Peter Harrison, Corporate Director -Risk and Assurance

In my last blog, I touched on the consequences of non-compliance, noting that very often, it is too late to fix gaps or anomalies in the short run up to your compliance audit. In the last of the series, I will explore what can be done to implement systems to ensure compliance and how this can be supported by auditing schemes more frequently throughout the year.

Common issues

Early on in my experience of undertaking compliance audits, it became apparent that the same issues and breaches were going to continue to repeat year after year unless the root cause of the issue was addressed.

Most organisations obtain a valuation prior to acquisition but the acquisition itself often takes longer than anticipated and the validity period of the valuation expires. The need to update the valuation is forgotten as the focus is on getting the deal over the line.

Contract documentation can remain unsigned and undated with the focus being on claiming start-on-site grant, often under pressure as year-end looms. This is an area that can lead to grant being recovered.

And then there is the perennial issue around rents. Development projects often span more than one financial year and rents change. Finance and/or Housing Management generally deal with rents and often press ahead applying rents that don’t correspond to what is in the financial appraisal for the scheme and ultimately what is in IMS. You’re heading for a breach.

Helping to reduce instances of non-compliance?

It’s quite simple really. It’s about having processes and procedures that are fit-for-purpose, that are understood and that are consistently applied. You should also look at it as actively managing project risks and ultimately risks to your organisation.

And it’s not just about meeting the requirements of the compliance audit. It’s about managing the risks of cost and time overruns, it’s about meeting delivery targets and it’s about satisfying demand.

Here at TIAA, we have worked proactively with our clients throughout the year to help them implement and improve their systems with the ultimate aim of having fit-for-purpose and joined up processes, which also satisfy the requirements of the compliance audit regime. Our ethos is about sharing best practice and recommending improvements to address those root causes. And by implementing them, your risks will be largely reduced.

And if you have proactively and knowingly reduced your systemic risks, you can enter the compliance audit season with confidence!

How can TIAA help?

If you are keen to discuss the compliance audit process in more detail and also how TIAA can help you through the course of your development programme then please contact me.

Capital Funding Guide Compliance Audit Flyer

Please Contact us to find out more.

The first and second blogs in this series are available below.

Homes England Compliance Audits – What is a Compliance Audit?

Homes England Compliance Audits – The Benefits And Costs