Housing associations are under pressure to be effective and commercially viable organisations that have the best interests of their tenants and communities at heart whilst also providing an increasingly demanding number of affordable homes. Additionally, tenants have an ever-increasing expectation of the service that they are entitled to.
Housing association mergers
With house building targets at an all-time high, many housing associations have made the decision to merge and join forces with other housing associations to ensure that a large housing stock can be created and managed efficiently. Streamlining of resources ensures that this option is commercially beneficial too.
Political risks facing the sector
One of the greatest challenges facing Sovereign Housing Association according to Simon Beake, Sovereign’s Risk & Compliance Analyst, is the ever changing and turbulent political landscape.
‘Uncertainty surrounding external political factors such as the changes to the welfare reforms, universal credit, Brexit, government policy and the continual change of the housing minister has created an unpredictable and challenging environment’, says Simon. These conditions mean that effective risk management is fundamental to the success of the organisation. Although they cannot be entirely mitigated, these factors can be monitored, and scenario planning can help limit any adverse effects whilst also ensuring opportunities are maximised.
Heightened service level expectations
The expectation of greater service levels has been a significant driver to the digital transformation that has been seen across the sector too. Facilities and services are now being demanded via online platforms and apps by residents. These new requirements provide many opportunities in terms of service efficiencies and new innovative products; however, any new service also has risks that need to be considered too.
With the recent changes in data protection regulations this has enhanced awareness of cyber security. It is important that systems and processes are in place to mitigate potential breaches to provide confidence to employees, customers and suppliers.
Importance of risk management
These changing times make risk management of paramount importance to the sector to ensure that risks are identified, monitored and mitigated where possible.
A significant element of the regulated activity carried out by the Regulator for Social Housing, covers how well risks are managed and monitored by associations. Sovereign Housing Association is pleased to have recently maintained the highest rating for both governance and viability.
Implementing risk management software
Sovereign Housing Association has been using JCAD’s risk management software, CORE, for the last four years. The introduction of a risk management tool was necessary to aid the embedding of risk management culture across the organisation. Previously, risk management had been a task that would be handed out to managers to comment on every quarter. This information would then be collated, and the completion box would be ticked until next quarter. With the use of JCAD CORE, all users of the system within the organisation have access to the risk register and have clear visibility of the risks that are affecting them and all other areas of Sovereign to avoid just looking at their risks in isolation. They have a greater level of interest and responsibility for risk management too and it is now completed and updated more regularly which has improved the accuracy of the information in the system significantly.
Sovereign’s Audit & Risk Committee also take a keen interest in the risk culture across the organisation.
The Head of Risk & Compliance, Becky Tucker, comments ‘Our Audit & Risk Committee take a keen interest in how the management of risks are embedded within Sovereign. Having JCAD CORE makes generating up to date reports to take to the committee a quick and easy process to provide the committee with the assurance they need in this area’.
Why Sovereign Housing Association chose JCAD’s CORE risk management software
JCAD CORE was the system of choice for Sovereign Housing Association for several reasons:
- Great support
From initial contact, consultation, implementation and ongoing support, JCAD provides a responsive, personal and friendly service.
- Value for money
JCAD is a cost-effective risk management solution. As a customisable off the shelf solution, JCAD CORE offers great value for money.
JCAD CORE’s simplicity and intuitive design encourages user adoption which is essential for effective risk management.
The ability to customise the software so that familiar terminology was used within the system was essential and encouraged user adoption.
- Real-time reporting
Having accurate data available in a centralised system means that reports can be completed within a couple of clicks using real-time data. Running comparison reports is now simple and Sovereign Housing no longer needs to rely on finding previously collated reports.