Regulator revises DGHP engagement plan following Wheatley partnership announcement

The Scottish Housing Regulator has published a revised engagement plan for Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership.

DGHP chairman Bill Robertson

DGHP appointed an interim chief executive last year following an investigation which identified serious weaknesses in relation to organisational culture, management and leadership.

The investigation also highlighted misconduct issues, limited understanding of conflicts of interest and poor handling of these and of grievances and settlement agreements.

DGHP, which is regarded by the Regulator to be among a number of “systemically important” RSLs given the combination of its size, turnover, level of debt and geographic importance, then removed its chair from the board following an investigation into payments and benefits.

The interim chief executive commissioned broad-ranging, independent reviews of the organisation’s governance and strategic direction and purpose. The Regulator said the objective of this work was to ensure DGHP has the governance structures, skills and capacity to deliver an appropriate, sustainable strategic direction and full compliance with regulatory standards of governance and financial management.

DGHP’s board considered the outcome from this work and decided that it would be in the best interests of its tenants and other service users for it to seek a constitutional partnership with another RSL.

Having considered these proposals, it decided to progress plans to form a constitutional partnership with Wheatley Housing Group. DGHP will now further develop the partnership proposals and consult with its tenants.

DGHP’s chairman, Bill Robertson, said at the time that joining Wheatley would allow DGHP, which owns and manages more than 10,300 homes, to deliver improved services for tenants and accelerated investment in homes as well as creating a stronger future for the organisation.

Since his appointment, the interim chief executive has also identified further issues of non-compliance with health and safety requirements and the accuracy of DGHP’s stock condition and performance information. DGHP has commissioned a comprehensive stock condition survey to address these weaknesses and provide us and DGHP with further assurance about its long term financial sustainability.

In the revised engagement plan, the Regulator said DGHP must now provide updates on the development of its proposals for a constitutional partnership with Wheatley Housing Group and its plans to consult with tenants on the proposals.

It has called for regular updates on progress with:

  • the improvement plans which it has developed following its governance and strategic reviews;
  • its programmes of health and safety work; and
  • assurance on the accuracy of its stock condition and performance information.

DGHP must also provide copies of its Board and audit committee minutes as they become available, send an update on its development programme by October 31, and tell the Regulator if there are any material adverse changes to its plans which might affect its financial position or reputation.

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