Centre for Financial Innovation

From a good home ('Van Goeden Huize')

How can housing associations realise an independent control function among the many demands and conditions placed on this?


The independent control function is a legal requirement (Housing Act 2015) for housing associations with more than 2, 500 units for rent. Just how this independent control function should be realised is not yet sufficiently clear: the sector struggles to meet the legal demands. This research helps supervisors to cope with their role as financial professionals with the legal requirement to maintain independent supervision in a complex situation.

Housing associations provide housing for a large number of people in the Netherlands. With at least 2.4 million units they are the biggest landlords in the country. In 2013 and 2014 as a result of a number of scandals involving fraud and maladministration a parliamentary inquiry took place. To prevent any repetition of the problem the Housing Act of 2015 stated that all housing corporations dealing with more than 2,500 dwellings must include an independent control function in their own organisation.

The management accountant fulfilling this function is expected from this independent position to maintain careful supervision of management and directors. The law gives no further context or clarification.

This gives rise to the necessary questions of realisation: what exactly is the task of this independent controller? How should the independent control function be positioned in the organisation? What qualifications are needed for the position of independent controller? In brief, the research examines person, position and policy needed for the optimum realisation of the independent control function.


The project formulates advice, from discussion in the work area, about the optimum realisation of the independent control function. Considering the three points in the research (person, position and policy) the research concerns advice as to personal competencies, the position and tasks to be done and the policy of the housing association.


We formulate advice about the realisation of the control function and in addition, the results are published in trade and academic journals. Webinars about outcomes are planned for the autumn of 2020.

Relation to education

During two semesters students take part in the research by carrying out graduation assignments with participating housing associations. In the autumn semester of 2020 four students are active in an association.


SIA-Raak Public

Project partners

In the project we work with a nuclear team and a number of participating housing associations as consortium partners. The nuclear team consists of, in addition to university of applied science, Amsterdam, Hofmeier, consultancy bureau for financial and organisational matters, and the Zijlstra Centre, education and research institute of the Vrije University in the field of Public Control, Governance & Leadership.

Together with organisations and companies, Centre for Financial Innovation (CFI) seeks solutions for current challenges in the field of finance and accounting. Big data, AI, ethical dilemmas and sustainability require a different way of working. CFI offers insight through research, practical recommendations and tools, and transfers this knowledge to students and professionals.

Published by  Centre for Applied Research Economics and Management 23 September 2021

Project Info

Start date 01 Feb 2020
End date 01 Feb 2022