JAN O’SULLIVAN, MINISTER for Housing and Planning, today launched a draft voluntary code for the regulation of approved housing bodies.
The draft code, which can be found on the department’s website, is available for public consultation until 21 September, and will be formally launched thereafter.
Today the Minister recognised the work done by approved housing bodies over the last twenty years or so.
“The government’s Housing Policy, published a year ago, recognises the central role that the voluntary and co-operative sector will play in the coming years,” she said.
“The funding environment for the sector has changed dramatically in recent years and if the sector is to attract the necessary public and private investment we must have a strong regulatory regime in place to provide independent validation of the sector’s performance.”
Key features of the code include:
- Proportionality: It is proposed that depending on the size, scale and development plans of the individual Approved Housing Body, more regulation may apply.
- Accountability: The draft code says bodies should be accountable for the services they provide, both to their tenants and to funders.
- Transparency: The sign up process for the voluntary code should be clear and consistent, according to the draft. For bodies with good corporate governance already in place, it said the code should not require substantial additional work.
O’Sullivan said the draft code is a first step towards a statutory regulatory framework that will protect the significant State investment in the sector over the last two decades. She added that it will also provide assistance to those working in the sector to meet the challenges ahead.
Several hundred approved housing bodies are operating in the sector and they vary greatly in scale and ambition, from small bodies with a handful of housing units run entirely by volunteers to large bodies with several thousand units and dozens of full time staff.
The draft code outlines minimum regulatory standards that will apply to all and additional standards and requirements that apply to larger bodies.
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