Irish Council for Social Housing

Review of the Performance Standard: The Irish Council for Social Housing

Altair was commissioned by the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) in April 2021 to undertake a review of the Irish regulator’s Performance Standard.

About the project

In 2022, Ireland’s new social housing regulator, the Approved Housing Bodies Regulated Authority (AHBRA) will implement a new statutory regulation framework for Irish housing associations. This new statutory regulation will surpass the existing Voluntary Regulation Code (VRC) introduced in 2013.

In 2021, Altair was appointed by the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) to review the existing Performance Standard under the VRC with the intention of using the findings from the review to inform a consultation phase on AHBRA’s new statutory regulatory standards.

The Irish Council for Social Housing is the national social housing federation representing over 270 housing associations across Ireland. Collectively, these organisations manage over 43,000 homes.

As part of the review, Altair engaged with 33 Irish housing associations (called Approved Housing Bodies or AHBs) of various sizes and makeups to understand whether the existing Performance Standard was fit for purpose, how it worked in practice, and what elements AHBs wanted to keep, change or replace in a revised version of the regulation.

We undertook a range of engagement research activities including facilitated discussions, interviews, steering groups, workshops and a survey of ICSH members. Altair also completed an international benchmarking exercise against other examples of performance regulation in related jurisdictions in the UK and internationally.


Altair collated the findings from the research activities into a final report issued to the ICSH and a steering group of ICSH members. The report explored the strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement for the standard and made recommendations for a revised Performance Standard. The findings were presented at a webinar to all ICSH members, followed by a Q&A with attendees.

The review was used by the Irish Council for Social Housing to inform its submission during the consultation process on the preparation of the statutory standards, which will form the basis of the regulatory framework in Ireland in coming years.

We at the ICSH were very impressed with Altair’s level of knowledge and expertise in this area and also the professionalism they brought to this piece of important work. Cassidy and her team brought together key experts in each area who were able to use their experience and sector knowledge to elicit key trends, issues and concerns from our member on regulation as a whole and the Performance Standard in particular. The phasing of timelines for the work was agreed in advance and delivered on time and to an extremely high standard with the findings also communicated clearly and in an accessible manner. The entire process worked extremely well from beginning to end.
Kevin Ryan, Project Management Lead, ICSH

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