Better social housing review

In June 2022, The Better Social Housing Review was set up by the National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing to investigate issues relating to the quality of social housing.

An independent panel was put in place and in December 2022, they reported its findings and recommendations for changes that should be implemented by each registered social landlord.

This report assesses Westward’s compliance against the recommendations and where necessary, provides the actions to ensure that we are working towards being compliant.


Better Social Housing ASSURANCE TABLE


Green: we anticipate that we would be compliant (with assurance provided), although acknowledge that some areas could be strengthened

Amber: we anticipate that we would be non-compliant (with explanation or action provided)

White: government action/not directly applicable to landlords

Better social housing review


What the review is proposing



Westward assurance for compliance

Action required to ensure compliance

Lead person





Every housing association, and the sector as a whole, should refocus on their core purpose and deliver against it.


  • Westward is proactive at broadcasting it’s core values to colleagues within the organisation and to it’s customers.
  • The organisation sets KPI’s that are appropriate in helping us to meet our core purpose.
  • Generally, Westward performs positively against it’s KPI targets and these are monitored closely by the leadership team, Executive Team and Board on a Quarterly basis.
  • Westward is collecting data from the recently introduced TSM questions.
  • The leadership team will continue to monitor performance against these KPI’s and be flexible enough to make changes to the services that are being provided should performance stop being as positive.
  • The Customer Insight & Engagement manager will monitor the feedback provided through the TSM questions and integrate this into the relevant service areas.

Leadership Team & Customer Insight & Engagement Manager


Housing associations should work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of all social housing in England.


  • Westward is aware of its responsibilities around data and has worked proactively in recent years to improve the data that we have available regarding our stock.
  • It is not yet known how the wider sector will come together to collate the data that is held by each individual Housing association, however Westward will be responsive to any partnership working that is required in order to produce this audit.
  • The Better Social Housing review makes a specific recommendation that there is a sector wide adoption of the HACT data standards. Westward has previously contemplated using the HACT standard but it was deemed as incompatible with the current layout of the data we hold.
  • Westward is accredited for its data management through the Data Maturity Assessment standard.
  • Complete the Customer Insight & Sentiment project to further improve the organisations knowledge of our customer base.
  • The Assistant Director for Transformation will reconsider the HACT standard and where necessary, provide a detailed explanation as to why it is not being adopted. 

Customer Insight & Engagement Manager Assistant Director Transformation


Housing associations should partner with tenants, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an outstanding maintenance and repairs process looks like.


  • Westward works closely with it’s engaged customers to understand the needs of our customers better and to seek improvements to our service that matter to them.
  • In the 2022/23 financial year, Westward’s scrutiny group undertook a review of our communication regarding our repairs service and it is understood by the organisation that the repairs service is an important service for our customers.
  • Westward customers and staff are involved in the procurement process for new contractors including within the question design element and this will continue to be an expectation of the procurement process.
  • In the next year, the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures will give important feedback on how our repairs service is performing and we will use this information, alongside feedback from our scrutiny group, our voice and complaints to continue to improve the services we provide.
  • Westward will ensure that customers continue to be included within the procurement process for new contractors.
  • The Customer Insight & Engagement Manager will use the data from the newly introduced Tenancy Satisfaction Measure to assist our property team in shaping Westward’s repairs service.
  • For future repairs procurement consultation will also include views from Westward staff.

Customer Insight & Engagement Manager


The Chartered Institute of Housing should promote the traditional housing officer role as a supported and valued employment opportunity with a Chartered Institute of Housing recognised programme of training

and continuing development.


  • Westward understands the importance of ensuring that as an organisation we are available for our customers and have a presence in their community via Housing Officers.
  • Westward has introduced a ‘scheme management’ system which assists Housing Officers in planning their estates that require visits. The scheme manager helps Housing Officers to understand where they have concerns in communities and ensures that they are engaging with customers.
  • We have also launched a project seeking to improve our use of customer sentiment which will allow us to use feedback data to better target the areas within our stock that need a more targeted resourcing. 
  • The aim of these improvements is to ensure that all external customer facing colleagues have the resource available to undertake the ‘traditional’ sections of their role.
  • Westward also acknowledges the reports recommendation for formal training to be held and will await the CIH’s specification of what this should entail.
  • Continue to develop the scheme manager system and review the progress of the system.
  • The Assistant Director for People & Safety is monitoring announcements in relation to the professionalisation of the sector and will develop a training plan to ensure that the organisation is compliant with the requirements.
  • The organisation will continue to monitor patch sizes to ensure that customer facing staff have the required resources available to meet the needs of customers.

Associate Executive Director of Housing


Assistant Director People and Safety


Housing associations should work with all tenants to ensure that they have a voice and influence at every level of decision making across the organisation,

through both voluntary and paid roles.


  • Westward has embraced the recommendations of the recent Social Housing white paper and works closely with customers through a range of areas to ensure that their voices are heard. This is through activities in our Scrutiny Group, Our Voice and through increased engagement work across the organisation.
  • Dedicated website page for customers to understand how to become engaged and what opportunities there are to influence decision making.
  • Westward has a customer engagement strategy that is in delivery.
  • Customer Engagement updates are reported to ET 6 monthly and Board annually.  


  • Continue to seek to formalise how  we use the feedback given by our customers to shape the services we provide by completing the customer insight & sentiment project.

Customer Insight & Engagement Manager


Housing associations should develop a proactive local community presence through community hubs which foster greater multi-agency working


  • Westward Housing is a member of Placeshapers which is complimented in the report as helping to make communities thrive.
  • One of the organisation’s objectives is to establish places where people want to live and we are committed to not just building good quality homes but also developing the communities where these homes are situated.
  • Westward’s stock is very dispersed, and this does make creating local community hubs challenging. Where we have more densely situated stock, we work closely with other organisations to improve our reach to customers.
  • The organisation acknowledges the need to continually improve the methods it uses to engage with our communities and will continue to deliver the Customer Engagement Strategy.
  • Continue to deliver the Customer Engagement strategy and review this following the upcoming consumer regulation consultation outcome.
  • Work closely with other organisations to undertake multi-agency engagement events.
  • The Customer Insight & Engagement Manager will work alongside the Housing Services Managers (Tenancy) to put in place and Neighbourhoods and Communities plan for the 2023/24 financial year.

Customer Insight & Engagement Manager, Housing Services Manager (Tenancy)


Housing associations should support tenants and frontline staff to undertake an annual review of the progress each organisation is making in implementing

this review’s recommendations.


  • Westward shares requirements on the organisation with it’s Scrutiny group to provide transparency and understanding.
  • Westward will ensure that this assurance table and subsequent actions from the review are published on its website and shared with the Scrutiny group.


Customer Insight & Engagement Manager