Glasgow Housing Association must protect Tenants’ interests

GLASGOW HOUSING ASSOCIATION MUST PROTECT TENANTS’ INTERESTS
From: THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT

26 September, 2007


Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) must ensure the interests of current and future tenants are safeguarded, Nicola Sturgeon said today.


An independent inspection report was published last week by Communities Scotland, the social housing regulator, on how the GHA is faring.


The Deputy First Minister told MSPs at Holyrood that the report identified the key challenges facing GHA and pledged to work with the organisation to tackle problems for the benefit of all tenants.


Ms Sturgeon also confirmed a review of Government contracts with GHA to ensure greater accountability and better value for taxpayers’ money.


The Deputy First Minister, Ms Sturgeon said:


‘GHA now has seven weeks to bring forward a comprehensive improvement plan. That plan will be public, so there is a high degree of public accountability and it will provide a strong basis for moving forward.


‘In doing so, it is crucial that we protect and promote the interests of both current and future tenants.


‘There are important areas where ‘significant improvement’ is needed � these are strong words indeed from a regulator.


‘I have discussed these issues with GHA and they accept the criticisms in the report and are focused on action to put them right. I welcome that.


‘The report is clear that GHA has been attempting large and complex tasks, in the face of considerable and often conflicting expectations, and has had to work within a unique and difficult operating model. These problems are not of the making of the new Scottish Government. 


‘I think it is also important that we review the original contractual set-up. Things have moved on, we are almost five years from the original transfer and some of the issues in the inspection report convince me that the time is right to review the current suite of agreements.


‘The review will not compromise the GHA’s viability. This is not about saving money. It is about securing better value for taxpayers’ money, ensuring greater accountability to Government and putting in place a framework to deliver improved services as well as much-needed regeneration in Glasgow.


‘I also want to see progress on Second Stage Transfer, with as many as possible moving forward, and this Government will continue to support transfers where they can sensibly be achieved. 


‘But if it is the case that the large number of small scale transfers that were promised at the time of transfer are not feasible in the near future � and because of the inadequacy of the original transfer that may be the case, I want to be equally clear that I will not accept that as an excuse for retaining an over-centralised management.


‘GHA needs in the mean time to find other ways of creating the kind of genuine local control and empowerment that tenants want.’


NOTES FOR NEWS EDITORS


1. A copy of the GHA news release issued by Communities Scotland on 18 September is avaliable at: http://www.communitiesscotland.gov.uk/stellent/groups/public/documents/csnews/cs_020093.hcsp


2. The GHA was created in 2003 in a move which took Glasgow’s council housing out of local authority control.



Contact: Iain Monk 0131 244 2951 or 07771 555 601