FEELING THE by zhangyun


                                                      March 2010 Issue 38 2007
                                                        Issue 20. March

  News and analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing

                             Feeling the
                                                      housing in a difficult
 Inside >>>
Inside >>>                                            climate - page 8
    Financial inclusion –
What will the network
        new UK
                             The Cave review is –                      New local
                                   keeping going in                       Housing
Hills report mean
           spreads good      coming, but what                    priorities and how
                                      tough times -                        Review
for practitioners 12
      practice – page        do we want from 11
                                           page                  to employ Local Area
                                                                       launched –
and what happens             regulation?                         Agreements 5


                                                                                                   if i had 5p for every time i’ve heard someone                                                 different. we can expect overall funding cuts
                                                                                                   talk about the forth-coming public sector                                                     in the order of 22 per cent and the pain will
                                                                                                   spending cuts i wouldn’t need to worry about                                                  be felt in capital and revenue programmes. our
                                                                                                   them! seriously though we all know the cuts                                                   job at such times is to help you get more from
                                                                                                   are coming – irrespective of which party wins                                                 less and this work starts now with our feature
                                                                                                   the next election. whilst some will remember                                                  feeling the squeeze. the key challenge will be
                                                                                                   previous periods of tight spending settlements                                                to maintain frontline services in the face of the
                                                                                                   many of us have only worked in a relatively                                                   cuts - and we will maintain our support to you
                                                                                                   benign financial environment in which capital                                                 as you struggle with this dilemma over coming
                                                                                                   funding was widely available – albeit that we                                                 months and years.
                                                                                                   increasingly had to bid against one another to
                                                                                                   secure it. the next five years will surely feel very                                             Sarah Webb, Chief Executive

opportunity to
                                                                                                 many of whom are struggling to find career                                                      and others reported they were training fewer
                                                                                                 opportunities as a result of the downturn in the                                                people (17 per cent). to compensate, nearly a

develop young
                                                                                                 economy.”                                                                                       third (31 per cent) of respondents indicated that
                                                                                                                                                                                                 they had increased the amount of training they

housing officers                                                                                 new skills
                                                                                                                                                                                                 deliver themselves.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Cih Director of Professional Development,

                                                                                                                                                                                                 martin winn, said: “our research indicates that
young people and the housing sector in                                                                                                                                                           housing organisations are already looking closely
england, wales and northern ireland are set                                                                                                                                                      at their learning and development activities and
to benefit from a new housing apprenticeship                                                     new research commissioned by Cih indicates                                                      some budgets are already being affected.
being introduced by the government from                                                          the recession and economic downturn is                                                            “although the impact has been less than we
autumn 2010. the qualification will provide                                                      placing increasing pressure on the learning                                                     might have expected, no one is sure when the
new opportunities for young people to develop                                                    and development activities of housing                                                           economy will fully recover from the recession
careers as housing officers, especially 16 to 19                                                 organisations in england.                                                                       and what it means for public finances. we
year olds whose training costs will be met fully                                                   the research, undertaken in november 2009,                                                    are urging housing organisations to think
by government.                                                                                   indicated that the training activity of 52 per                                                  carefully about making short term cuts in
  the apprenticeship is supported by Cih and                                                     cent of housing organisations, who took part                                                    training budgets, which may store up long-term
incorporates two of Cih’s qualifications covering                                                in the survey, had already been affected by                                                     problems for the housing sector.
topics ranging from homelessness and finance,                                                    the recession. nearly seventy per cent of                                                         “investment in skills will be vital to meet
to repairs and maintenance.                                                                      housing organisations questioned expected                                                       demands for efficiency, effectiveness and
  the apprenticeship is being introduced                                                         the recession to have an impact on their                                                        innovation. it is also essential that housing
by asset skills – the government’s sector                                                        training activity in 2010.                                                                      professionals develop the skills they will need
skills Council for housing. the level 3                                                            the survey, undertaken by an independent                                                      to provide the best possible service in future to
apprenticeship qualifications are designed                                                       research company on behalf of Cih, involved                                                     ensure that we create places where residents
to be on a par with a-levels and learners can                                                    in-depth surveys with 150 human resource                                                        want to live and work. there is a real danger
also use the qualification to progress to a                                                      professionals and senior executives working                                                     that what may start out as temporary or
foundation degree in housing and a range of                                                      in almos, housing associations and                                                              short-term cuts in training and development,
Cih level 4 qualifications.                                                                      stock holding local authorities. housing                                                        could turn into a major under-investment in
  Cih head of education, errol lawrence, said:                                                   associations expect to be least affected by the                                                 skills spanning an entire generation of housing
“this is an important sector-led qualification                                                   recession (62 per cent), followed by almos                                                      professionals. if this happens we will have failed
that should be attractive to both housing                                                        (76 per cent). nearly all of local authorities                                                  the people that we seek to serve.”
organisations and young people. the                                                              (92 per cent) expect to be affected.                                                              the same research also indicates that many
guaranteed full funding from government                                                            by the end of last year, a quarter of                                                         housing organisations may be under-prepared
towards the training costs for 16 to 19 year olds                                                respondents had reduced their externally                                                        to meet the challenge of the tenant services
should be particularly attractive. it also creates                                               provided training. approaching one fifth                                                        authority’s new regulatory framework for social
another opportunity to promote housing as a                                                      of respondents (17 per cent) had incurred a                                                     housing from april.
career to a much younger group of people –                                                       reduction in the value of their training budget                                                   respondents were asked what impact the

editor Jill Dwyer (02476 851780) Email: jill.dwyer@cih.org • deputy sales manager gemma hunt (020 7772 8419) • design lisa ferron (ferron@intelynx.net) • printers william gibbons (01902 730 011)
distribution uK & overseas via Comag (01895 444055) • the deadline for editorial contributions for the next issue is 23 april 2010.

the publishers accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. if you are sending material to us for publication you are strongly advised to make copies and to include a stamped, self addressed envelope.
 original material must be submitted and will be accepted solely on the basis that the author accepts the assessment of the publisher as to its commercial value.

2 / Housing / issue 38

                                                                                                            call for sector to
introduction of the tenant services authority          Phil morgan, executive Director of tenant
(tsa), and its new regulatory system, would          services at the tsa, said: “this is important

                                                                                                            deliver housing
have on their organisation. almost a half            and timely work on tenant scrutiny. our new
of respondents (45 per cent) considered the          empowerment and involvement standard

tsa would have minimal impact on their               stresses the importance of how tenants can
organisation, or were still unsure what the likely   effectively scrutinise and help shape the
impact would be on their organisation.               services of their landlord and this report gives
  richard Capie, Cih Director of Policy and          lots of practical examples for providers and           the uK’s largest housing conference and
Practice, said: “the introduction of the new         tenants to learn from.”                                exhibition is being transformed to maximise
regulatory system in england will inevitably           abigail Davies, Cih head of Policy, co-              its influence on the next uK government. Cih
mean that housing organisations will need to         authored the report. she said: “the early              has re- focussed its annual three day event in
change and the work of housing professionals         adopters of resident-led self-regulation               harrogate into a new summit-style format,
will also have to evolve. new skills and             have done some great work and have paved               which will offer the whole of the housing
knowledge will be needed and our research            the way for others to follow. if it becomes            sector the opportunity to come together
shows that many organisations may be under-          widespread in the housing sector it will bring         to deliver a united and powerful voice to
prepared and not fully ready to respond to what      clear benefits to tenants, housing providers           government.
is a fundamentally new approach to regulating        and the regulator. this approach can improve             Delegates at this year’s event will be invited
affordable housing. “                                services, and it also has the potential to link        to lead on the creation of a housing Pact – a
                                                     with the new regulatory framework to assure            statement of what the sector will deliver with

new report sees
                                                     the quality of landlord performance and to             the necessary support from government. in
                                                     reduce external intervention.”                         contrast to previous years, the minister for

residents leading
                                                       Download the report free of charge from www.         housing has been invited to speak on the final
                                                     cih.org/policy                                         day of conference and listen to the sector’s

the way
                                                                                                            plans to drive forward the housing sector.

                  top cih students
                                                                                                              Cih Chief executive sarah webb said: “Cih’s
                                                                                                            annual Conference and exhibition is the only

a report published on 9 march commissioned                                                                  event that brings together private landlords,
by the tenant services authority (tsa) and                                                                  developers and voluntary sectors, as well
written by Cih, takes a detailed look at use                                                                as housing associations, almos, and local
of a new approach to tenant involvement              Natasha Williams          Sian Criddle                 authorities, to debate sector wide issues. it’s in
                                                     CIH Student of the Year   CIH DL Student of the Year
and performance management which gives                                                                      all of our interests to work together to remind
tenants the power to challenge their housing                                                                government that housing should remain a
organisation and drive up performance.                                                                      political priority over coming years.”
  the report claims that this new approach,

                                                                                                            new cih
entitled resident-led self regulation, has the
potential to change social housing for the better

and give real power to a group of customers
who have little consumer choice. it could also

cut down on the need for external intervention.
  it draws on existing practice to help tenants,     two student award winners, natasha williams
staff and governors in the social housing            and sian Criddle, were recognised at the
sector to develop and make effective use of          annual Cih Presidential Dinner on 10 february          Cih has awarded honorary membership to
resident-led scrutiny, and suggests ideas to         at the natural history museum in london.               michael gelling obe - Chair of the tenants and
inform the way the tenant services authority         they received a medal and a cheque for £200            residents organisations of england, anthony
(tsa) carries out regulation.                        from Cih President howard farrand and were             mayer - Chairman of the tenant services
  resident-led self regulation is already allowing   congratulated by rt hon iain Duncan smith              authority and David orr - Chief executive of
tenants of a number of pioneer housing               mP and Chair of Cih Professional Development           the national housing federation.
organisations to call their landlords to account     board, louise harris.                                    Cih President howard farrand presented the
and have a lead role in improving front-line           natasha williams, who started as a volunteer         awards at the Cih Presidential Dinner on 10th
services, scrutinising performance and ensuring      housing assistant in 2006 while studying full-         february 2010 at the natural history museum
that the organisation is well governed.              time for a housing qualification and is now            in london. howard said: “i am absolutely
  the report, resident-led self-regulation:          following a full time masters degree in planning       delighted that Cih is awarding honorary
enhancing in-house scrutiny and performance,         and sustainability at Kingston university, was         Cih membership to three very distinguished
was funded by the tsa through its tenant             awarded Cih student of the year. sian Criddle,         members of the housing community. michael
excellence fund and is the culmination of three      a neighbourhood housing officer at westlea             gelling, anthony mayer and David orr have all
years of work by Cih on a model that will help       housing, part of the greensquare group,                made significant and valued contributions to
organisations to involve residents in the running    received the Cih Distance learning student of          the housing sector and have championed the
of their business and to influence decisions.        the year award.                                        interests of tenants.”

                                                                                                                                      Housing / issue 38 / 3

‘the spirit level: Why more equal
societies almost always do better’                                                                    future. thirdly, the changing demographic,
by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett                                                                 examining social housing for the ageing
                                                                                                      population and other vulnerable groups.
                                                    we are worse off than most of our northern          in addition, there will be keynotes and case
                              Penguin, £9.99        european neighbours on a whole range of           studies focusing on issues such as governance,
                              (paperback)           indicators, including infant deaths. and          alternative regulatory frameworks and
                                                    the reason appears to be the same – our           scenario planning.
                                a pub quiz that     inequality isn’t as bad as the usa or Portugal      there will also be optional study tour days to
                                asks you to         but it’s a lot worse than most other eu           innovative projects around the netherlands.
                                name the world’s    countries. embarrassingly, the average brit         the summit takes place on 13 and 14
                                richest country     can expect to live as long as the average         october 2010 at the world forum in the
                                seems too easy.     Cuban – because Cuba might be poorer but it       hague, netherlands.
                                the obvious         is much more equal and (of course) also has a       www.ishsum.com/conference/
                                answer – ‘the       comprehensive, free health service.

                                                                                                      cih welcomes
                                usa’ – is also        this book covers such a range of factors
                                the right one. it   – obesity, murders and even bullying (yes,

                                                                                                      south african
                                has an average      we top the list!) – that it is surprising that
income of more than $40,000 per head. but           housing is barely mentioned. Perhaps it

does this mean that the american dream              would show britain to be better off. no
has come true? what about if the question           matter, the central message is the important
asked for the country with the greatest life        one: societies that are more equal are better
expectancy? or highest literacy rate? or            for everyone. there is hard evidence to prove     a delegation from south africa, including
lowest number of infant deaths? or lowest           it, and this book presents it in spade loads.     the minister of housing for the Provincial
levels of mental illness? ‘the usa’ is not the      Review by John Perry                              government of the western Cape, attended
right answer to any of these questions. but                                                           the Cih south east conference during the

how can that be if it is the richest country in                                                       first week in march. as well as addressing
the world?                                                                                            delegates on the first day of the conference,

                                                    event for the
  richard wilkinson and Kate Pickett have                                                             mr bonginkosi madikizela, his aide mbulelo
uncovered an unwelcome truth about being                                                              tshangana and three housing managers and a

                                                    housing calendar
rich. it might be oK for the rich (though even                                                        councillor from bitou municipality had a busy
this is debateable), but it’s no good for the                                                         week of site visits and meetings.
ordinary citizens of an otherwise rich country,                                                         the group, which also included John hopkins
if the gap between them and the rich is too                                                           of the southern african housing foundation,
large. and this is where the american dream                                                           met with the leader of brighton and hove City
falls apart: the country is rich, but far too few                                                     Council, found out more about construction
people share the riches. the gap between the                                                          training in the city and met the people behind
rich and the poor – or the rich and the average     the international social housing summit           a centre which provides innovative solutions
– is bigger in the us than anywhere else.           (ISH•SUM) is a new international conference       to problems such as substance abuse.
  what wilkinson and Pickett do is to present       for the housing sector. focusing on the shared      the highlight of the week, however, was a
the graphs in a different way. instead of           challenges faced by housing organisations         site visit to the london olympics in stratford.
measuring progress against overall wealth,          around the world, it will look particularly at    the delegation had access to the 22nd
they measure it against the size of the gap         best practice rather than policy and deliver      floor viP suite, visited by the Queen and
between rich and poor. and – surprise,              practical solutions that delegates can put to     Prime minister, amongst others, which gives
surprise – the usa turns out to have more           work straight away.                               spectacular views over the olympic sites.
in common with a lowly european country               the summit includes workshops, case               mr alistair Queen, Cih regional committee
like Portugal than it does with scandinavia         studies and working lunches and will follow       member, organised the series of visits. he
and Japan. the nordic countries limit the           three tracks focusing on the core issues          said: “we were very fortunate to be welcomed
gap between the rich and poor through their         that shape policy and practice in social          by so many colleagues during the week, who
taxes. in Japan, the gap is kept narrow by          housing. firstly, financing and funding of        gave up their time to showcase their work to
tradition – big Japanese corporations simply        social housing, including what is working         our fellow housing professionals from south
don’t pay their executives the exaggerated          in the current climate and successes and          africa. we were delighted that the olympic
amounts paid in the us and – you guessed it         failures of different models in key markets.      Delivery authority and senior officials from
– here in britain.                                  secondly, sustainability and energy-efficiency,   newham council were able to accommodate
  because we come out of it badly too. while        including what is setting the pace in building    us at short notice, and i would thank
not quite as badly off as the united states,        environmentally sensitive communities for the     mullaleys for financing the event.”

4 / Housing / issue 38

cih cymru launches first Welsh housing review
Cih Cymru has recently published the first         depression hit britain. bevan’s period
ever welsh housing review, a new annual            as minister for health and housing
publication which aims to give an overview of      in the early 1940s saw over 850
the ‘state of the nation’ in relation to welsh     thousand new homes being built,
housing. in this article vikki hiscocks, Policy    the biggest public building
and Public affairs manager at Cih Cymru,           programme in history. this wasn’t
provides an overview of what readers can           simply about volumes, there was a
expect from the inaugural edition.                 clear vision for the quality of the
  the uK housing review is now in its 18th         homes and communities being
edition and has firmly established itself as a     created and bevan’s idea of ‘mixed
key resource on housing policy and finance         tapestry’ estates has direct parallels
across both the public and private sectors.        with the modern concept of mixed
Cih Cymru felt that a similar publication          communities
focussing solely on welsh issues would provide       this chapter by Keith edwards                   at in the essex report - namely securing
a useful resource for the housing community        makes the case that bevan’s understanding         european investment bank funding and
in wales. the welsh housing review has             of how housing can improve health, nurture        pursuing the feasibility of a welsh housing
some similarities with the uK publication          educational attainment and build vibrant and      bond. this chapter outlines progress on both of
in that it includes expert commentary on a         sustainable communities is just as relevant       these innovations and explains how the welsh
range of topical issues and detailed statistical   to the challenges facing the housing sector       housing investment trust has developed as a
information on the housing sector with             today – not least in combating years of           potential financial model.
accompanying analysis highlighting important       underinvestment in the housing stock and
housing market trends. the themes of the           addressing the undersupply of affordable          dEvolution and its boundariEs: past
articles have been chosen to reflect issues that   housing. but in the litany of doom and gloom      and futurE implications for wElsh
are unique to wales and are intended to give a     generated by recession and market collapse        housing policy
‘whole-market’ view of the sector.                 there is one aspect of housing that is not only   there have been important changes in housing
                                                   bucking the trend of bad news but if handled      policy in wales in the decade since formal
EvidEncE basEd policy making:                      right could lay the foundations for longer term   responsibility was devolved to the welsh
how doEs walEs mEasurE up?                         regeneration and renewal in some of wales’        assembly government. in this fourth article,
the essex review identified the lack of an         most disadvantaged communities – that is the      steve wilcox, outlines how some of those
up-to-date robust assessment of future             major investment flowing in to wales in order     changes have been constrained by the limited
housing requirements for wales, and                to achieve whQs. this agenda is helping to        form of the welsh devolution. not only does
recommended that the welsh assembly                create job and training opportunities as well     wales have to operate within the constraints
government give immediate consideration to         as other community regeneration benefits,         of westminster based primary legislation
how an adequate, up-to-date and dynamic            all of which point to an optimistic future for    (albeit modified by the local Competency
information base on housing needs, demands         welsh housing.                                    order - lCo process post 2006), the barnett
and supply could be developed covering                                                               formula based budget provisions are far from
different spatial scales in wales.                 nEvEr wastE a crisis: is a wElsh                  generous.
  in Chapter 1 Judith wayne and valerie            housing bond a solution to lEnding                  after looking back over the past ten years
strachen (tribal) focus on the core housing        markEt instability?                               of devolution in wales, steve gives his views
evidence and the extent to which omissions in      in Chapter 3, Peter hughes of the Principality    on the renewed start being made to housing
the current housing information available to       building society looks back at the economic       policy in wales following the essex review and
the assembly can be identified. they argue that    changes that have taken place over the past       the new challenges ahead in the wake of the
whilst in some cases these omissions are fairly    year and outlines the impact of the credit        credit crunch, and the impact this will have
common across the different regions of the         crunch on the lending market within the rsl       both on the private housing market and future
uK some are specific to wales. they conclude       sector. he considers how the lending industry     government budgets.
that having a sound evidence base is essential     has responded to the unprecedented upheaval
to demonstrate whether assembly policy             to financial markets witnessed. a crisis can      the welsh housing review was launched in
commitments are being achieved.                    be the precursor to innovation and out of the     february 2010. in addition to the full length
                                                   near wreckage of the financial system has         feature articles outlined above, the review
walEs can spEak to thE world –                     come a return to traditional values alongside     includes a comprehensive collection of facts,
could walEs bE lEading thE way in                  the development of a some new initiatives.        figures and trends about the welsh housing
rEgEnEration and rEnEwal?                            in the knowledge that funding for affordable    sector. for further information and to order
2009 marked 60 years since aneurin bevan had       housing would potentially be scarce the           your copy, contact victoria hiscocks, Policy
the vision and drive to make homes for all the     Principality have been involved in progressing    and Public affairs manager Cih Cymru at
number one priority for a war damaged and          two separate strands which had been hinted        victoria.hiscocks@cih.org

                                                                                                                              Housing / issue 38 / 5

the housing (scotland) bill 2010
the widely anticipated housing (scotland)
bill 2010 was introduced into the scottish
Parliament on 13 January 2010. the bill has
three main policy objectives which aim to:
• Improve the value of social housing for
   tenants and taxpayers
• Safeguard the supply of housing for future
• Improve conditions in private sector
   the housing (scotland) bill was introduced
after a long period of consultation with
stakeholders and includes much of what was
proposed in the Draft housing (scotland) bill       intends to use them.                                investment - that these reforms may impact
with extra provisions to improve standards in          the bill also establishes a scottish social      on social landlords’ budgets through loss of
the private sector as per the Private sector        housing Charter, which will set out a number        income from rtb sales. although not a major
housing issues: housing bill consultation.          of outcomes that social landlords across            problem for all landlords, Cih scotland thinks
  the bill outlines how the scottish                scotland should be achieving. Performance           it would still make sense to offer a degree
government intends to deliver on its policy         will then be assessed against the Charter by        of flexibility for a landlord to sell a property
objectives and this includes:                       the shr.                                            when there is a clear business case to do so.
• Modernising social housing regulation                the proposals for how the Charter
• Reforming the Right to Buy (RTB) social           will operate at present are unclear. Cih            improving conditions in thE privatE
   housing                                          scotland has concerns about the levels of           rEntEd sEctor
• Amending the law on registering private           administration and resources involved as well       the bill also outlines provisions to improve
   landlords and dealing with disrepair in the      as the potential for differing outcomes across      conditions in the private rented sector
   private sector.                                  organisations at a local level. it will be a case   through amending the private landlord
                                                    of ‘watch this space’; with further discussions     registration legislation and making changes
modErnising social housing                          and consultation required over the coming           to the powers available to local authorities to
rEgulation                                          months before the Charter will begin to take        address disrepair in private housing as per the
modernising social housing regulation               shape.                                              housing (scotland) act 2006.
in scotland has always been a long term                                                                    failing to register as a private landlord will
objective of the scottish government and            rEforms to thE right to buy                         now incur a maximum fine of £20,000 which
was alluded to in firm foundations in 2007.         the housing (scotland) bill introduces radical      is hoped will act as a deterrent to landlords
the scottish housing regulator (shr) was set        reforms to scotland’s right to buy (rtb) policy.    failing to comply. local authorities will also be
up following the abolition of Communities           the reforms, which gathered huge support in         able to make public when a landlord has been
scotland as an interim body regulating social       the initial consultation, will:                     refused registration or has failed to meet legal
landlords.                                          • End RTB for new supply social housing             requirements.
   Part 1 of the bill establishes the shr as an     • End RTB for new tenants entering the social          the flexibility in enforcement and
independent regulatory body to protect and             rented sector, and                               maintenance powers for local authorities
promote the interests of tenants, prospective       • Reform pressured area designations                proposed in the bill is also a welcome
tenants, homeless people and other service             Provisions are in place to protect the rights    approach to addressing disrepair in private
users across local authorities and rsl’s. it will   of existing tenants who already have a rtb          housing and promoting accountability at a
now have a more proportionate approach              entitlement and remain in their current             local level.
to performing its functions and stakeholder         tenancy, tenants who transfer voluntarily              Cih scotland welcomes the housing
consultation will ensure accountability and         and those who are required to move by their         (scotland) bill as it offers a chance to retain
transparency.                                       landlords.                                          and invest in much needed affordable housing
Despite operating a more proportionate                 ending the rtb for all new social supply         stock at a time of acute shortages. Cih
approach, the modernised shr will still have        social housing and for all new tenants              looks forward to engaging with the scottish
the power to make inquiries or intervene            entering the sector is a welcome contribution       government to shape the new independent
following concerns about a landlords’               to safeguarding social housing for future           scottish housing regulator and social
performance or financial viability. the             generations of tenants. Cih scotland has            housing Charter to ensure social housing
regulator will have discretion over these           however warned in a recent paper reforming          in scotland continues to provide value for
powers, but will need to be open on how it          the right to buy in scotland- a Capital             tenants and taxpayers.

6 / Housing / issue 38
                                                                                                northern ireland

first housing awards celebrate innovation and resilience
the housing sector in northern ireland gathered    sustain tenancies, promote their wellbeing and      prison environment to help enable sustainable
to celebrate innovation and resilience in the      prevent homelessness occurring and reoccurring.     housing outcomes for them in the community.
face of the economic downturn at the inaugural       cArviLL group was awarded Building                  the awards were significant in recognising
Cih annual housing awards in belfast in            sustainable communities Award for its               achievement by an organisation working on a
february. the event was the first time that        woodbrook Development. the principal idea           cross-border basis. the ‘Cross border housing
Cih northern ireland has held awards to            for woodbrook was to create a sustainable           award’ was sponsored by departments in
recognise achievement in practice by housing       community where there is a balance between          both jurisdictions on the island of ireland; the
organisations and professionals.                   present and future generations’ interests, by       Department of social Development in northern
  five award categories celebrated excellence in   creating a framework in which environmental,        ireland and the Department of environment
building sustainable communities, endeavour        economic and social factors are integrated,         heritage and local government in the republic
in the community, cross border housing, and        safeguarding quality of life. woodbrook has         of ireland. minister margaret ritchie and
building skills and capacity; a further award      been designed to create a strong identity and       minister michael finneran both attended and
recognised the particular role played by an        sense of place – a firm foundation for building a   presented the award to oaklee housing.
inspirational colleague in the sector.             community.                                            the evening also incorporated the annual Cih
  Ark Housing AssociAtion was awarded                oAkLee Housing group was awarded                  Presidential Dinner. During a pre-dinner speech,
the Developing skills and capacity Award for       the cross Border Housing Award, for the             Cih President howard farrand commended the
its programme of learning and Development          work of oaklee housing trust. the trust             level of professionalism and skill in the housing
for all staff and board members, ensuring the      was formed in the republic of ireland with          sector in northern ireland and called on the
development of skills and capacity throughout      the aim of extending oaklee’s remit beyond          sector to continue to work in partnership to
the organisation irrespective of grade,            northern ireland to address social and physical     achieve outcomes for communities. he paid
department or previous learning.                   disadvantage across the whole of the island of      tribute to minister margaret ritchie for her work
  Angela Mcgukin and staff from the                ireland.                                            in prioritising housing through her new housing
sL-eigHt project received the endeavour in           BrenDA pArker from housing rights service         agenda. he urged the sector to capitalise on
the community Award. the staff working in          was awarded the inspirational colleague             the opportunities presented by the independent
the sl-eight project have created partnerships     Award, for her work in the ‘housing advice          Commission on the future for housing, to set
with community groups and other support and        in Prisons’ project. angela’s work involves the     a long term vision for the future for housing in
housing agencies to enable young people to         provision of advice directly to individuals in a    northern ireland.

                                                                                                                                 Housing / issue 38 / 7
                    feeling the
                                                                   Few doubt that the financial outlook for housing - and the
                                                                   public sector in general - is bleak. Neil Merrick looks at how
                                                                   the sector hopes to survive the inevitable spending squeeze
                                                                   to come and at some of the alternative funding models
                                                                   that are being used, or considered, across the UK.

                         regardless of who wins the general        go beyond the current comprehensive        accept lower profits in return for free
                         election, future government support for   spending review (Csr), it’s going to       hCa and other publicly-owned sites, is
                         house building and other programmes       be a pretty testing time for all public    expected to deliver up to 1,250 homes.
                         looks set to be lower than the sector     finance, and housing is unlikely to be       sites in Doncaster, milton Keynes
                         has become accustomed to, or might        left out,” he says.                        and newcastle have already been
                         wish.                                       unsurprisingly, policy makers are        identified, and sir bob is optimistic that
                           recent turbulence caused by the         looking to the private sector to cushion   more schemes will follow, with local
                         credit crunch and recession means,        the impact. since last year, the hCa       authorities also being encouraged to
                         twice already during its brief history,   has been talking to four consortia of      put forward land.
                         the homes and Communities agency          institutional investors that potentially     large housing associations,
                         has reviewed the rate of grant it pays    could raise about £1bn for private         meanwhile, have adapted to the new
                         for new homes in england.                 rented housing.                            borrowing climate by turning to the
                           following its creation in December        Pension funds and other institutional    capital markets. in January, l&Q raised
                         2008, the agency initially looked to      investors are apparently seeking new       £300m from a 30-year bond - one of
                         reduce grant. but as the house building   - less risky - investment options that     seven major bond issues by registered
                         industry ground to a virtual halt, it     could mean considerable funds are          social landlords in the past two years.
                         pushed rates back up by pumping in        generated to build new homes and             waqar ahmed, group director of
                         emergency government funds.               improve existing properties in the         finance at l&Q, says the response of
                           in 2008/9, the hCa paid housing         private rented sector.                     investors (the bond issue was more
                         associations and other developers an        and the hCa sees no reason why           than three times oversubscribed) shows
                         average of £67,000 per social rented      such interest cannot eventually extend     there is still a strong appetite for
                         home and £31,000 per low cost home        to social housing. “the key thing is to    lending to the sector.
                         ownership (lCho) property. this           get it up and running for private rented     since the credit crunch, banks have
                         compares with an average of £62,000       [homes],” says sir bob. “how fast it       increased the price of borrowing and
                         per social rented home and £27,000 per    grows depends on what happens to the       prefer to offer short to medium-term
                         lCho property paid in 2006/8 by the       market.”                                   loans. “the bond market gives us the
                         housing Corporation.                        a cash-strapped public sector is also    ability to raise long-term debt,” says mr
                           but if 2008/9 represented a high        relying on one of its key assets - land    ahmed.
                         point in terms of subsidy, hCa chief      - to give support to housing providers       in 2008, Circle anglia raised £275m
                         executive sir bob Kerslake confirms       at less cost to the treasury. the public   through a bond issue as well as
                         that the good times are over. “if you     land initiative, under which developers    borrowing a further £1.4bn from banks.

8 / Housing / issue 38
Calum mercer, executive director of          announcement by housing minister
finance at Circle anglia, says social or     John healey, due in march, on the
affordable housing is highly attractive      terms under which historic debt
to institutional investors because the       might be redistributed between
sector remains highly regulated.             councils. in the long term, she says,
  “it’s a natural source of funds for        hra reform should deliver more for
housing associations when banks are          the same, or less, money because
aggressively pricing their debts,” he        proceeds from council rents will
says. “there is a requirement to raise       remain in housing rather than being
large amounts of money and banks are         claimed by the treasury.
unlikely to be able to cover all of that.”     “moving into an era of severe
  the housing finance Corporation            financial restraint, we need to make
has raised two bond issues on behalf         much better use of the resources
of groups of rsls. but Jim strang,           we’ve got,” she says. “if you’ve a proper
chief executive of Parkhead housing          income stream and can plan what you
association, glasgow, warns that             are going to get for the next 10 years,
bonds are not generally a viable option      you are in a better position to plan           housing associations have weathered
for smaller landlords, including most        programmes effectively and make deals        the financial crisis that began in 2007
associations in scotland.                    with contractors.”                           and are in better shape than much of
  with the scottish government                 Ken lee, chair of the housing panel        the wider economy, according to the
seeking to reduce rates of housing           at the Chartered institute of Public         tenant services authority.
association grant (hag), he predicts         finance and accountancy (Cipfa),               a study of the impact of the credit
that some rsls will focus on housing         warns self-financing is likely to have       crunch on rsls in England, published
management, possibly for larger              more impact on property maintenance          last month [fEb], shows associations
rsls in england that can still afford        than house building. “there won’t be         avoided long-term reductions in the
to build homes.                              thousands of extra homes in every            value of their assets and offer more
  mr strang also forecasts mergers, or       authority,” he adds. “it will be twenties    secure returns to investors than the
new working arrangements, between            and thirties, as we see now.”                property sector as a whole.
rsls in scotland, to reduce overheads.         the housing finance system in                the tsa compared the performance
“we will have to look at how we are          wales, which is similar to england’s         of rsls with commercial property
structured,” he says. “many associations     but sees repairs funded through capital      firms and companies in other sectors,
may decide not to build any homes            grants rather than a major repairs           including tesco and vodafone. while
in future and become management              allowance, is also under review. a           profits in the wider economy fell, rsls
organisations.”                              report by steve wilcox, professor in         were protected by sustained demand
  governments in both england and            housing policy at the university of          for social housing, secure rent income
scotland want local authorities to           york, is due later this year and will also   and their ability to switch homes that
resume house building, albeit with           cover rents in social housing.               were built for sale to other tenures,
lower grant rates than those generally         Professor wilcox says the review           including social renting.
paid to rsls, and based on councils          will assess the investment required            “compared to the wider economy
raising similar sums through prudential      for landlords to achieve the welsh           and the property sector in particular,
borrowing. in england, the future of         housing Quality standard and                 the rsl sector has experienced less
councils as house builders and social        aims to seek consensus within the            instability and maintained steady
landlords depends greatly on the             sector. “we’re conscious of what’s           growth,” says the impact of the credit
outcome of the government’s long-            happening in england but there is            crunch on housing associations.
awaited housing finance review.              no presumption that we will go down            yet in spite of the positive picture
  in theory, the dismantling of the          the same route,” he says.                    presented, the report warns that rsls
housing revenue account (hra) subsidy          reform cannot come soon enough             remain exposed to fluctuations in the
system and introduction of self-             for councils such as Denbighshire,           property market, especially where they
financing should give councils more          which retained its stock rather              diversify away from social renting.
flexibility to build homes and improve       than transfer the homes to a rsl.            clare miller, tsa executive director for
stock. last year, the local government       Paul Quirk, Denbighshire’s head of           risk and assurance, says: “commercial
association claimed it would allow           housing services, doubts that debt           development and building properties
councils to build more than 300,000          redistribution will be a major issue         for outright sale will continue to
homes over the next decade.                  in wales as all local authorities are        present extra risk.”
  but gwyneth taylor, policy director        in negative subsidy.                           the audit commission, meanwhile,
at the national association of arm’s           but self-financing would provide           has praised the ten housing market
length management organisations,             councils with more certainty and put         renewal pathfinders for making good
warns against raising hopes too high.        them in greater control of their own         progress during the credit crunch and
“it’s not a silver bullet,” she says. “you   destiny rather than being dependent          recession. reports on the pathfinders,
need to be sure that it would give the       on government funding. “we are               published earlier this month, show
full amount in terms of additional           showing business plans that are viable,      that all ten are performing strongly, or
investment or addressing things like         but that depends on subsidy remaining        well, and offering a range of housing
the decent homes backlog.”                   at levels we expect,” says mr Quirk.         options as well as home ownership.
  ms taylor was speaking before an           “that is outside our control.”

                                                                                                                           Housing / issue 38 / 9
                       last year, grampian housing
                     association built 42 flats in Dyce, near
                                                                   “moving into an era of                        development grants at lower rates than
                                                                                                                 in the past.
                     aberdeen, for shared ownership and            severe financial restraint,                     John mclean, chief executive of fold
                     intermediate renting. with the exception                                                    housing association, says competitive
                     of a £24,000 grant from aberdeen              we need to make                               bidding has limited appeal to rsls.
                     City Council to help two properties
                     meet wheelchair standards, the £4.8m
                                                                   much better use of the                        “in the absence of private finance,
                                                                                                                 associations behaving responsibly will
                     development attracted no subsidy.             resources we’ve got.”                         not go beyond what they can afford,”
                       grampian raised £3.5m in private                                                          he says.
                     finance towards what is scotland’s first      the benefits system.                            other changes may include paying
                     no subsidy development by a housing             the cost of housing benefit is already      money to rsls for house building
                     association and funded the rest from          forecast to reach £21bn by 2010/11.           schemes over a longer period as part
                     shared ownership sales elsewhere.             once rent restructuring is completed,         of their revenue funding instead of
                     but does this sort of scheme represent        possibly in two to three years’ time, the     through capital grants. but mr mclean
                     the future?                                   government will be anxious to avoid           warns: “a future without hag would
                       neil Clapperton, director of housing        further housing benefit inflation, says       cause a marked reduction in the new
                     and property services at grampian,            sam lister, policy officer at the Chartered   build programme.”
                     says Dyce was particularly attractive         institute of housing.                           the Commission on the future for
                     but by no means unique. ideally, the            rsls are more likely to be given            housing in northern ireland, due to
                     association would like to devote half of      flexibility to raise rents if, in future,     report in may, also recognises that
                     its development business to self-funded       benefit does not cover the entire cost        finance will play a key role. grainia long,
                     schemes and put housing association           and all tenants pay a share regardless        the Cih’s director in northern ireland
                     grant (hag) towards the remainder.            of their income. “in that way, it may         and chief adviser to the commission,
                       “i’m aware of a number of other             well act as a brake because landlords         says public or social housing will need
                     associations - some fairly hefty              will get flak from their tenants [if rents    to work more closely with the private
                     national players – that are looking at        go up],” he says.                             sector. “we are going to see far more
                     alternatives like self-funded shared            ahead of any changes to housing             innovation in the future, with the two
                     ownership,” he says. “they are well tried     benefit, it seems certain that the terms      sectors working together and each
                     and tested south of the border, but less      under which rsls and other developers         sector doing what it does best,” she says.
                     so in scotland.”                              receive development grants will change          the welsh assembly government is
                       opportunities to cross-subsidise and        as government purse strings tighten.          considering proposals for a housing
                     pay for social housing through the              in england, the hCa is proposing a          investment trust that would raise money
                     proceeds of shared ownership and              new equity-based system for shared            through banks and capital markets. John
                     outright sales have been limited recently     ownership schemes, with the agency            shinton, an independent consultant
                     by the downturn in the housing market.        recovering extra money when homes             who put the proposal to the wag, says:
                       but that has not prevented associations     are sold to reflect increases in property     “it’s about continuing to develop the
                     such as l&Q from looking at how it can        values. sir bob Kerslake, hCa chief           institutional market, but there are lots
                     be less reliant on government subsidy.        executive, says: “it’s part of a challenge    of different perspectives about how this
                     “every housing association is reassessing     that we all face over how we sustain          structure can be developed.”
                     schemes and asking how the tenure             affordable housing numbers with less            for local authorities, the future will
                     mix will change if there is no grant          funding available.”                           remain uncertain until the hra debate
                     available,” says waqar ahmed, l&Q’s             housing associations have still to          is resolved - probably not until well
                     group director of finance.                    respond, but are likely to point out that     after the general election. in its response
                       the association, he says, has “ruthlessly   they already plough surpluses back into       to the government’s housing finance
                     pursued” an efficiency agenda and last        affordable housing, and that shared           review, the Cih argued that, under self-
                     year generated a surplus of £40m from         ownership schemes are not always              financing, council borrowing should not
                     its core business. but it also recognises     profitable.                                   be counted as part of public borrowing,
                     that its options for raising extra money        meanwhile, a housing finance group          but treated in the same way as
                     are limited. “something has to give,”         set up by the hCa reported this month         borrowing by rsls, as happens in most
                     says mr ahmed. “if grant reduces then         [mar] on other potential ways of raising      of the european union.
                     something else has to increase. it            money. nigel hugill, chair of the group,        according to gwyneth taylor, policy
                     could be debt, but there also has to be       says most of its ideas build on initiatives   director at the national federation of
                     flexibility in rents.”                        already put forward by the hCa and            almos, the treasury tends to “panic”
                       Calls by rsls to be allowed to raise        others. “People that are searching for        at the thought of councils borrowing
                     rents by more than the inflation-linked       the holy grail have to remind themselves      against their housing assets. but from
                     formula used in rent restructuring            that it would be surprising if people         april, local authorities (including almos)
                     regularly fall on deaf ears. the ongoing      hadn’t found it already,” he adds.            will be regulated under the same
                     growth of housing benefit, however,             in northern ireland, the Department         framework as rsls. “the logic is to get all
                     demonstrates how, at present, rent rises      for social Development is also looking        three sectors on as level a playing field
                     make no difference to about two thirds        at ways to reduce hag, including              as possible,” she says. “that must be the
                     of tenants as their rent is paid through      encouraging associations to compete for       long term aim.”

10 / Housing / issue 38

Keeping going
Neil Merrick examines how regeneration is faring in the recession.
                                                                                                                                                 n Mas
it is seven years since gentoo (or sunderland      one-off, and public spending will be far tighter      for housing                           2010          s
housing group as it was known) embarked on a       in future. in the meantime, gentoo is sitting         associations
major regeneration programme.                      on sites where the majority of homes have             that want to
  after borrowing a further £200m on top of        been demolished. “holding on to vacant sites is       continue to
£400m that it had already been lent by banks,      costing us money,” he says.                           be involved
the association planned to demolish about 6,000      richard medley, director of ConsultCih, says        in house
homes and replace them with about 4,000 new        large scale voluntary transfer (lsvt) housing         building and

properties. under original plans,                  associations that embarked on long term               regeneration

work would have been completed next year.          regeneration plans have been especially hit by        is going to

  but following the credit crunch and recession,   the recession. as the housing market collapsed,       be refinancing. the
gentoo estimates that it is at least five years    cross-subsidy was no longer viable. “the model        capacity is there for local authorities and
behind schedule and remains concerned that         has come off the rails,” he says.                     housing associations to make a contribution,
parts of the programme may not be completed          in particular, registered social landlords          but it depends on whether there is sufficient
at all. “Completing the whole programme means      cannot afford to buy-out people who own               appetite in terms of the cost of borrowing.”
finding more funding in the future,” says Phil     ex-council homes purchased under the right              but it is not all doom and gloom. in wales, lsvt
murray, the group’s director of finance.           to buy scheme. in many cases, other parts of          associations appear to be proceeding as planned
  sunderland housing group was established         estates have been cleared ahead of regeneration       with programmes aimed at achieving the welsh
in 2001 following the transfer of 36,500 homes     schemes that subsequently stalled. “i’m aware         housing Quality standard. many are linked to
from the city council. it became gentoo in 2007,   of situations where a rsl has demolished part         regeneration and wider renewal of estates.
at the same time as housing started to feel the    of an estate and freehold owners are sitting in         elin Jones, housing and regeneration manager
effects of the credit crunch and sales to first-   splendid isolation,” says mr medley.                  at the Cih in wales, says borrowing by new
time buyers began to plummet. “Confidence in         other casualties of the recession include a local   rsls has not been unduly affected and work
the housing market fell through the floor,” he     authority scheme in the east midlands where           to meet the whQs benefits the economy as
recalls.                                           homes were built for private sale alongside           associations are encouraged to link contracts to
  as a rule, half of gentoo’s new homes are        new stock for social renting. housing market          job opportunities and training. “regeneration is

         Regeneration Masterclass
set aside for social renting and the others
sold - either outright or for shared ownership.
fewer sales meant profits fell and the group
                                                   renewal pathfinders, meanwhile, have had “the
                                                   rugs pulled out from under their feet” and are
                                                   striving to target home ownership products
                                                                                                         still happening despite the economic climate,”
                                                                                                         she says.
                                                                                                           ten of the 22 local authorities in wales have

had less money coming in to cross-subsidise        more effectively.                                     either transferred their stock or are about to.
regeneration.                                        a rsl scheme to refurbish empty homes,              a further four plan ballots. but councils that
  although it set out to complete schemes that     also in the east midlands, is struggling because      hoped to avoid transfer by using right to buy
were underway, others were put on hold. “our       people wishing to buy homes that were intended        sales to fund work on their remaining stock are
plans were re-cut every quarter because the        for sale cannot get mortgages. “if you can’t raise    raising less money than hoped, making it harder
market was changing so swiftly,” he adds. “we      finance, the whole system falls down,” he adds.       for them to achieve the standard.
had to go back and re-crunch the numbers.”           angus Kennedy, chief executive of consultants         the regeneration masterclass, from Cih and
  help arrived last year in the form of the        Community regeneration Partnership and                the british urban regeneration association
government’s Kickstart programme, which is         course director of the regeneration masterclass,      (bura) is a programme for senior managers and
mainly aimed at stalled private developments.      says all organisations will be looking at ways “to    addresses the more essential issues relating to
gentoo, which is used to receiving about £2m       do more for less”, particularly as public spending    the creation of sustainable communities and
per year in housing grant, was given £33.5m to     is squeezed. Councils will need to transform          successful regeneration. the masterclass takes
build 443 homes over two years, one third of       the way they deliver services and partnership         place on 17-18 march, 21-22 april and 19-20
which it hopes to sell once markets improve.       working will be even more vital than in the past.     may in london. find out more at www.cih.org/
  but mr murray accepts that Kickstart was a         “there is no quick fix,” he says. “the challenge    training/regeneration.

                                                                                                                                             Housing / issue 38 / 11
making connections –
financial inclusion in practice
last month’s report from the Better Banking        Cih hosts four members of staff who work         residents manage their money better and
Campaign claimed that up to seven million        with housing organisations around the uK           avoid falling into debt. a recent independent
people in the uK cannot access loans, credit     to promote financial inclusion including two       evaluation by ipsos mori, commissioned by
cards and overdrafts. having no bank account,    two financial inclusion advisors whose posts       the fsa, praised the effectiveness of their
no credit history or no penalty payment          are funded by the financial services authority     advisory work and concluded that an online
charges are among the reasons why millions of    (fsa) and barclays bank.                           forum would enable housing organisations to
people are unable to access mainstream credit,     abigail Davies, Cih head of Policy, said:        share best practice and examples of their own
said the campaign.                               “helping people on lower incomes to open           work. the evaluation stated: “all affordable
   the campaign, which is a coalition of         bank accounts, access affordable credit, obtain    housing providers expressed a high level of
leading charities, claims that many people       money advice and become more financially           satisfaction with the service. they thought the
excluded from mainstream financial services      aware is a national priority. it is because of     advisors were helpful, responsive and easy to
are forced to take out payday or home credit     this drive that the fsa and barclays have          initially contact, and then work with. they said
loans, which usually offer small sums with       invested in the staff at Cih to work directly      the advice was relevant and useful in helping
high interest rates. some doorstep lenders are   with social landlords, who are often the first     them develop and implement their financial
charging interest rates as high as 2,500% per    trusted source of information for their tenants.   inclusion work.“
year.                                            housing staff, through regular dialogue with         although most of the support that Paul and
  the evidence from the Better Banking           tenants, have a unique opportunity to signpost     Ken give to organisations is through face to
Campaign shows that the definition of            them to money advice, affordable credit and        face meetings and telephone follow up, they
financial exclusion goes wider than not having   other useful products such as home contents        are now offering the chance for professionals
a bank account, although treasury figures        insurance.”                                        to share ideas and good practice on an online
show that, even by this measure, £1.7 million      the fsa and barclays fund two full-time          practice network. the financial inclusion
people are financially excluded.                 financial inclusion advisors based at Cih, Ken     network was launched in January as a free
  this evidence comes as no surprise to          Dow covers northern ireland and scotland           resource and has attracted practitioners to
housing professionals; it is estimated that      and Paul o’Connor covers england and               discuss topics such as dealing with loan sharks,
70 per cent of people who do not have bank       wales. their work with housing organisations       helping residents to cut their fuel bills, home
accounts live in social housing. so what         reaches some of the most vulnerable and            contents insurance and money advice. sarah
can housing organisations do to help their       low-income households in the uK and their          Pratley, who is financial inclusion Development
residents, and how is Cih working with them      interventions have already helped over 150         officer at Cottsway housing association has
to support them?                                 social landlords develop ways to help their        used the network, she said: “we have been

12 / Housing / issue 38
promoting home contents insurance with our
residents over the last few months. i am keen
to see if there are any new initiatives out there
                                                      great Places is now planning to employ five
                                                    financial support Coordinators who will advise
                                                    tenants on their welfare benefits, give generic
                                                                                                       top tips
to raise the number of take ups, and it’s great     money advice and refer to specialist agencies      from thE financial
that there is one place i can go now for up         where appropriate.                                 inclusion nEtwork
to date information on issues such as home            ms Davies said: “financial inclusion is a
insurance and the saving gateway.”                  key strand of the work we deliver at great         on partnErships
  Paul o’Connor said: “we have been pleased         Places housing group and my role is to               “Partnership working in a rural
with take up on the network so far - people         ensure we integrate it into all our housing        environment should especially revolve
are posting useful tips and feedback on             management processes. for example our new          around creating that ‘critical mass’ by
what has and hasn’t worked for them and             viewings procedure now includes referrals to       working together seamlessly. i know we
are sharing some good ideas. most housing           affordable furniture suppliers, information on     all endeavour to do this all the time, but
organisations have small teams and limited          home contents insurance and information on         maybe we’re too quick to simply go for
resources to tackle financial inclusion and         affordable credit.”                                the obvious? for instance, i think we tend
they need quick and convenient ways to find           great Places has built up partnerships           to ‘stick to our own’ sometimes. when
out what works well. the online network is a        with manchester Credit union, greater              creating a rural partnership (more so than
free resource and is especially geared to the       manchester moneyline as well as links to an        in an urban context), we need to hold
work of social housing providers but it is not      insurance partner, united utilities, energy        hands with everyone that can add value.
limited to Cih members, the more housing            links comparison site and are involved in a        so, all social housing providers need to
professionals that use the site the more            pilot scheme with yorkshire water to help cut      come together, whether ha, almo, local
valuable it will become.”                           tenant’s water arrears.                            authority or other body.”
  Ken Dow said: “housing Providers in scotland        but Cih’s involvement with promoting
and northern ireland are pushing financial          financial inclusion throughout the housing
inclusion up their agenda. they recognise           sector is not limited to practical advice on how   on tackling loan sharks
that there is sound business and social sense       to implement a financial inclusion strategy          “the more you promote the illegal money
in making their tenants aware of financial          and guidance on what might work well; it also      lending team the more people will use their
issues. Cih is able to provide a reliable ‘one      focuses on encouraging housing providers to        service, if you do not know they exist then
stop’ source of information either through the      build partnerships with advice agencies, credit    you cannot use their service. Part of [our]
financial inclusion network or via the free face    unions and other organisations to create a         housing financial inclusion strategy is to
to face consultancy. the scottish government        framework for the future.                          empower their tenants with knowledge via
has embraced the service offered by Cih and           abigail Davies said: “there is a fundamental     news letters, leaflets, tenant’s forums and
the housing minister has endorsed the good          change afoot in the way we are tackling            rent statements…we have to think of ways
practice of partnership working that has been       financial inclusion. until now a number of         outside the box to promote organisations
evidenced through recent activity.”                 housing professionals have been doing great        such as the illegal money lending team
  Ciara Davies, financial inclusion manager         work to help support their own tenants, but        and credit unions for the benefit of our
at great Places housing group, has used             very few have coordinated their work across        tenants.“
the network to share ideas on helping               their region and with that of other providers.
tenants to save on their energy bills and           we are working within the housing sector to
switch suppliers. ms Davies commented:              build and coordinate partnerships that will        on homE contEnts insurancE
“i think the network is great. it’s well used,      help promote and support financial inclusion         “i work for an h.a. we promote an
a quick way to get feedback on an idea or           work within each region.”                          insurance scheme that specialises in low
good practice and it’s free.”                         one example of work that is helping to           cost for tenants. they will insure totals as
  ms Davies has a team of three financial           make these connections is the introduction         low as £6k. the rent account isn’t affected
inclusion officers working across the               of free regional workshops and masterclasses       and other than the initial explanation
organisation who all came into post in april        on topics such as developing effective             and providing written information the
2008. in the last two years they have saved         partnerships between housing providers and         housing officer has little else to do with
tenants approximately £70,000, by helping           credit unions and delivering financial inclusion   it. the feed back from tenants is generally
them cut their fuel bills, securing additional      services in rural areas. information collated      good, though occasionally the quote isn’t
benefits and making the most of their money.        from the workshops will be written up in a         competitive.”
in addition, rent arrears have steadily fallen.     good practice publication in the summer 2010.

morE information and hElp

• Join the Financial Inclusion Network and share your knowledge and experiences with
  others in housing – email practicenetworks@cih.org and request to join.

• ask Cih for free advice on financial inclusion from the two financial inclusion advisors. email
  ken.dow@cih.org if you are based in scotland or northern ireland or paul.o’connor@cih.org
  if you are based in england or wales.

• Download Cih housing Practice June 2009 issue on financial inclusion free of charge at

                                                                                                                           Housing / issue 38 / 13
                 member news

                                                                                                                 cih south West
                                                          be focusing on is the forthcoming general
                                                          election. read about Cih’s work to raise the

                                                                                                                 student bursary
                                                          profile of housing in the run up to the election,
                                                          key proposals for housing from the main

                                                          parties and the opportunity to join our online
                                                          discussion forum.

                                                                                                                 Applications for 2010 now
                                                          annual conference                                      being taken
                                                          more affordable                                        the Cih sw student bursary fund is open

                                                          than ever
                                                                                                                 to anyone living in the south west region
                                                                                                                 interested in pursuing a career in housing
                                                                                                                 but is unable to fund the course by their
                                                          the annual Cih uK conference and exhibition            own means or through their employer.

      new london
                                                          in harrogate will take place from 22 to 24             applications for 2010 are now being taken.
                                                          June, and Cih members have until 14 march to             to be eligible, you need to be studying

      office open
                                                          claim their early booking discount.                    for a Cih accredited course and live within
                                                            Cih and the conference organisers, ocean             the south west region. the grants awarded
                                                          media group, are keen to encourage an even             vary depending on circumstances and the
      Cih has opened its new london office on             wider range of housing professionals to attend         maximum available is 50 per cent of course
      the seventh floor at 236 grays inn road and         the conference. to make it possible for housing        fees. since this successful scheme began
      welcomes Cih members to visit or to book one        managers, housing officers or assistants to            in 2006 it has helped students with a wide
      of the rooms for events.                            attend alongside their senior colleagues, we           range of needs including funding books,
        the office can accommodate up to 60 people        are trialling a special low day delegate rate          course fees and transport.
      theatre style with a break out area with it         of £100 for Cih members and £125 for non                 “i heard about the bursary scheme from
      facilities for individual working.                  members. student members of Cih pay only               a colleague. i have already completed Cih
        for more information contact                      £65 per day.                                           housing management, level 3 and want to
       girbookings@cih.org                                  Jill allcoat, Cih membership Development             progress to level 4. this is quite costly so i
                                                          manager, said: “we hope that ‘housing                  intend to use the Cih sw bursary to help pay

      policy & practice
                                                          practitioner’ and student delegate rates will          for the course fees.” alice wood, housing
                                                          make it more affordable for organisations              officer, wareham, Dorset.

                                                          to send more of their employees to the                   to find out more visit www.
                                                          conference. we are confident that they will            cih.org/branches/sw/education/
                                                          benefit from meeting and learning from fellow          swstudentsupportfund.pdf.
      the next edition of Cih’s uK Policy & Practice      professionals as well as attending sessions led        alternatively email ronny Popat,
      bulletin will soon be available in the member’s     by some of the leading figures in housing and          ronny.popat@sovereign.org.uk
      area of our website. one of the issues we will      beyond.”

                 make a date in your diary for these    cohEsion counts confErEncE             rEpairs and maintEnancE               south East rEgional EvEnt

                 forthcoming cih events:                building and measuring community       ConferenCe And exHIbItIon 2010        oLder Persons’ ConferenCe 2010
                                                        cohesion                               • 20 - 21 April 2010                  where are we now and where to
                 cih scotland annual                    • 25 March - Manchester                                                      next?
                 confErEncE and EXhibition                                                     transforming communitiEs              • 18 May
                 • 16-18 March - Glasgow                choicE basEd lEttings and              • 22 April - Manchester               crowne plaza gatwick hotel –
                                                        housing options EvEnt                                                        crawley, sussex
                 cih north wEst rEgional                • 30 March - London                    tAI 2010 - CIH Cymru Annual
                 ConferenCe 2010 housing                                                       conference and Exhibition             cih midlands rEgional
dates for your

                 futures - a new vision in the north    thE EXcEllEncE factor EvEnt,           • 20-22 April - Cardiff               ConferenCe 2010
                 de vere whites hotel, reebok           lEading changE                                                               • 20-21 May
                 stadium, bolton                        how to lead and inspire change         a journEy through EXtra               hinckley island hotel, hinckley,
                 • 23 March CIH north West region       through recession                      carE - the people, the places, the    leicestershire
                 gala dinner                            • 13 April - London                    future. the belfry, cambourne,
                 • 24 March CIH Conference and          • 27 April - Manchester                Cambridge • 27 - 28 April 2010        cih northErn irEland
                 Exhibition in the north west region                                                                                 ConferenCe of tHe IsLes 2010
                                                        tEnants mattEr - onE yEar on           customEr insight - addressing         moving housing forward together
                 housing driving thE Economy            • 15 April - Manchester                the needs and aspirations of your     • 27-28 May -
                 forward                                                                       customers                             newcastle, county down
                 south East regional Event                                                     • 6 May 2010 - London
                 • 25 March - London                                                           • 18 May 2010 - Manchester

     14 Housing issue 38
     14 // Housing // issue 6                                        to find out more go to www.cih.org/events

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