Northern Housing Consortium 2019 Election of Directors

Northern Housing Consortium
2019 Election of Directors

The overall management and strategic direction of the Northern Housing Consortium is entrusted to the Board of Directors who are subject to election each year from Full Member organisations.

Under the Consortium’s governance arrangements, all nominations for the position of Director will be reviewed by the Board (or their nominated representatives), against a Skills Set for Directors to ensure that they meet the Board’s requirement to fill any vacancies – the Skills Set and Board Director Role Profile are enclosed in the Board Director Nomination Pack.

In accordance with a procedure agreed by the Board, and to ensure a regional geographical balance across the Northern region, we are seeking nominations for a total of one new Director place to be filled for the three-year period 2019-2022.

There are also three Directors who are retiring this year but who wish to stand for re-election they are as follows:

1. Greg Robinson, Assistant Chief Executive (Resources), Incommunities
2. Steve Close, Chief Executive, Together Housing
3. Paul Fiddaman, Group Chief Executive, Karbon Homes

NB The Board have confirmed their support for the re-election of the above candidates.

Should the number of successful nominations exceed the vacancies available, a ballot will be arranged and the results announced for formal approval by the Full Members at the Consortium’s Annual General Meeting on 14th November, 2019 in York.

A nomination form is included in the Board Director Nomination Pack & Nomination Form 2019, and I invite you to consider and make nominations of candidates no later than 23rd August 2019. Please note that you can nominate more than one candidate but in doing so you should note the conditions for nominating candidates included in the Nomination Pack.

An application form can be obtained from Kay Wiseman This must be completed by the nominee and returned with the nomination form no later than 23rd August 2019.

If you would like to discuss your nomination for the position of Director, please contact:-

Tracy Harrison
Chief Executive
T: 07809659492

Preparing for Hackitt 2019

Steve Douglas CBE, Group Chief Executive, Altair 

I’m delighted to chair the annual NHC/Altair Asset Management Seminar once again. It is so important that northern housing providers have as much access to the policy debates on building safety, compliance and regulation, as London and the south providers do.

This year’s seminar focusses on trying to give an idea of what Senior Asset Directors and Managers should be focussing on to prepare for a post-Hackitt building environment. This will include consumer regulation and the increased emphasis on fire safety in particular, but also all aspects of building safety. The event will cover the expectations of value for money in the procurement of asset management contracts and the continued drive for new technology, when making both strategic and operational decisions on managing assets.

The seminar is for housing associations, local authorities, ALMOS, the public and private sector. It will cover issues that matter to Directors, Managers and Board members, all of whom have different responsibilities for asset management.

In what will be a packed day of strategic insight and practical advice, we are delighted to welcome the head of the Regulator of Social Housing, chief executive Fiona MacGregor, who will give her thoughts on how the sector should be preparing for or responding to what may come from a new government administration, and any policy directions in relation to consumer regulation and the implications for building safety.

Angela Connelly and Anna Furlong, both senior members of Fiona’s team, will also join the conference to discuss the practical implications for compliance with regulatory requirements. Delroy Beverley from Nottingham City Homes, will talk about how they are responding to building safety, post Grenfell. The wide-ranging implications affect not only those directly responsible for management of property, but board members, development directors and housing managers as well.

There will be expert analysis from senior practitioners in the sector, including, Kevin Williams from Guinness who will consider the arguments for and against stock rationalisation, and how to make a business case for boards and stakeholders.

Together’s George Paterson and Altair’s Michael Appleby will examine where the sector is now on the use of new technology and how some organisations are revisiting their approach to planned and reactive repairs to drive better value for money and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

We will round up with a legal update from Ward Hadaway on The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and what could be the next big pressure on Asset Directors’ priorities and budgets, and a look at how one housing association, Halton Housing, is responding.

There will be something for everyone. And plenty of food for thought.

I hope you’ll enjoy the day and find it both relevant and useful.

Click here to view the programme and book your place








Building your brand and developing an Employee Value Proposition


Finding and keeping the talent your organisation needs to succeed has always been a challenge. A recent CBI survey said that 56% of organisations cannot fill the jobs that they currently have available, and 80% of CEOs said that “Talent” was their single biggest issue, more important than concerns about the economy or their customers.

Having a comprehensive and coherent Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can be a fundamental plank of your talent strategy, drawing together your employer brand, your compensation and benefits strategy as well as being an increasingly important statement of your culture and values. A well written EVP provides the basis on which you can build your roadmap to attracting and retaining talent in a tightening market.

An EVP isn’t just about attracting people to your organisation though, it also holds you to account with your current workforce. There’s nothing like the hollow claims of an over exaggerated EVP praising the virtues of your workplace, that bears no relation to the reality of working for you, to have the opposite effect on your retention. Expectation must match reality, even if we ‘polish it up a bit’! It’s a way of ensuring your managers understand “the way we do things around here” and can contribute to their development. Managers play a vitally important role in creating the cultural reality, away from the lofty ideals of the HR and marketing teams. Without your managers reflecting your culture and values in their day-to-day interactions with your teams and customers, your EVP becomes a pointless exercise.

Increasingly, organisations are identifying and creating partnerships to improve the effectiveness of their talent strategy through recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), RPO is when a company transfers all or part of its permanent recruitment to an external provider, this could be working with  master and neutral vendors and recruitment businesses, establishing partnerships with Higher Education and Further Education, as well as apprenticeship providers. An EVP will strengthen your partners understanding of your organisation and how they can best work with you. When working in the talent marketplace for you, on the phone, in their advertising, and on social media, it’s imperative that they reflect your values. Your partners also need to comprehensively understand what they’ve got to work with. How far can they go to accommodate a flexible working request, can you meet the career aspirations of the best candidate, will you look at transferrable skills to widen the pool of candidate by seeking experience gained in other markets or industries? All of this can come from your EVP – it’s the public statement of who you really are.

Other considerations, taken from the REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) report: Ready Willing and Able: Can the UK Labour Force meet Demand after Brexit, provide further food for thought:

  1. Focus on the candidate experience for applicants who are less confident in applying for roles.
  2. Re-assess what level of prior experience is essential or desirable for a given role.
  3. Consider whether different working patterns are suitable for the roles being advertised.
  4. Make clear in job adverts any realistic routes for progression within roles.
  5. Work as an individual company, in collaboration with other companies, and through trade associations and industry organisations to myth-bust about your industry.
  6. Allow those who have re-entered the labour market after a lengthy period of unemployment or economic inactivity more time to bed in and adapt to the demands of their role.
  7. Take guidance from recruiters and not-for-profit organisations on realistic expectations and suitable roles for new employees from excluded groups.

Join us at our roundtable in September to connect with HR colleagues across the sector and learn more [link to website].

Heather Salway is Group HR Director for nGAGE Specialist Recruitment.

NCH Resident Involvement Conference – 19th June 2019

Blog by officers attending from Sheffield City Council



Three of us from Sheffield City Council had a day out at this conference in June. We are Shahid Khan, Engagement & Development Officer, Waleed Al-Gulaidi, Community Engagement Apprentice, and John Loveless, Manager of the Community Engagement Team.

We met Barbara Spicer, Chief Executive of Plus Dane and Joint Chair of the event. Barbara tweeted a photo of us with her and Maria Milford, the other Joint Chair, and asked us to write a blog of our day, so here goes.

Barbara told us the story of her career starting off as the girl who made the tea for a Director who she later sat alongside as a fellow Director, which was a real inspiration to Waleed.


Today was a brilliant day at the conference Resident Involvement in York. It was my best experience within the working world and I feel I have gained a lot from attending




At the start there were 7 different representatives from different housing associations who told us about their business and how they cooperate. There was a debate afterwards between the panel and the audience about stigma and how this affects housing, I found this really interesting because it gave me a better understanding of what it is and how this affects tenants and residents till this day, even though it started over 50 years ago.


First impressions of the hotel were that it was very smart and of course very convenient to access, being almost a physical part of York train station. There was a bit of a problem with the coffee machine but we soon forgot about that as Barbara introduced the day and the interesting and varied panel of speakers for the morning session.

We especially warmed to the words from Melanie Rees about stigma in social housing and how we tackle it. Building more social housing, promoting social housing tenancies as a tenure of choice and training staff in understanding stigma, were some of the positive suggestions. From the floor someone said “Stigma starts with how and where properties are designed, planned and built,” which we totally agreed with.

The last part of the morning was billed as an interactive session with the audience, and Shahid, Waleed and I joined with tenants and a manager from the Community Housing Group to talk about what we could do to reduce stigma in social housing. Each table fed back to the whole room on a range of different topics.




During lunch we met the lovely chief executive Barbara Spicer of Plus Dane Housing who was one of the main organisers of the event, she spoke to us about her career and how she moved up the ladder, I found this really interesting as she taught me you can become what you want if you work hard enough. This really motivated and inspired me especially knowing she was once at my level and knowing everybody has to start somewhere.


Afternoon workshops


After lunch there was various workshops set up, the first one I attended was ‘Achieving Impact in Resident Engagement at Local Authorities’ and was run by Leeds Council, this was really good because we gained ideas that could help our council, for example having electrical billboards around the city about housing news, updated regularly so tenants and residents are aware of what is happening, walkabouts with the tenants to engage with them and annual home visits etc. We have taken these ideas with us and are hoping we can apply them to our housing service in order to improve the service for our tenants and residents.


I learned a lot from the South Liverpool Homes run workshop about their successful scrutiny panel. I especially liked their recognition of the importance of the culture of the panel, investing in training in the code of conduct and approaching people who have made complaints about services to see if they would be interested in joining the panel.


The second workshop was ‘Residents Collaborating on Inclusivity’, Lucy Malarkey’s presentation was absolutely fantastic, she had spoken of the company’s downfall and upcoming which showed clear motivation and taught us no matter how many times you fail, you have try over again. Lucy was talking to us about LGBT and also talked a lot about equality, diversity and inclusion which allowed us to see the wider picture. She showed us the training she did with both customers and staff so that they have a clear understanding of how to deal with one and other, I think that this was an excellent idea and could actually be useful within Sheffield City Council. They showed us organisations they collaborated with, for example BME which gave them a good image in the eyes of the public, this is also something other housing associations should think of.

Also, after this workshop Shaheed was able to find them on Facebook and take their email down to help get in touch and promote each other online which will benefit both organisations. We were really amazed by how successful their company has become and what they have done, it is a really good image for their community. We are hoping to do the same.


In the other workshops I attended, run by Great Places and Yorkshire Housing, I was heartened to hear that other organisations are grappling with the issue of how to reach out to customers / tenants who want to be involved but do not want to come to meetings and that paper copies of documents are still available for those who have not yet migrated to digital communications.


Final thoughts


Overall it was a fantastic experience and hopefully I am able to attend another, we learnt a lot of information, we gained different peoples’ opinions, I got the chance to meet people from different housing organisations and finally we got the chance to see how housing associations are successful and what they did, hopefully we can take this information on board to help our housing services be the best it can for our tenants.


This was a rare day out of the office for all three of us, but rewarding and thought-provoking. We came away with some really useful ideas and challenges to take back to Sheffield and to the groups we work with, and we met some really friendly and interesting folks from other housing providers.

Marking the centenary of the ‘Addison Act’

Today marks the centenary of the Housing Act 1919. The ‘Addison Act’, as it was commonly known, paved the way for large-scale council housing and was driven by Health Minister at the time, Christopher Addison.

We were excited to see what our members are doing to mark the occasion, including activity from Sheffield City Council and South Tyneside Council.


 Sheffield City Council

As one of the earliest local authorities to embrace council housing, Sheffield City Council has taken the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act with a range of activities including a dedicated webpage linked to the centenary for all news on their 100 years of council housing campaign.

The council have also been encouraging residents in the city to send in their photographs, archive material and recorded memories about their experiences of council housing over the years, some of these have been posted on their Facebook page.

The local radio and media have covered the activity in both the Sheffield Star (Retro feature) and on Radio Sheffield (BBC – Radio Sheffield – Home).

The Lord Mayor hosted a small event at the Town Hall at the last month for some of their tenants including centenarians and tenants who have been in their council homes for over 65 years.  The council estimate that their dozen attendees will have over 700 years of Sheffield City Council experience between them!

Two ‘memory café’ style events have also taken place in the city, the organisation has also been researching archive material to provide a history of council housing in Sheffield to form the basis of an exhibition linking to tenant experiences and memories. Stay updated with the councils ongoing activities.

South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council have a launch event on the 31st July at one of their signature, and fairly new buildings The Word. This will include a morning of speeches and presentations with senior officers including the Chief Exec and Leader of the Council, the Managing Director of the ALMO, South Tyneside Homes as well as registered providers, elected members and other guests.

The morning will discuss the purpose of the law, how social housing has changed over the last 100 years both nationally and locally, tackling the stigma now associated with social housing as well as looking more closely in terms of what has been achieved in South Tyneside around decent homes, non-traditional work and forever homes. It will continue into the afternoon a focus on community engagement and how communities have changed over the years.  Tenants and residents were invited to share their experiences of living in social housing and where they see housing in 50 – 100 years’ time.  There is also be housing themed arts and crafts. This will all form the basis of a longer exhibition which will run from mid-January for approximately 10 weeks.

We know many of our local authority members are building homes for the future, we are keen to celebrate new development through our #OurNorth Campaign. Find out how you can get involved.