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'Inspiring people - delivering change'


Many sector observers have been mystified at housing’s failure to feature in the top election issues for voters ahead May 7th. This is despite the continuing slew of stats on undersupply, unaffordability, welfare pressures and more. 


It is striking how unpopular housing associations seem to be with a good many local authorities. Political colours of the councils don’t appear to matter – too often councillors and officers can be heard remarking that they don’t trust associations.


As consumers of all manner of services, most of us like to think we will have an excellent customer experience as we, for example, buy new shoes, board a train, or eat at a restaurant. We expect companies to respond to our changing aspirations, anticipate future requirements and deal actively with any complaints (and exceed expectations).


The recent Policy Exchange think-tank report “Freeing Housing Associations: Better financing, more homes”  is interesting. In order to tackle the challenge of insufficient new housing, the principal reforms it advocates are:


The housing association sector continues to debate its nature, as it seeks to respond to changing market conditions, in an environment of low grant for new development and more remote regulation (based on the principle of co-regulation, which relies on Registered Providers to demonstrate how they comply with regulatory standards, understand and address risk, rather than being told how to do it). 


Procurement - the eternal bugbear of commissioners and service providers alike. Hands up if you've seen yet another project to tender - or conversely a tender to respond to - and groaned: "Oh no, another procurement I have to suffer".

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