Saturday, March 07, 2009

Venture Housing Association - Scrutiny Committee

Readers will recall that just after I joined the board of VHA we received a very poor Audit Commission report and rating. And that we have been working like billyo to put plans into action that will satisfy the TSA and the AC for the future and keep us out of special measures. I was elected Chair of the Scrutiny Committee (we have four committees altogether, Building and Customer Services, HR, Finance and Scrutiny) last autumn and last week chaired my third meeting.

There is so much information to go through and we all really feel the personal weight of responsibility very deeply. I lie awake at night sometimes, running over it all in my head, have I got my finger on all the pulses I need to have it on. If I were interviewed by the audit commission tomorrow, could I easily answer any questions that they put to me. Just how closely am I monitoring the KPIs etc. I put in two hours the night before the meeting, going over all the papers and marking up questions I wanted to ask and points I wanted to make. Then we had the meeting itself, including a presentation from the Auditors we had appointed at the previous meeting, to report back on the internal audit they had carried out on our behalf into some of the items raised by the Audit Commission. In all, what with interrogating them until we were really clear, then checking over the action plan and disussing suitable layouts for the business plan, we were in there 4 hours. 10am - 2pm and no lunch.

And I still feel nervous, no matter how much work I put in. I think it is because the AC criticised the then VHA board for poor governance - we are nearly unrecognisable from the board they saw and I think we are very much stronger, but knowing how much difference we can make to the way that VHA is viewed is a heavy burden.

The best news is that the level of properties with a current gas servicing certificate has now gone about 99%


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