A Liverpool housing association has gained top ratings for governance and viability in its first indepth assessment since it became an independent organisation.
The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has upgraded Cobalt Housing from a G2 to a G1 rating for governance. The organisation was already V1 for its viability and it has retained this rating.
Cobalt, which owns and manages around 6,000 homes in north Liverpool, struck out on its own in September 2017, when it demerged from Onward Homes (the Symphony Group as it was known at the time).
The demerger came about from Cobalt’s desire to focus on local provision in its own neighbourhoods in the Fazakerley, Croxteth and Norris Green areas of Liverpool.
The RSH visited Cobalt in September 2019 to carry out its first indepth assessment (IDA) since the demerger, focusing on strategy, risk management and stress testing, financial resilience, governance, and value for money.
To achieve its G1/V1 rating, Cobalt had to meet stringent governance requirements and prove it has financial capacity to deal with a wide range of scenarios.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the result, which is a great reflection on all the Cobalt team and their commitment to the communities we serve,” said Kieran Timmins, chair of Cobalt’s board. “It demonstrates we’ve got some really strong foundations on which to build up our investment in our neighbourhoods and new homes within them moving forward.”
Cobalt’s chief executive, Alan Rogers, added: “We welcome confirmation that the Regulator has upgraded Cobalt to a G1 and V1 organisation. It clearly shows the improvements we have made in all areas and puts us in the best possible place to deliver services to our tenants. The fact that this is reinforced by improved performance and higher satisfaction levels is especially pleasing.”
The RSH concluded that Cobalt has developed a clear strategy and that it has implemented new governance, risk management and business planning arrangements that meet their governance requirements.
Now entering its third year as a standalone organisation, Cobalt plans to build 500 homes by 2023. It also aims to broaden the types of homes it offers, and is working closely with researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University to ensure existing stock, and any new developments in the coming years, will support the wider social and economic development of the neighbourhoods in which it operates.