Committee Seeks Assurances on Future of Helm Housing Association

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 16 January 2012

Reference: SD 10/11/12

The Social Development Committee today expressed serious concerns about the findings contained in the Department for Social Development’s investigation into Helm Housing Association.

Responding to the Minister’s statement on the report, which was made in the Assembly today, the Committee Chairperson Alex Maskey MLA said: “The Committee is astounded by the extent of non-compliance with procedures across almost all business areas in Helm Housing Association. This report signals very clearly that any abuse of public funds is not acceptable. We also welcome the Minister’s statement which we believe sets out clearly the steps that need to be taken to address the wide-ranging and serious concerns identified in this inspection report.

“The Committee has already been assured by the Department that the governance issues at Helm will be addressed and that these issues are not endemic in other Housing Associations. We are confident that the Department intend to put mechanisms in place to ensure that more regular and improved inspections will mean that there will be greater scrutiny by them.

 “We will however, consider this particular report in detail and engage with the Department to ensure that the proposed way forward is realistic and achievable. We will also monitor all housing associations responses and the department inspection regime to ensure compliance with established governance arrangements.

Our consideration of the report will be rigorous and we will do everything to ensure that all housing associations retain a robust governance structure, where the welfare of housing tenants remains an absolute priority. 

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