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Improvements to Housing Service performance remain top priority as regulatory body issues judgement

Sheffield city centre skyline on a sunny day

A widespread program of improvement to raise the standards of Sheffield City Council’s Housing Service is continuing at pace.  

In the latest update on our program of work, the Regulator of Social Housing has issued its first Regulatory Judgements to local authorities under new regulatory requirements. Sheffield City Council is one of these local authorities, with the Judgement given to us relating to Consumer Standards for Safety and Quality with our social housing.


What has happened?  

As part of its commitment to housing tenants, the Housing service undertakes the important task of carrying out annual gas safety inspections on around 34,000 homes.

The Council voluntarily referred itself to the regulator on 31 October 2022 over concerns it was not compliant with regulations around annual gas safety checks. 

At that time, there were around 800 homes that officers were unable to access to carry out annual safety checks. This was largely due to the decision to suspend the gas servicing programme during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was taking time to catch up with the backlog of cases.

Following this referral, in January 2023 the regulator served the Council’s Housing Service with a Regulatory Notice regarding what was then known as the Home Standard in relation to the above gas safety regulation issues. 

The Council’s initial self-referral to the regulatory body in 2022 demonstrated our commitment to proactively work with them to improve compliance for gas safety inspections and servicing. That work to improve began immediately, and since the Regulatory Notice was issued in January 2023, the Housing service now has only one outstanding case from the original 800. 

Sheffield City Council’s Housing Service has continued to work closely with the regulator and changed its approach to gas safety inspections, including changes to the tenancy conditions and additional resources allocated to address the issue. This has led to measurable improvements in performance on annual gas safety checks. 

In April this year (2024) a new national Consumer Standard came into force.

Engagement with the Regulator of Social Housing has continued since then, and today they have issued a ‘C3’ Regulatory Judgement to the Council and some other local authorities in relation to these new Safety and Quality Standards. This reflects the fact we have not been meeting the required standard in terms of timescales for repairs jobs to be completed on our homes and the data we hold relating to our properties.


How we’re fixing this for tenants 

Sheffield City Council is one of the 10 largest Local Authority landlords in the country, with 38,500 homes still directly owned and managed by the Council. It carries out 210,000 repairs annually on these homes. However, the Housing Service knows it has too many outstanding repairs and needs to improve the accuracy of the data held on those homes. This has contributed to the issuing of the Regulatory Judgement.

Work that was already under way which will further address the concerns of the regulator includes:

  • Making a significant further improvement in the number of open repair jobs against our homes. Between January and April this year, the number of overdue repair requests decreased from 14,000 to 10,000. This improvement was acknowledged by the Regulator. There is still work to do, and the Council’s repairs teams will be pushing hard to drive this number down even further
  • Announcing a full Stock Condition Survey to be rolled out that will see the Council initially surveying 15,000 of its homes and then 20% of its social housing stock each year. This will see the Service increasing its refresh rate of that information to improve what is an existing rolling program
  • Approving a new Neighbourhood Management Policy which was developed in consultation with residents and designed to give greater transparency and clarity to Housing services
  • Implementing a new Damp and Mould Policy that will engage a flexible and sustainable supply chain to help the Council comply with numerous areas of legislation, keep our residents safe, maintain service delivery and future proof our estate

A further meeting will take place in the next few months with the Regulator where next steps will be discussed. The Regulatory Judgement will be reviewed on a continual basis as we work alongside the regulator.

Cllr Douglas Johnson, Chair of Sheffield City Council’s Housing Committee, said:

“We appreciate that news of the Regulatory Judgement being issued to the Council, among other local authorities, by a national body could be concerning for our tenants.

“We acknowledge that standards in our Housing Service in relation to gas safety and the number of outstanding repairs to be carried out on our properties have not been sufficient.

“For some time, we have been working with the Regulator of Social Housing to correct these issues. We have implemented new policies and introduced new ways of working that have seen a rise in those standards of service for our tenants. Our housing is an important public service that we want to be proud of.

“We believe these improvements can start to rebuild the trust in the Council that is so important; the Housing Service will continue to work in partnership with the regulator to get this Judgement improved when our performance is next reviewed.

“We want our tenants to have the best possible standard of social housing, and despite ongoing national challenges in budgets and increased demand, this remains our goal. We will continue to invest in tenants’ homes and create neighbourhoods people are proud to call home. We will continue to make improvements to the service as we move forwards.”