Statement from Ian MacGregor, Director, Sustain UK Ltd 

Tuesday, 5st July 2022

On Thursday 30th July the Independent and Open Democracy made reference to Sustain UK in articles focusing on exempt housing providers in Birmingham.

The articles referenced issues related to past conflicts in interest as identified by the housing regulator, and the salaries of former directors.

I’d like to take the opportunity to provide further information and context on both these issues.  

As a registered provider, Sustain UK takes a co-regulatory approach to compliance, and has worked closely with the Regulator of Social Housing to meet required standards, and the conflicts of interest highlighted in the articles were resolved by May 2021.

In relation to the salaries of former directors reported by Inside Housing in February 2020, the same article also stated that Sustain UK had provided a breakdown of Ms Hughes’ and Mr Barwell’s salaries from the date they founded Sustain UK in 2009. 

Both had received £0 income between 2009 and 2015. Both agreed to large voluntary salary reductions in 2019/20, before leaving the business as planned.

On the wider issue of exempt housing, Sustain UK has consistently highlighted the growing problem of poor-quality exempt supported housing in Birmingham, and in our experience, this problem is being perpetuated by a number of rogue operators, and has been a vocal advocate for change.

Sustain UK’s homes undergo a rigorous application and inspection process to ensure that both the properties and support provided adhere to strict standards. 

Following recent independent inspections of its properties and support, Sustain UK has been awarded the Silver Quality Standard Award for Supported Exempt Accommodation by the Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC), in conjunction with Birmingham City Council (BCC).

Sustain UK would like to add its voice to the likes of Councillor Sharon Thompson, and other campaigners in the City, who recognise that looking after vulnerable people with decent exempt housing and personal support of the right standard has never been more important in these challenging times.