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SHR Chair: Empowering tenants will remain at the heart of regulation

George Walker addressed delegates at the Tenants Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland national conference

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The Scottish Housing Regulator’s new chair has used his first conference speech to give a clear message on empowering tenants, ahead of a review of the regulatory framework.

George Walker addressed delegates at the Tenants Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland national conference in St Andrews last week. He said:

“We’re at the earliest stages of the framework review. But I can guarantee you that we will build on our approach to empowering tenants, and we will continue to give tenants a voice.”

Mr Walker explained to delegates that the regulator will be asking stakeholders for views on its future regulatory priorities, starting with a discussion paper early next year. Tenant and resident safety, empowering tenants, and homelessness will be prominent in the Regulator’s conversations. A further discussion theme will be around landlords assuring firstly themselves and their tenants, and then the regulator, that they are meeting regulatory standards and requirements. He encouraged delegates to get involved in these discussions.

Mr Walker took up his post as chair in July. He told delegates that his early priority is to spend time getting to know the social housing sector and meet a wide range of people and organisations. The TPAS conference marked the start of his conversations with tenants. He said:

“Tenants and service users are at the heart of our work. So it’s fitting that my first formal outing is to address a national tenant event.”

Mr Walker spoke about the social housing sector’s hard-earned good reputation and shared his early impressions. He told delegates that, in his first few months as chair, he has been struck already by the commitment and drive to see social housing as a thriving, successful sector that provides good quality homes and services. He also highlighted the important role the regulator plays in achieving that.