Sunderland housing group Gentoo upgraded by industry watchdog

A homes group slammed two years ago by industry watchdogs has been told that its house is now in better order.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 6:43 pm
from left, Gentoo chairman Keith Lorraine and chief executive Nigel Wilson.

Sunderland’s Gentoo Group was downgraded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in 2017 after a report said it “does not meet our governance requirements” amid concerns over executive pay-off deals.

Following detailed discussions, the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH), previously part of the HCA, has now confirmed that Gentoo is operating in a compliant manner within the regulatory standards for social housing providers.

It has therefore upgraded the group from a non-compliant G3 governance rating to a compliant G2 governance rating.

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Keith Loraine, the chair of Gentoo Group, said: “We are obviously delighted that the regulator has confirmed we are now compliant with the governance standards.

“This reflects the huge amount of work and priority given to rectifying the issues that led to the regulatory downgrade in October 2017.

“I would like to thank fellow board members and Gentoo colleagues for continuing to deliver an excellent service to our tenants throughout this process.

“We will continue to work with the regulator to ensure that we complete our journey to G1, the highest level of compliance.”

Gentoo, based in Emperor Way, Doxford Park, manages more than 28,000 social housing properties across the city.

There has been no indication which executives the 2017 HCA report relates to.

In its new judgement, the RSH recognised the efforts Gentoo had made to address previous issues and concluded that “Gentoo is now establishing and embedding its strengthened governance arrangements throughout the organisation”.

Nigel Wilson, Gentoo’s chief executive, said: “This is a great step forward for Gentoo and confirms my belief that this fundamentally is a strong organisation with committed colleagues and a customer-facing culture.

“Our tenants are at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to progress with our business plan aspirations by investing £417 million on improving our homes and providing an additional 900 homes for affordable rent in Sunderland by 2024.”