Housing compliance review statement

Statement from Councillor Fiona Thomson, Executive Member, Housing and Climate Change, on the publication of a review of housing compliance at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Council offices

In January 2022, WHBC commissioned lawyers Eversheds Sutherland to conduct a Compliance Process Review following the council's self-referral to the Regulator for Social Housing in May 2021, after a number of issues came to light about how property compliance was managed within the council.

The Eversheds review was commissioned by WHBC in the interests of transparency and accountability, and the council has voluntarily published the full report of its findings for the Cabinet Housing Panel meeting on the 7 March.

Councillor Fiona Thomson, Executive Member, Housing and Climate Change said: "Firstly, I want to reiterate my apologies to tenants and leaseholders who were let down by failures in our compliance programme.  I welcome the publication of the Eversheds Sutherland's Compliance Process Review and we accept its findings.

"At several points in the Eversheds review, it is made clear that the reporting of risk to the corporate management team and to Cabinet did not reflect the reality of our compliance position.  These were critical failures and we fully accept them.

"The report also highlights a number of issues relating to the systems we were using, our governance, and management of resources.  Our focus since these issues came to light last year has been to implement the changes needed to ensure something like this couldn't happen again, and I am pleased that the report notes the progress made in this respect.

"Specifically, the report highlights more accurate record keeping, better reporting and lines of communication, additional resources, and increased awareness amongst officers and members of the council.  Our priority now is to maintain that momentum and we are putting in place a new management structure across the whole council to deliver on our priorities for the challenges ahead."