Michael Gove announces new rules for 25,000 managers in affordable housing sector

People will be barred from working as managers in social housing unless they have specific professional qualifications, under a proposed law change announced by Michael Gove.

The government has today tabled an amendment to the Social Housing Regulation Bill, which if passed will give ministers the power to prevent people working in the management of social housing unless they have “appropriate” professional qualifications or satisfy “specified requirements”.

Gove Nov 2021 1

Gove wants a more professionalised social housing management sector

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) says it intends to apply the new rule to around 25,000 managers in the sector.

It said they would be required to have a “housing management qualification regulated by Ofqual equivalent to a Level 4 or 5 Certificate or Diploma in Housing, or a foundation degree from the Chartered Institute of Housing.”

A DLUHC spokesperson confirmed to Housing Today the rules will apply to “senior housing managers” as defined “by the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education’s occupational standards for Senior Housing and Property Management”.

They will also apply to executives who are part of a provider’s senior management team who are solely or jointly responsible for day-to-day management of social housing. The 25,000 figure comes from using ONS data to estimate how many people fall into these categories, a DLUHC spokesperson said.

The proposed amendment also gives the government the power to set up a register of qualified social housing practitioners.

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, welcomed the government’s “support for professionalism in housing.”

He said: “We look forward to working with government, the regulator and with the sector to support organisations and individuals in achieving the qualifications needed under these new requirements.”

Gove said: “The changes we are delivering today will make sure social housing managers across the country have the right skills and experience to deliver an excellent service and drive up standards across the board.”

The new rule is the latest announcement by the government aimed at improving standards in social housing properties following the high-profile death of toddler Awaab Ishak in 2020 due to exposure to black mould in his home, which was managed by housing association Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.

 >>See also: Regulator to start piloting inspections as it gears up for new consumer role

The Social Housing Regulation Bill, which returns to parliament on Wednesday, will give a beefed-up Regulator of Social Housing powers to inspect social landlords as part of a more proactive consumer role.

It will have the power to issue unlimited fines, order emergency repairs and access homes at short notice.