Specialist services

Services for Housing Associations

With the current economic and political environment, combined with the increased scrutiny in the housing sector we ensure that the professional services we provide will help you meet your compliance and governance targets in a number of ways.

Our clients include a broad range of organisations in the housing sector including housing associations, local authorities, local authority owned housing companies and private developers.

Tax Advice

We are aware that complex tax legislation when applied to a diverse range of different housing projects and the collaborative nature of many such projects can present challenges for Housing Associations in managing their tax risk and the level of tax which is paid.

To address this need, we have expanded our SB Tax+ service to offer a specific tax support service for Housing Associations. This tax support service can include:-

  • advice on specific issues such as VAT and Stamp Duty Land Tax on particular projects or transactions which the Housing Association may be a party to.
  • structuring advice in relation to particular projects or transactions;
  • advice on recurring VAT issues (whether this relates to assistance in relation to completion of VAT returns, or help with partial exemption calculations)
  • carrying out reviews of VAT systems and processes to help manage tax risk
  • advice relating to compliance with the Construction Industry Scheme

 

By having a team of tax experts on hand which the Housing Association is able to speak to or correspond with at any time, will allow the Housing Association to budget effectively, minimise the risk of transaction delays, and manage tax risk.

Our SB Tax+ team of advisers are led by Gavin Birchall who is a Tax Lawyer of 20 years standing (with a Masters Degree in Tax Law) and a member of the Stamp Taxes Practitioners Group. Our team also includes a former HMRC Inspector of Taxes and advisers with Chartered Tax advisory qualifications.

Audit and Risk Management Support

Through our work in the social housing sector, we are familiar with the issues which are typically faced by Housing Associations and the support which they need to address these issues. This includes:

Looking at laptop
Looking at laptop

  • IT Infrastructure Resilience – We draw on the expertise of a specialist IT professional with more than 10 years’ experience to undertake highly technical elements of an IT audit, including the robustness of firewall, antivirus, network, software and back-up configurations. We are CIIA IT Audit Certified.
  • Risk Management. We promote good practice risk management and find the right balance to ensure that the framework in place is realistic within the staff resources available and help the Board to understand, set and abide by their determined risk appetites.
  • We have the expertise to facilitate risk identification and review workshops. We also run risk management training sessions for senior managers and board members. We can assist risk owners on a one to one basis to help embed risk management and their understanding of risk management processes.
  • We proactively identifying gaps and new or emerging risks to be considered as part of individual audits and discuss these when attending audit committee meetings.

  • Governance – We have the expertise to complete all types of audits in this area including governance health check reviews and full audits to form a view on the robustness of the governance framework. We can facilitate governor self-assessment exercises and use the NHF’s Code of Governance, direction provided by the Housing Regulator and lessons learned from both inside and outside the Housing Sector.
  • We are clear on what best practice looks like and we proactively share good practice as we identify opportunities to assist.

  • Each audit is designed to challenge efficiency, effectiveness and economy within the audit area, including the level of success in which new software has been implemented as planned. We report on turnaround times compared to prior years and to Sector benchmarking. This includes how strategic level performance is reported and benchmarked, for example through use of the NHF’s Sector Scorecard.
  • We have built up in-depth knowledge and understanding of tenancy management, voids and lettings, including the inherent risks surrounding
  • We are clear on the business-critical nature of ensuring Health and Safety Compliance within housing. We have specialists that have an expertise in fire, water, electric, gas, legionella, asbestos and lift management.  We would propose to audit a selection of these areas each year in depth, with all aspects being reviewed over a three-year period.
  • We are actively engaging with clients to provide support and challenge as they are developing their response to the zero carbon agenda.

We are also experienced in the following areas:

  • Asset Management programme and Decent Homes
  • Business planning
  • Shared Ownership Sales, Reporting and Strategy
  • Rent setting
  • The Development programme
  • Asset and Liabilities registers
Scrutton Bland Office

Get in touch for forward-thinking, impartial advice

Our Risk and Assurance Service is led by Paul Goddard who is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Auditors, of more than 20 years. Our team provides a rich mix of experience and expertise and has been providing internal audit services to the housing sector since 2018.

Call us on 0330 058 6559
Email us at hello@scruttonbland.co.uk