Client Briefing – Spring

We’re pleased to share our latest Client Briefing which we prepare on a quarterly basis.

Firstly, in response to input from you, we’ve revamped the way we circulate our briefings, ensuring that they’re delivered in a way that best suits your preferences. As well as having them directly emailed to you, we will include a link on our email footer and also display on our website. Thank you to those who provided us with this valuable feedback.

Our aim is to ensure that our updates reach every relevant individual within your organisation, allowing us to share more social housing sector knowledge. To add a colleague to our mailing list, please visit our the home page and sign them up via the link at the bottom of the page.

If you haven’t already done so, please do have a look at the rest of our new website. It’s packed with valuable insights that we believe will be beneficial to you and your team.

Additionally, we value your input in shaping the content of our briefings, webinars and general social media activity. If you have any ideas or suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered in the future, please share them with us. Your input drives our efforts to provide you with the most relevant and valuable information. Send your ideas to

Finally, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to continuing to work with you and your team. We hope you enjoy the briefing.

Sector Updates

Social Housing External Environment and General Outlook

Some of the challenges experienced in relation to high inflation are starting to soften gradually, however, costs remain high in relation to materials and labour for repairs, maintenance and new development.

This continues to put pressure on business plans which can lead to exposure in relation to new developments and their financial appraisal.  Some very significant developing providers have re-shaped their ambitions to place business resilience and investment in existing stock, above growth in properties.

The new Consumer Standards from the Regulator of Social Housing place a high focus on maintaining existing housing assets, which requires providers to balance their strategic use of resources accordingly.

In addition, there are significant challenges in managing and maintaining existing stock, with the increased expectations and regulation around damp and mould, the implications of Awaab’s Law and the new building safety regime. 

All important matters, but on top of the inflationary impact, these are additional pressures on already squeezed operating margins. 

Homeowners and tenants continue to struggle with cost-of-living pressures and with day-to-day heating bills and food costs – although both appear to be easing at the moment – but it difficult to see how this is positively impacting on household circumstances. 

A major consideration and concern at this time are the requirements regarding net-zero and to what extent these must be included in future projections and if so at what level.  Recent government (and opposition) messaging on this topic and an associated lack of clarity has confused the picture somewhat.

Investment in New Supply of Housing

Client feedback indicates that demand remains very high. Waiting lists for accommodation are at an all-time high with some Local Authorities in England having recently closed their waiting lists due to financial pressures, which is likely to result in demand moving to other geographical areas – potentially creating additional issues for providers to address.

Financing conditions appear to be opening up gradually as rates reduce, which indicates that in the short to medium term, the financing side of the equation appears brighter than it has been for a while. 

Liquidity and Solvency Conditions for the Social Housing Sector

While definitely on the “watch list”, as operating margins have dropped, there does not seem to be a great deal of evidence that solvency or liquidity has been a particular concern.  Our analysis indicates that our clients have ‘cut their cloth’ to match the conditions, something that the sector has become used to in recent years, due to the many challenges faced.  We have seen some clients deferring costs to secure short term liquidity and only now are looking (more positively) at what options there may be for new funding – either to replace existing loans or to provide options for future investment. It is clear that this position of deferral cannot continue indefinitely and, as such, providers have to move forward with financing or seek other options.

Merger Appetite and Position

We are seeing a general increase in discussions about merger, with most clients having a clearly articulated appetite and position in respect of merger activity.

Some of these discussions have not moved all the way to a merger and there are many reasons for preventing this from happening, the most common being a lack of a good business alignment, cultural or values fit, or the lack of a sufficiently compelling financial business case. We are seeing executive teams being increasingly concerned about business resilience and the impact this has on growth and positive investment.

Boards need to be equally aware of the potential pressures and risks on their business and the general pressures on the sector when making decisions around merger appetite and position.

We expect there to be continued interest in merger and partnership working more generally, in response to the pressures arising from the matters we describe in this briefing. There is a risk that this could lead to more ‘distressed mergers’ taking place, as we have recently seen and advise clients to ensure they have robust and clear mitigation and recovery plans as part of their routine risk management processes, and ensure their Boards are well sighted in this respect and able to articulate these.

In relation to merger appetite and the development (or updating) of a position on these matters, we have developed structured workshops for officers and boards to dispassionately explore the organisation’s position.  Through discussion, we have been able to develop position statements which set out a base position in relation to merger, including how the board and officers would respond to opportunities and also what sort of boundaries and criteria might feature in an assessment of these.  DTP has significant experience in supporting providers with merger activity and associated processes, including due diligence (financial, property and cultural). Please contact if you would like to explore some advice or support in this area.

Treasury and Business Planning (including retainers)

DTP continues to support clients in raising new funding and renegotiating existing borrowing facilities to ensure they remain cost effective and continue to meet the client’s needs.  Recent months have seen an increase in funding work as the improving outlook for interest rates and inflation has prompted many providers to commence the process of arranging new borrowing to finance development and investment plans.

The funding market continues to evolve, with the extension of the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme at the start of the year being a particularly welcome development.  The scheme will now fund eligible investment/stock improvement spend as well as the cost of developing new affordable housing.  It is hoped the extension of scope will open up this source of low cost, fixed rate debt to a wider range of potential borrowers including many of DTP’s clients who, under the previous scope, may not have had sufficient eligible expenditure to qualify for the scheme.  Another exciting development is the stirring of activity in the capital markets after a very quiet two years.  If pricing continues to improve, capital markets funding will return to being the viable source of funding which many of our clients will benefit from.

In relation to long term financial planning in the Housing Brixx software, we offer a wide range of services as well as being a support to clients when needed for any issues that arise including:

  • Hosting and running models for smaller providers
  • Reviewing plans for larger providers
  • Modelling and advising on stress testing of business plans
  • Training on how to use the model and report writing
  • Writing bespoke reports

We deliver these services through ‘retainer’ arrangements, where we agree with clients a flexible support package, as well as one off contracts. Our approach is flexible, matching client needs rather than being prescriptive in what we  are able to deliver.

In terms of the general outlook for providers, we can provide expert advice and support on business planning assumptions, including how the sector is responding to the various challenges we have set out above.  We can provide facilitated workshop sessions for officers and board members to explore the complex world of stress testing and mitigations, helping our clients to build robust Resilience Plans, which can be reviewed and updated as part of a structured approach to maintaining a forward plan to actively manage dynamic change. If you would like any advice or support in this area, please contact

Changing Regulatory Environment

Regulator of Social Housing’s Consumer Standards and Inspection

We know that providers across the sector in England are busy reviewing and collating assurance relating to the new Consumer Standards and the updated approach to regulatory engagement which came into effect from 1 April 2024.

We are supporting various clients in this area, working collaboratively with key staff across the business to:

  • Review and constructively challenging self-assessments to ensure they evidence how the standards are being met in full
  • Ensure there are robust mechanisms for the customer voice to be heard throughout the governance structure and to influence decision making
  • Ensure customers are involved in the shaping of service standards and service delivery as well as in monitoring, reviewing and challenging the resulting service outcomes

In addition, we are supporting a number of clients who are involved in the quarter one inspection programme, offering a range of different forms of support which test assurance, provide guidance and objectively review and add value to internal preparations.  Our critical challenge, external oversight, coupled with some supportive reassurance has been well received!

This is no doubt a new (and very interesting) time for the sector, and we sense a genuine focus on ensuring there is systemic and embedded change in the delivery of services. This also requires an associated change in governance. We have been supporting and advising on matters such as governance structures, board and committee composition, work planning and report writing to ensure Boards actively hear and respond to the views being expressed. Furthermore, given the new proactive approach to consumer regulation, we are advising on ways to provide alignment between the requirements of the economic and consumer standards.

If you would like to discuss any support requirements you have in this area, please contact Angela Lomax on

The Scottish Housing Regulator’s (SHR) new Regulatory Framework

The new Regulatory Framework in Scotland became applicable on 1 April 2024.  Much of the existing framework has been retained however some key differences include:

  • Annual Assurance Statement: SHR has introduced a new provision allowing it to seek assurance on a specific issue in an RSL’s Annual Assurance Statement (AAS). They have confirmed that they will communicate any specific requirement to RSLs in advance of submitting the AAS. The statutory guidance has been updated accordingly.
  • Regulatory requirements: SHR has amended relevant parts of the Regulatory Framework to reinforce the requirement to listen to tenants and service users, ensuring that RSLs have appropriate means for tenants and service users to provide feedback and that quick and effective responses are issued. 
  • Notifiable Events: SHR has clarified that only the most serious events are notifiable and they have updated the guidance on Notifiable Events accordingly. They have restated the importance of RSLs being able to discuss notifiable events with their regulation manager. This is significant, as whether an incident constitutes a notifiable event can be difficult to determine, and an informal discussion with your regulation manager can provide requisite clarity on how SHR would view the matter at hand. A further change in relation to notifiable events includes the SHR publishing an annual report on the type of notifiable events they receive and what they do with them – this will add context and further clarity to the notifiable events process and will give more context to housing associations when submitting notifications to SHR.
  • Regulatory status: the SHR has decided to retain the current 3: compliant, working towards compliance and statutory action. They have, however, amended the wording in the second regulatory status to make clearer that this is a non-compliant status, as it is under the current Regulatory Framework.
  • Significant Performance Failures: SHR has amended the Regulatory Framework to provide greater clarity on when and what constitutes “significant performance failures” that tenants may report directly to SHR.
  • Regulatory Decisions: the SHR has merged their guidance on how to request a review of a regulatory decision and how to request an appeal of a regulatory decision.
  • Annual Return on the Charter (ARC): SHR has proposed a comprehensive review of the ARC. They intend to establish a working group of experts and individuals from the sector to consider each indicator in the ARC and develop appropriate indicators for tenant safety, e.g. in relation to damp and mould and indicators for the Social Housing Net Zero Standard.
  • Statutory Guidance: SHR has made various updates to other statutory guidance, primarily to reflect changes in legislation and SHR’s experiences in terms of regulation since the current framework was published in 2019.

Overall, as SHR has said, the new Regulatory Framework is not significantly different than the existing one, but the amendments to guidance and language seek to provide greater clarity for RSLs in certain areas.

If you require any further advice or support in this area, please contact Andy Roskell, Managing Director for DTP via

General Emerging Issues

We review clients’ business plans and risk registers regularly and test business planning assumptions to assess how conventional they are compared to the advice that we issue regularly to clients who use our financial services.  On the whole, we see mostly conventional assumptions being used, however, occasionally we see some that are more concerning. One of these areas has been in relation to future rent increases and rental income.

Most providers, take a cautious and prudent approach to assumptions in relation to rental income (for example in England, limiting future rent increases post 25/26 to CPI only rather than CPI plus 1%). We have however recently seen some assumptions from providers in England which are not prudent (for example CPI plus 1% over the life of the plan) often to support growth assumptions (new homes) elsewhere in the plan.  Clearly, there are options to take regarding future projections for these measures, which remain unknown until we have a longer-term rent settlement, but the most concerning business plans are those where there are no growth assumptions which could be removed as a mitigating action.  The recent clarification by the Government and Regulator of Social Housing on 2025 uplifts clearly brings a degree of certainty which will be welcomed.

As well as the other sector pressures mentioned above, we are seeing providers making provision for the potential of increased costs to meet the requirements of the proposed Competence and Conduct Regulatory Standard in relation to training, development, course and qualification costs and the time for staff time to acquire these.

The financial pressures that many Local Authorities are finding themselves in also remains a challenge for the wider sector as many providers are considering how the budget cuts and cost saving measures could impact on the communities they serve and indeed on the expectations of providers themselves.

DTP News

New Appointments

We are delighted to announce the recruitment of three new senior consultants to our team as part of our growth and succession plans:

  • Marcus Evans joins DTP from The Sovini Group, where he has served as Director of Governance and Compliance for over a decade. Marcus will start on 3 June 2024.
  • Mags Pearson joins DTP from Accent Group, where she has held the position of Head of Regulation and Assurance for more than 12 years. Mags will start with DTP on 17 June 2024.
  • Kate Roberts joins DTP from Yorkshire Housing, where she has served as Head of Treasury. Kate will start on 8 July 2024.

All three appointees also hold non-executive roles, further enhancing our team’s diversity and expertise.

These appointments significantly strengthen our capacity within our finance and governance teams, which will further support our provision of  high quality advice and support to you. We believe that Marcus, Mags and Kate will provide invaluable experience and expertise to both our clients and the wider DTP team, and we look forward to welcoming them.

Paul Hillard Retires

We also say farewell to Director Paul Hillard who will be retiring at the end of May. Paul’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth of our support for the social housing sector in Scotland. We remain committed to expanding our work in Scotland which will now be led by Andy Roskell, DTP’s Managing Director.  

We wish Paul all the best in his well-deserved retirement and express our sincere appreciation for his significant contributions to DTP and the social housing sector as a whole.


We have two webinars planned in the forthcoming quarter:

1.Exceptions to the Rent Standard – Temporary Social Housing – 16 May 2024

This joint webinar with Devonshires, featuring DTP’s Director Sarah Jackson, will look at Temporary Social Housing and the regulatory challenges including:

  • Common issues
  • TSH exception from the Rent Standard
  • TSH criteria in relation to the Rent Standard
  • Setting TSH rents and service charges
  • Redevelopment/regeneration – can you reclassify existing social housing as TSH?
  • What assurance Board’s need

Sign up here:

2. DTP Briefing: The Rent Standard and Regulatory Compliance – A Guide for Social Housing Boards – 14 June 2024

Following the success of running this session earlier in the year, we are again providing this useful training aimed at board members, executives and anyone supporting governance activity in this area.

In this briefing, DTP Director Sarah Jackson will provide critical insights and practical guidance to ensure that board members are equipped to understand the key requirements around the Rent Standard and the forms of assurance they should seek.

Why join? In the changing landscape of social housing, board members of Registered Providers must navigate complex regulatory and legislative requirements, especially concerning rent setting and compliance with the Rent Standard.

Date & Time: Friday 14th June 10:00 – 11:45, including a 30-minute Q&A session.

Fee: £75.00

Target Audience: Social Housing Board Members & Executives

Register Now: The event is limited to 12 spaces – sign up here:

We are also able to provide this training as a dedicated session for Boards. Please get in touch with Sarah Jackson directly to arrange this, or for any other support in relation to compliance with the Rent Standard


Keep an eye on our social media channels for our latest DTP podcasts:

  • Diane Carney talking about the Consumer Standards a month after their launch
  • Angela Lomax talking about the new regulatory inspection process and how providers can prepare

All of our podcasts are available on our YouTube channel here DTP – YouTube

DTP Views and Social Media Activity

We regularly post a variety of DTP views and updates via our social media activity. If you’ve not already had chance to review these, please follow the links below:

DTP Views – Successful mergers through effective focus on people and process. Andy Roskell writing about why the key to a successful social housing merger is keeping focussed on both people and process.

DTP ‘Top Tips for Rent Setting’ In this LinkedIn post, Sarah Jackson, Director and lead on rent setting and Rent Standard compliance, provides some tips for effective social housing rent setting and the range of support DTP can provide to clients in helping them assurance in relation to compliance with the Rent Standard.

You can also ‘follow us’ on LinkedIn by using this link DTP LinkedIn

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our most recent briefing, feedback as always is greatly appreciated – please contact if you have any feedback that you’d like to share.