Thursday, July 05, 2007

Maintaining trust: PIs, partnering and housing associations

According to the BBC, the Housing Corporation has launched an investigation after 5 Live Report alleged that it had uncovered evidence that a leading housing maintenance firm had falsified performance figures.

The case does raise some questions on how housing associations can be sure that performance information is reliable. I would certainly suggest that associations:

  1. Periodically commission external validation of performance indicator systems whatever the future of social housing regulation is. (I declare an interest - I do PI system validation.)
  2. Ensure that their audit committees (and, hence, their internal auditors) do consider the robustness of PI information - including PI collected by contractors and used to monitor partners

The alleged problems do make the case for associations (and other not-for-profits) creating a culture that stresses ethics both in within the organisation and in what is sometimes called the "extended enterprises" - not least suppliers and partners. Whistleblowing policies are a key part of this.

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