The Supported Housing Act 2023 and Its Implications for Housing Providers

Supported housing visualisation

The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act is an ambitious move on the part of the government to drastically overhaul the supported housing system for vulnerable people. The idea is to improve minimum standards and ensure better transparency, accountability, and quality within the sector. This also means allocating resources to identify those who are preying on people and manipulating the system for financial benefit.

Of course, such an overhaul is always going to have wide-ranging implications for housing providers, who must adapt their operations to fit within this new framework. The act is still in its early days (as of September 2023), having only come into law last month, and many within the industry are still waiting for things to settle down before acting.

However, there are still preparations housing providers can take to ensure they are not left with a mountain to climb once actions start being taken in earnest. First, let’s look at what this bill will mean, in real-world terms, for housing providers.

Key changes and their impact on housing providers

The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act, first proposed by Bob Blackman MP, seeks to address issues in exempt accommodation and allow authorities to handle problematic exempt accommodation without impacting high-quality supported housing providers. In real terms, the act will be introducing new systems for local authority licensing, higher support standards and increasing the obligations (and powers) of local authorities.

In the coming weeks, the government plans to release an official consultation regarding the in-depth execution of the new system. The initial consultation phase will assess the Act’s new clauses and a DWP examination of the ‘Care, Support and Supervision’ definition. A subsequent public consultation is slated for 2024, encompassing the preliminary regulations formulated by DLUHC and DWP. We’d advise all housing providers to keep one eye on the news for further updates as we are only at the start of a potentially long journey here.

How housing providers can navigate these new regulations

Embrace Technology: Implementing robust supported living software can help in efficient data collection, monitoring, and reporting, thus ensuring compliance with the new regulatory requirements.

Stakeholder Engagement: Housing providers should actively engage with their stakeholders, especially tenants, to understand their needs and concerns better. This could be through regular town hall meetings, feedback forms, or virtual platforms.

Continuous Training: Given the regulatory changes, it’s crucial for staff at all levels to be trained and updated about the Act’s requirements. Regular workshops and training sessions can help in this regard.

Collaborative Approach: Housing providers might consider forming alliances or groups to share resources, knowledge, and best practices. This collaborative approach can help in navigating the complexities of the new Act.

A comparative look at regulations from other countries

Countries around the globe have adopted diverse regulatory mechanisms for their supported housing sectors.

Germany: In Germany, there is a strong emphasis on decentralisation, with municipalities playing a significant role in supported housing regulation. This ensures that regulations are tailored to the unique needs of each region.

Canada: Canada’s model focuses on combining federal funding with provincial regulatory oversight. The shared responsibility ensures adequate funding while allowing provinces to determine the specifics of regulations based on their unique contexts.

Australia: Australia’s National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) has a tiered approach, categorising providers based on size and complexity and tailoring regulatory oversight accordingly. This ensures that regulations are neither too onerous for smaller providers nor too lax for larger ones.

The ECCO solution

The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023 marks a significant step towards ensuring quality and accountability in the UK’s supported housing sector. While the path ahead might seem challenging for housing providers, with the right strategies, technology, and collaboration, they can not only ensure compliance but also enhance the quality of services provided to the residents.

As the government strives to iron out the kinks in the UK’s supporting housing system, providers need to start doing everything they can to ensure compliance and meet the rising tide of expectation. Embracing digital planning is a great start as it can lead to more efficient and effective housing association services.

ECCO has built a digital management software package designed specifically for this use case. Contact us today and our team will get you sorted with a free ECCO demo and explore exactly what the software has to offer.

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