Devolution is my second favourite subject (housing is obviously my first). So when devolution and housing collide I am giddy with delight and excitement.
Rob Warm is Head of Member Relations at the National Housing Federation
11 January 2018
But as well as being one of my favourite subjects, more relevantly, it’s also one of our priorities. And even more importantly, for housing associations in some parts of the country, it is absolutely their number one priority. For those members, more than anything else, what they are looking for from us, as their trade body, is support to navigate new, and sometimes confusing, structures, and make sure that the voice and role of housing is represented.
That’s why we have been working hard on strengthening and clarifying exactly what members can expect from us in this area. We’ve been working with members from across areas affected by devolution to understand what demands they face, what opportunities are opening up, and how we can help them to meet these.
That offer can be found here. It sets out very clearly what we will do in the three areas that you have told us matter the most. In terms of collaboration, it sets out how we will help housing associations develop structures and approaches that make them easy for combined authorities or mayors to do business with them. In terms of insight, it sets out how we will draw upon the best and brightest Federation minds to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to the table. In terms of profile, it describes how we will make sure that the key role that housing plays is properly understood in political and public debates.
We wanted a clear offer on devolution to clarify where we have the skills, experience and knowledge to add value to your local level discussions – not just through your local External Affairs Manager, but across the whole organisation. Devolution is not just a local issue – it's a lens through which our priorities can be seen. We're committed to ensuring it is mainstream to all of our colleagues – whether that is local delivery, policy, campaigns or public affairs.
We have some exciting plans for how we will continue to support devolution in future. This will include further developing our national network of housing association devolution leads, strengthening our relationships with key stakeholders and creating new and exciting mechanisms to help members share knowledge and expertise that they are developing as devolution continues to evolve across the country.
Devolution is here to stay. As your trade body it is important not just that we understand and respond to it, but also that we lead and shape it. For us, this isn’t just about fitting into someone else’s political structures and priorities. Our vision is about creating a set of structures and policy priorities that make it easier for you to deliver for the people and communities that you serve. We are totally committed to work with members to make this vision a reality in 2018.