Innovation Exchange

ARC Data Accuracy

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Every year social landlords provide the Scottish Housing Regulator with information on their performance in achieving the outcomes and standards in the Scottish Social Housing Charter (the Charter). The information from landlords’ ARCs is used to report on their performance to tenants, the Scottish Parliament and other stakeholders. This information helps tenants to better understand their landlord’s performance, and landlords and others use it to benchmark and improve performance.

 

In 2016, the Regulator visited West Lothian Council to validate our 2015/16 ARC submission. The aim for these accuracy visits are;

  • Assess the accuracy of reported Charter information;
  • Seek assurance about landlords’ understanding of the data requirements;
  • Understand landlords’ experience in collating the data;
  • Identify positive practice
  • Identify any common mistakes in interpreting the data requirements; and
  • Identify any issues regarding the technical guidance or other lessons for the Regulator.

 

 

Theme: Housing and Regeneration

west lothian council logo

In preparation for submitting our ARC, West Lothian Council undergo an extensive programme of planning, co-ordinating and validating data from across the service, ahead of it being input to the online portal. Our IT system provides reports and spreadsheets provide clear evidence, audit trails and assurance that the reported data could be verified.

 

Effectively a mini internal systems audit on all of the Charter outcomes;

  • The customer/landlord relationship
  • Housing quality and maintenance
  • Neighbourhood and community
  • Access to housing and support
  • Getting good value from rent and service charges
  • Other customers

 

The work involved in preparing West Lothian Council’s ARC submission are;

  • Planning – this is defined primarily by the submission closing date of 31st May. Every task was planned backwards from this date.
  • Walk through – meeting with every responsible officer from across the service to ensure they understand the guidance of the ARC.
  • The data – Our IT system produces reports that include data that is collected and manipulated to meet the ARC requirements
  • Initial checks - the verification of the data collected against monthly performance reporting
  • Evidence – storing the evidence in a secure, central location for audit purposes.

 

Through discussions with members of staff and documented evidence, the Regulator had the tools to undertake their assessment of West Lothian Council’s accuracy.

This activity helped improve accuracy, have good audit trails, identify positive practice and learn lessons, and give confidence in the information we provide.

 

Our feedback from the Regulator visit was very positive;

 

“West Lothian Council demonstrates a high level of commitment to delivering the requirements of the Charter and embedding the Charter within its performance management framework. The Council used the Charter to routinely monitor its performance and report this information to its councillors and tenants. Tenants are actively encouraged to become involved in policy reviews and to drive service improvements. The Council has good audit trails and reporting systems which utilise the live IT system to give confidence in the accuracy of the reported figures. We were provided with clear evidence of the source of the information provided in the ARC. We welcome this positive approach to the collection and reporting of performance information.”

From this ARC data accuracy validation activity we have been reassured that the work we are undertaking to submit our annual performance meets the Technical Guidance set by the Regulator. We will continue to work and take appropriate steps to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information in future ARC submissions.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Caroline Campbell

Housing Research Analyst

01506 283403

Case study added to site: February 2017

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