The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has upgraded the governance rating of Severn Vale Housing Society, ahead of completing a merger to become part of a strengthened organisation.
The regulator published a report today moving Severn Vale, which manages around 3,650 properties in the Tewkesbury area, from a G2 to a G1 rating – the highest possible governance grading under the present structure. In a regulatory judgement, the RSH said Severn Vale had been upgraded following “reactive engagement” and that it had “improved specific aspects of its governance arrangements to ensure it has an effective governance framework”.
The news comes two weeks ahead of a planned merger between Severn Vale and Bromford in early January 2019, paving the way for a new 44,000-home organisation with ambitions to invest £1.5bn in 14,000 new homes across central England and the South West over the next decade.
The report said: “SVHS has improved the quality of its stress testing, along with performance reporting to the board. SVHS has also strengthened its board by carrying out a skills-based recruitment exercise, following an independent effectiveness review.
“These improvements have provided us with assurance that the risks facing the business are being managed. All material actions are now complete and SVHS’s governance arrangements are fit for purpose.”
Tim Knight, Severn Vale chief executive, added: “We are absolutely delighted that RSH has recognised the improved governance capability within Severn Vale, a key part of which was to appoint a Board based on skillsets we required to run our business as opposed to outdated criteria that required applicants to be representative of specific categories of stakeholders. This has resulted in a Board able to support our vision to become the leading housing provider in Gloucestershire, something we all recognised would be impossible to achieve as a small independent housing association and an objective which is now being realised through our merger with Bromford.
“With all the new build that is currently identified for Gloucestershire in the various local strategic plans, this is an important time for social housing in our area and our partnership with Bromford will enable us to take a major stake in this which is excellent news for our customers, staff, and the wider economy of Gloucestershire.”