Given the current climate and how organisations will need to plan as we recover from the pandemic, technology will underpin a lot of this necessary thinking and agility is key where we lack uncertainty.
Planning for a pandemic is all about managing risks. So, how do you manage technology risks?
Goher Mohammad, head of information security at L&Q examined how technology risk needs to be highlighted as a key risk on par with some other more ‘physical’ risks. This was heightened under the GDPR legislation.
Goher looked at how we can use this line of thinking to spot opportunities that will drive an organisation forwards and improve things for colleagues.
John Kiely, director of housing & public sector at Savills and Brian Rankin, energy manager at Choice Housing looked at the low- and zero-carbon agenda and retrofit of existing homes. Discussing the opportunities and current challenges, they shared examples of developing new homes to higher energy standards including Passive House, zero carbon, Code 5, and Code 4 projects.
Mathew Baxter, group chief executive at Echelon Consultancy examined and discussed what will the post-COVID operating environment look like? Will it impact on existing improvement programmes? What will the expectations of governments be in terms of the decarbonisation agenda and how will this relate to the fiscal environment and other planned improvements. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, but how will organisations adapt whilst ensuring that every tenant continues to have an excellent experience in their home? All of these issues were addressed by Mathew.
For construction and housing, the post-COVID recovery represents the opportunity to play a vital role in recovery; the construction sector and social landlords are both ready and keen to mobilise, have a national impact, and produce a high level of GVA output. But the flip-side is the risk; of investing in solutions that aren’t fit for purpose, housing that doesn’t address the societal need and a lost opportunity to decarbonise. Our speakers started the process of bringing together outcome and value, and social housing construction clients, given the potential benefits to the construction industry, society, and the social sector.
As the UK begins to ease the restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown, organisations will need to start re-establishing partnerships with their contractors and suppliers, however, with social distancing measures expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future Jeremy Kape, Interim Asset Transition Director at Stonewater looked at how we ensure the safety of residents, operatives, and staff in what is undoubtedly still a very challenging environment?
The complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought housing into sharp relief and means it is more important than ever that we are clear of the need and purpose of social housing in Wales. A central part of this is the allocation policies and processes that support people to access social housing in Wales.
Tyfu Tai Cymru looked across all local authority areas to understand how the allocations process works in different locations. Shelter Cymru presented findings from their detailed research which focused on the Swansea area.
All speakers explored what works and what can be improved.
As we start easing the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions what will the impact be on repairs and maintenance services? How will organisations deal with the backlog of repairs, reach out to customers in a meaningful way and manage customer expectations.?
Our speakers reviewed the current situation, explored how we work towards returning to normal service, considering how long this might take and explored whether there are opportunities to be taken from this crisis to do things differently in the future.
Celebrations of culture and heritage can be an important part of life for some and a contentious issue for others. Tanya, Gavin & Mark examined the role social housing landlords can play in supporting communities to explore the diverse range of opportunities available to them in reimaging celebrating their cultural heritage differently, and looked at how we can learn from the journey's others have already embraced and how can we support positive expressions of culture.
International best practice examples, local office case studies and findings from consultation with staff and customers were explored alongside a series of practical initiatives designed to support communities' initiate conversations around change.
We were delighted to host our first CIH Building better boards event with over 200 people in attendance throughout the day.we presented our new offer to boards to help drive best practice, knowledge sharing and promote professionalism that drives assurance and innovation across the sector.
Expert panels discussed governance and building better boards in the 4 sessions listed below:
A summary of the discussions is included in our Building better boards virtual pack
Sam Lister, policy and practice officer at CIH provided an update on the main out-of-work and in-work welfare benefits that have been made as a result of the Coronarvirus outbreak
Sam Lister and Sarah Davis, policy and practice officers at CIH discussed help with housing costs through universal credit and housing benefit.
Margaret-Ann Brunjes, chief executive, Homeless Network Scotland and Clare Mailer, head of housing service at Perth and Kinross Council explored the challenges of dealing with homelessness during the Coronavirus outbreak and discussed how we ensure that homelessness doesn’t increase when restrictions begin to be eased.
Jordan Buchanan, chief economist at PropertyPal provided analysis and data around how COVID-19 has impacted the property maket in Northern Ireland.
Areas discussed were:
Effective communication is key when dealing with and managing the many problems presenting themselves during the current Coronavirus crisis. Whether it’s scaling up communications to support customers or providing critical daily internal updates for employees. Steve Hayes, communications manager at Citizen provided guidance on how housing organisations can deliver on their promises to support communities explaining what works when it comes to ensuring messages are clear, considered and current so that the correct people are aware of the right information at the right time.
Areas explored included:
Shelter Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, and CIH Scotland launched new research into affordable housing need in Scotland. The findings set out the number of affordable homes Scotland needs between 2021 and 2026. At this launch event, we heard about demographic and housing market trends in the Scottish housing system and what this means in terms of access to affordable homes in the short-to medium-term.
In 2015, the organisations’ joint research helped to inform the current affordable housing supply programme, and the study has been repeated with the aim of setting a new robust target that will meet existing and future need.
The current lockdown situation has evolved work for front-line housing staff and young professionals. CIH Futures board members shared their experiences and presented best practice on the transition to remote working.