Change in the social and affordable housing sector is constant. The last two years have put paid to any notion otherwise.
From the rent cut to the Housing and Planning Act 2016, from the reclassification decision by the Office of National Statistics to the deregulation of housing associations, and from two general elections with the Brexit vote inbetween, change has been constant. Then came the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, the repercussions of which are only beginning to become clear in terms of fire safety and asset investment. Housing professionals might be forgiven for feeling a little dizzy at the pace and monumental nature of all this change.
Yet it is worth considering that, as change is constant, the need to assess and reassess our business plans must be too. A finely crafted plan from 2015 may have positioned the business well and have been great at the time but it was two years ago and is now in need of being updated.
So how to be smart about this? How to ensure you and your colleagues aren’t missing opportunities, or running in circles?
A useful way of approaching this is thinking in terms of business efficiency.
At the headline level, this does mean picking up the mantra from the housing regulator and the government of ‘doing more with less’ but it is not just about the numbers.
In a dedicated Business Efficiency seminar Savills is holding with the NHC in Castleford on 25th September, we will explore the opportunities for housing providers to build more efficient businesses.
Key topics we will cover include:
- The economic and policy context.
- Effective asset management.
- Treasury management and funding options.
- Joint ventures and partnerships.
The aim of the event is help housing providers generate greater business capacity. How you use this capacity is up to you. It could help provide more affordable homes. It could support diversification into new areas of business to better deliver your social aims. It could give breathing room and build resilience to prepare for continued rent cuts to 2020.
Forward-thinking housing providers have been considering these issues for some time – and they continue to do so. The NHC event will hear from some of these organisations and their experiences. Savills will also be able to provide an overview of the sector based on work we have done supporting housing providers in recent years.
The seminar promises to be a fascinating day and one that I hope as many housing colleagues as possible are able to attend to share their views and ideas. I look forward to seeing you there.
Helen Collins is Head of Savills Housing Consultancy
Visit the events page for more information on ‘Business Efficiency Seminar – unlock your potential’ at WDH in Castleford on 25th September.