop an action plan focusing on the recommendations outlined by the panel. The increased focus on consumer regulation and professionalism, set out in the Social Housing Regulation Bill, will help to underpin this.

“I’m grateful to the panel for the time they have taken to engage with residents, communities, partners, and housing professionals to understand where improvements are needed, to highlight good practice and to make recommendations that will help the sector move forward.”

Gavin Smart, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing


Housing associations exist to provide good quality, affordable social homes for people who need them and offer vital services to support their communities.

While most housing association homes are of high quality, we know that some of our homes and services are falling short of the high standards that we expect and that our residents deserve.

The NHF and CIH jointly commissioned an independent panel to make recommendations to guide everyone on this journey.

The Better Social Housing Review panel, chaired by Helen Baker, met with residents, customer-facing staff, community partners and housing leaders from across the country over the summer.

They heard about and saw inspiring work across the sector, but also cases of “shockingly poor quality homes”. They also saw how inequalities, particularly racial discrimination, can influence the experience tenants have when they raise issues with repairs and maintenance.

From this review, they were able to arrive at seven recommendations for the sector to deliver:

  • Every housing association should refocus on its core purpose and deliver against it.
  • The sector should work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of our stock.
  • Housing associations should partner with tenants, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like.
  • The Chartered Institute of Housing should promote the traditional housing officer role as a supported and valued employment opportunity with a Chartered Institute of Housing recognised programme of training and continuing development.
  • Housing associations should work with all tenants to ensure that they have a voice and influence at every level of decision-making across the organisation through both voluntary and paid roles.
  • Housing associations should develop a proactive local community presence through community hubs which foster greater multi-agency working.
  • Housing associations should support tenants and frontline staff to undertake an annual review of the progress each organisation is making in implementing this review’s recommendations.

What happens next?

The NHF and CIH welcome the recommendations in full and are encouraging their members to do the same over social media and in conversations with stakeholders.

They will now develop an action plan to help the sector implement the recommendations from the review. Its first priority will be understanding what is needed to deliver the audit of all social homes.

The work will be guided by the quality and trust steering group, and the NHF and CIH will be in touch with a number of opportunities for all our members to get involved.

Read the report here:

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