10 June 2014
The governance rating for a housing association that was embroiled in an executive pay scandal the year before has been upgraded back to G1.
Housing regulator the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) downgraded Great Places Housing Group’s (GPHG) governance rating to G2 from the highest G1 last year after it emerged the organisation had given its outgoing chief executive an unusual pay-out of £276,000.
The pay-out was given despite chief executive Stephen Porter volunteering to retire – the HCA said GPHG’s board had exercised weak governance when agreeing executive contracts and severance payments to an outgoing executive. The judgement stated that ‘this is specific matter raised the potential for wider weaknesses in the group’s risk management and internal control assurance frameworks’.
The HCA upgraded the GPHG’s governance rating as it had implemented a series of measures to address its governance weaknesses.
The GPHG commissioned two independent reviews which saw the recruitment of six new board members and a new chair join the board, as well as a simplified, common board structure within the group implemented. The judgement also added that the role of the company secretary had been strengthened.