Charter process needs more focus, says CIH Scotland
The process for developing the Scottish Social Housing Charter is a long drawn out one and needs a sharper focus, according to CIH Scotland.The process for developing the Scottish Social Housing Charter is a long drawn out one and needs a sharper focus, according to CIH Scotland.
"Broad performance outcomes already exist in the shape of the Performance Standards framework, and the Scottish Government has carried out helpful research on what issues matter most to tenants. In this context it looks like everyone's going to expend an awful lot of time and energy to come up with something we've largely got already, at a time when landlords are facing enormous budget pressure and being told all the time to become more efficient.
The process for developing the Scottish Social Housing Charter is a long drawn out one and needs a sharper focus, according to CIH Scotland.
With the Charter now enshrined in the Housing Bill, which completed its passage through Parliament this week, CIH has published a paper highlighting that even after an 18 month process, the April 2012 Charter is likely to be no more than a set of broad, high level outcomes.
Jim Strang, Chair of CIH Scotland, said: "CIH Scotland recognises the role of the Charter in forming the basis on which landlords' performance will be assessed. But the reality is that the Charter might not, in itself, contain much that is new.
"In any event, we think what the majority of tenants care about most isn't broad outcomes but whether and how their landlord actually achieves those outcomes, and the national Charter certainly isn't about that. Also, we don't want to see the Charter process distract tenants and landlords from the really important task of exploring how tenants can play a key role in contributing to landlords' self-assessment of their performance.
"In recent months we've been in touch with tenants and tenants' organisations, and it seems to us that among tenant representatives there's a lot of uncertainty and some raised expectations about the role of the Charter.
"We do recognise that for various legal and Parliamentary reasons, the Charter process can't be brought forward, but a sharper focus is needed to avoid everyone going round in circles. Hopefully the Scottish Government's discussion paper, expected in January 2011, will move things along, and we hope our initial draft Charter too might help focus the discussions and temper expectations about what the Charter can achieve. We're not being presumptuous: we just want to put something tangible on the table for people to get stuck into."