Housing CEO WhatsApp summary: January – February 2024

Latest Housing CEO WhatsApp Highlights, January – February 2024

A note to readers

These notes summarise recent discussions on Campbell Tickell’s WhatsApp group for Chief Executives of housing associations and ALMOs across all four UK jurisdictions and the Republic of Ireland. A full summary of discussions from the inception of the group is available on request.

This is a closed group, open only to CEOs in housing associations and ALMOs. It currently has around 250 members.

While discussions are confidential and unattributable, members of the group are keen for the content themes and issues to be shared widely to assist with broader understanding.

Please note:

The following digest highlights matters that have been discussed in the group. None of the content should be treated as representing the collective views of the group as such, or be attributed to any of its members. The group is an information-sharing forum and not a policy-making body.

Download the full summary (pdf)

Key themes

New regulatory standards

1. Members welcomed the increased accountability that is ushered in by stronger regulations and the new consumer standards and discussed how to keep abreast of changes.

2. Campbell Tickell proposed to support an informal group of landlords which are expecting engagement with the regulator under the new IDA inspection regime. Peers were keen to learn from this experience.

Housing Ombudsman and complaints

3. Members observed the complexity of dealing with the Ombudsman, and some expressed concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of some of the Ombudsman’s decisions. This included findings which are partially reliant on incorrect information.

4. Concerns were also expressed about the Housing Ombudsman’s marketing campaign and the impact of this on the rise in lawyers and solicitors ‘ambulance chasing’ complaints.

5. Members of the group welcomed the Housing Ombudsman’s call for a review of social housing and acknowledgement that complaints are just one part of a wider system.

6. Approaches to complaints and policy stipulations were shared, including dealing with vexatious communications, complaint handler roles and providing adequate assurance on complaints at Board level.

Vulnerable tenants

7.Concerns were shared about the rise in mental health needs amongst their general needs tenant population and noted the care and support challenges that result.

8. GDPR concerns were raised about the expectation of providers to maintain data on tenant vulnerabilities. Members shared solutions such as using a vulnerability matrix or a priority services register.

Uk Politics

9. Some concerns were expressed at the government’s new ‘British homes for British workers’ and ‘3-strikes and out’ proposal on ASB and evictions. The plans could see tenants evicted after three warnings and then banned for two years from reapplying for social housing. The proposed reforms also include new UK and local connection eligibility tests. Some suggested that the policy risks being xenophobic and exclusionary.


10. Members shared examples of good practice and experience amongst peers. Topics discussed and shared included governance structures with parent companies and Board member tenure length and implications for compliance with the Governance and Viability Standards.

11. The group continues to be a place for members to share policies. Shared policy learnings included Domestic Abuse policies, electric vehicle charging policies, the use of DLOs, and Damp & Mould policies.

Operating costs

12. There was some welcome for the confirmation of rent increases for 2024. Many expressed that due to high operating costs they had little choice but to put their rents up by the full amount.

13. The group shared solutions for delivering value for money and managing operating costs. This included renewing energy contracts, with members reporting large reductions in prices of up to 70%.

Salary and Remediation

14. Campbell Tickell conducted a poll to establish approaches to annual pay awards. ¾ of those that took part stated that they would be reviewing pay by up to 5%, and nearly all those that took part shared that they would be revising pay for most of their organisation’s roles.

15. Members shared their approaches to salary benchmarking, including the timescales for review, which ranged from before every annual budget to every 3-years, and the factors they consider. Factors included the cost of living, inflation, and growth of the real living wage.

Systems and IT

16.Peers shared which core data systems they use and provided feedback on how well each were suited to their size and service offer.

17.The rising threat of cyber security breaches was discussed, as was the level of mitigations being taken in relation to this.


Download the full summary (pdf)

Join the Housing CEO WhatsApp group

The group is open to all housing CEOs who are not yet members.

To join, please contact james.tickell@campbelltickell.com or greg.campbell@campbelltickell.com

For any media enquiries, please email: zina.smith@campbelltickell.com

Housing CEO WhatsApp summary: January – February 2024

A summary of recent discussions on Campbell Tickell’s WhatsApp group for Chief Executives of housing associations and ALMOs

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