NHF’s new Code of Governance: an opportunity to raise our standards

Last week the NHF published a new Code of Governance, the first of five years. We welcome the refreshed guidance for housing providers to determine their own governance from this code; and it reflects the changing external context and current thinking within the sector. The NHF has called on all providers to adopt the code by 31 March 2021 with a statement of compliance to be included within 2021-22 annual reports. This is also a real opportunity for boards across the sector to ensure their governance arrangements flourish.

The new 2020 code is more concise. Previously based around nine principles, the four key principles have clearer emphasis on: organisational culture; putting in place a framework for ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion within all housing associations; environmental sustainability; and accountability of boards to tenants, following the release of the NHF’s Together with Tenants charter last summer.

Altair’s governance specialists are pleased that much of our feedback from the initial consultation is included, and that there is also specific guidance for smaller housing associations to ensure the code is easily applicable to all. The focus now needs to be on organisations to truly engage with the code and apply it in practice.

There is a great opportunity for boards to fully immerse themselves in the principles and guidance set out. More than ensuring compliance as a requirement, but thinking together what the new code means to them, what they can do to make it real, and how to best apply the principles in practice. By reflecting on the code, particularly the new areas more in keeping with governance of today, boards should challenge themselves. Through assessing how to make the most of their strengths, as well as where to improve, they will enhance their own alignment and self-awareness, which will provide real benefit to their organisations.

Boards should use the new code as a tool to collaborate, re-assess, and be smart about implementation in order to learn more about themselves and continually raise their standards” Cathy Beazley, Service Delivery Director and Governance lead at Altair.

Click here to view our press release on our new digital governance tool: Digi-ScoreBoard, supporting boards to make good governance straightforward.

New Code of Governance

Click here to download the NHF’s Compliance Checklist and Additional Guidance.

Click here to view Altair’s initial response to the draft code.

Click here to view Altair’s final response to the second draft code.

Written by Director, Cathy Beazley and Consultant Tina Sokhal, Altair.