In June 2018 MTHA received its co-regulatory judgement from Welsh Government and received the following status:
- Standard for Governance and Services – identifying and managing new and emerging risks effectively
- Standard for Financial Viability – meeting viability requirements and has the financial capacity to deal with scenarios effectively.
Despite the term standard not giving an overly impressive achievement this is the best that can be achieved by any Housing Association and as you can imagine was a major success for MTHA and all involved.
The Board and senior management team, not the type to rest on any laurels or stop trying to improve, took the decision to commission Altair to undertake a comprehensive Governance review after the judgement was published. The Governance review was a positive experience and gave a number of areas for Board to consider going forward , confirmed some thoughts and previous discussions that had taken place, and provided the assurance that as a team MTHA is heading in the right direction with tenants and the local community always being at the forefront of aspirations.
The headlines include:
- General Observations – it was felt that MTHA has good governance, clear frameworks, appropriate policies and procedures and demonstrates the right behaviors and culture to allow it to continually improve.
- Board membership – MTHA currently have eight board members and it is evident that the imposed 9-year rule (maximum time an individual can remain on the Board) has had a detrimental impact on the diversity and experience of the Board. There is currently only one serving female board member and recruiting the right board members going forward is crucial in respect of re balancing the diversity and the skills gap identified in the review.
- Code of Governance – it was felt that MTHA already demonstrates a good level of compliance with the new Code and more importantly a framework and approach that seeks to continually improve.
- Board appraisal and individual board member assessment – as Chair I undertook individual appraisals of all members and from this along with an initial review the following was identified:
- The need to create more time for strategic thinking
- Utilise fully the existing skills and expertise among board members
- Skills gap – particularly in respect of development and strategic asset management
All recommendations will be discussed at the Board away day in February and from this an action plan will be drawn out to move MTHA forward. Early priorities involve the adoption of the new Code and Board recruitment.