‘Prepare for criticism’, GHA chief warns staff

‘Prepare for criticism’, GHA chief warns staff
Emily Rogers, The Herald

19.06.09


The chief executive of Glasgow Housing Association has warned her staff to brace themselves for criticism from the Scottish Housing Regulator, in a leaked memo seen by Inside Housing.


In the memo, sent to her staff this week, Taroub Zahran suggests that the regulator’s view of the organisation may have been influenced by Glasgow Council and the Scottish Government. The regulator is currently carrying out an inspection of the association.


Ms Zahran predicts the association will receive ‘high praise’ from the regulator for ‘remarkable improvements in service delivery’.


But she warned staff that the regulator ‘may be less supportive’ of the association’s ambitions in its business strategy.


She added: ‘It appears the regulator’s view may have been influenced by a perceived lack of support from Glasgow Council and the Scottish Government for the considerable work done by both GHA and the LHO [local housing organisation] tenant chairs in developing our new. business strategy.’


The memo follows mounting criticism from Glasgow Council and the Scottish Government of the association’s ambition to stray beyond
its original aim of transferring its homes to community housing associations.


Inside Housing understands there is disagreement even at board level over whether the association should replicate large English housing associations by becoming a powerful regeneration agency, or whether it should devote the next few years to transferring its 70,000 homes to community associations.


Gordon Campbell, head of social housing at Dunfermline Building Society, warned that banks may seek to capitalise on the GHA’s current situation if it did come under fire from the regulator, by ramping up their charges.


Spokespeople from the GHA and the SHR both said it would be inappropriate to comment before the publication of the audit report.