Written evidence submitted by Look Ahead [RSH 087]



About Look Ahead

Look Ahead is a specialist supported housing association and provider of tailor-made care, support, and accommodation services. We have nearly 50 years of experience in delivering mental health, learning disabilities, homelessness, and young people services. Our 110 services across London and the South East are commissioned by local authorities and NHS trusts, and we support the most vulnerable people in our communities.


Our delivery model is mainly accommodation based, Care and Support, although we also deliver some General Needs (unsupported) and Temporary Housing. We provide our services in our owned properties, in housing owned by local authorities and also properties owned by many of the large housing associations including L&Q, Peabody, Clarion and Notting Hill Genesis Housing.  We own around 1300 properties ourselves, manage around 1200 properties on behalf of other landlords (where we deliver support services) and operate support-only services in a further 1800 properties which are owned and also managed by other landlords.


Look Ahead’s experience in delivering services in our own and other landlord properties gives us an excellent insight into the proposed regulatory framework and in particular how this will relate specifically to supported housing. 


Whilst we recognise and support the need for regulatory changes to social housing broadly, we regard it as crucial that the key issues which are distinct for supported housing are not lost within the feedback from mainstream providers.


Executive Summary




Answers to the Committee’s questions


How widespread and serious are the concerns about the quality of social housing?








What is the impact on social housing providers’ resources, and therefore their ability to maintain and improve their housing stock, of the need to remediate building safety risks and retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient?


On the other end of the scale some of the smaller landlords (under 1000 homes) that are bidding for council run services to run supported housing from are not regulated.


Is the current regime for regulating social housing fit for purpose?





How clearly defined are the roles of the Regulator of Social Housing and the Housing Ombudsman?



Does the current regime allow tenants to effectively resolve issues?

Do the regulator and ombudsman have sufficient powers to take action against providers?


Will the reforms proposed in the social housing White Paper improve the regime and what progress has been made on implementing those reforms?

What changes, if any, should the Government make to the Decent Homes Standard?




Should the Decent Homes Standard be amended to include energy efficiency and other means of mitigating climate change, and if so, how?

Without significant additional revenue/grant for this purpose, it would be a major challenge for the sector to meet additional requirements as lots of supported housing stock is in street properties and old buildings and expensive to upgrade to high environmental standards.


Should all providers of social housing, not just councils, be required to register with the regulator?

What challenges does the diversification of social housing providers pose for the regulatory system?




December 2021