My second question at yesterdays (20th July) MD meeting, “Can the council clarify the list of the Approved Housing Bodies in the district that are or have been in engagement with the regulator since 2019, including a list of the type
of issues being addressed and the council’s role in the engagement, and whether it is aware of the of the closed process by which board members are selected and appointed to their boards?
Here is the report issued by: Mr O Brady, Administrative Officer, Housing Department: The Regulation Office in the Housing Agency was established as the interim regulator for the AHB sector in 2014. Subsequently, The Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) was established in February 2021 to provide regulation of the sector.
Engagement between the AHBs and the regulator is a matter between these parties and Kildare County Council has no role in this function. It is not possible to provide a list of this engagement or the issues addressed as this is a matter between the AHBs and the Regulator. It is the view of the Housing Agency that the Regulatory Assessment Reports submitted to the Regulator are confidential and not for circulation.
The role of the local authority is to provide support for funding applications by the AHB and I refer to circular 15/2016 which advises “only those AHBs who have signed up to the Voluntary Regulation Code by 1 June 2016 will be eligible for funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government under Capital Assistance Scheme, Communal Facilities, Capital Advance Leasing Facility and New P&A Agreements with AHB. From 1 January 2017, in addition to the requirement to have signed up to the Code, only those AHBs that are able to demonstrate commitment to and engagement with both the VRC and the Financial Standard and Assessment Framework, having undergone a satisfactory assessment as part of the annual assessment process by the Regulation Office will be considered eligible for funding under the above schemes.”
Circular 08/2022 revoked circular 15/2016 and states that “AHBs must have received a satisfactory outcome in their most recent assessment under the Voluntary Regulation Code (VRC) to be considered eligible for new funding. AHBs should provide evidence of this in support of their application for new funding” The local authority does not engage with the AHB regarding their status or recommendations of the Regulatory Office and the role of the local authority is to support when appropriate only those AHB’s with a satisfactory assessment for new funding.
Under the Capital Loan and Subsidy scheme there is a Management and Maintenance Subsidy payable to the AHB on submission of a satisfactory annual compliance submission to the local authority. The subsidy is not considered to be new funding and ensures that properties are maintained to a suitable standard. In addition, the renewal of a lease under an Payment and Availability Agreement is not new funding but ensures the continued provision of housing support for an existing tenant.
With reference to the appointment of board members for an AHB, the local authority has no statutory or other involvement in this process.