27 November 2024


Carnegie Conference Centre, Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, Fife, KY11 8DY

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09:30 - 16:00

Get involved, share your opinions and bring your best ideas!

Bringing together young and upcoming housing professionals to consider and discuss the housing questions that are most important to you.

The Big Conversation returns as a live event in 2024. Our innovative and unconventional conference style will make you feel at ease and leave you feeling motivated and inspired in how you can make a difference as a housing professional. 

Join the discussion on:

  • How we disrupt the housing sector
  • How to lead as the sector changes
  • Housing 2031, what the sector wants.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Grow your network with other like-minded young and upcoming housing professionals
  • Develop your career aspirations and ambitions
  • Debate the housing issues that matter to you.
10:00 - Welcome
  • Geraldine Howley, chair of CIH governing board
  • John Mills, head of housing services, Fife Council
10:15 - How do we disrupt the housing sector?

There has never been a better time for disruptive innovation in the housing sector, but how do we do it? How do we get better at changes in service delivery, how do we better anticipate our future needs, and how do we embrace tech and AI?

At this session, we will hear from Ian Wright of the Disruptive Innovators Network about how we can future-proof the sector so that it delivers for all of our tenants.


  • Ian Wright, Disruptive Innovators Network
11:05 - Housing to 2031: What the sector wants.

The next Scottish elections are just over a year away, and with it, each of the political parties will be setting out their manifestos and their ambitions for the housing sector. But what do you want? What do you think decision-makers should prioritise regarding housing policy, and what needs to be undone?

At this workshop session you will be guided by facilitators and your table and consider some of the big challenges facing the sector in Scotland and set out the priorities you want to see prioritised. This will inform the CIH Scotland election manifesto for 2026.

12:50 - Breakout sessions one: the next step in your career

“You can do more in a day than most other professions can do in a lifetime”

That was the call of former CIH President Jim Strang about a career in the sector. So, what do you need to do if you want to get ahead in your career and keep making a difference?

At this workshop, you will hear from recruiters and employers about the skills, behaviours and attitudes they seek in the next generation of leaders.


  • Trevor Smith/Geraldine Howley, The Centre for Partnership
  • Jamie, FWB Park Brown


12:50 - Breakout sessions two: Workshop: working the room

One of the key skills for any housing practitioner is how to lead a discussion. How can we get more tenants to engage in our consultations? How can we get comfortable speaking in public? How do we show leadership when chairing a roundtable?

At this session, Trevor Smith will explore how you can develop your communication and engagement skills and pin down the art of active listening.


  • TBC, Centre for Partnership
13:40 - How to lead

The housing sector and the wider world of work have changed immeasurably over the last five years. But somethings have stayed the same and that is our need for thoughtful and evidenced led leadership.

So with a General Election behind us and 18 months until the Scottish elections come hear from our panel about the leadership they want to see in the Scottish housing sector, from our political leaders and from civic society.


  • Kim McKee, Stirling University
  • Steph Elliot, Technology Enabled Care in Housing
15:00 - Scotland’s housing emergency: what do we need?

Since last summer, seven local authorities have declared housing emergencies and many more appear on the brink of doing so.

At the same time, the Scottish Housing Regulator has warned of the risk of systemic failure in our housing and homelessness services, and the sector is having to absorb a £200m cut to the affordable housing supply budget and higher inflation costs.

So, what do we do? How can the sector drive the improvements we all want to see, and what role can the Housing Bill play in addressing these challenges?

At this session, we will hear from leaders from across the sector who will challenge you on what needs to be done.


  • John Mills, Fife Council
  • Gordon Macrae, Shelter Scotland

15:45 - Close
  • Geraldine Howley, chair of CIH governing board
Package Member Non-Member
Standard delegate rate Free N/A

Please see our full terms and conditions before making your booking.