Update from Adam Hackett, Head of Sustainability & Energy, Aster Group, a member of Quality of Existing Homes Group.
16 October 2018
It’s always great to head to this meeting because we are a group of colleagues who are collectively focused on tackling key issues and future challenges of our existing stock. We all know that these challenges are also opportunities but right now our focus remains on providing safe and decent homes while looking ahead to the future and how we can do more to continue to help address the housing crisis.
As ever, there was a series of excellent debates on a number of high profile topics, and it goes without saying that the tragic events of Grenfell continue to dominate our thoughts. As a result there was much focus on the Hackitt review’s latest findings, fire door supply chain challenges, and a good debate about the recently published Social Housing Green paper. The Social Housing Green paper started a long debate and the group articulated the challenges that a higher level decent homes standard might present, and we need to consider that in many cases planned programmes have been pulled back to the minimum as a result of reduced income from rents for some years. There was also a discussion about the ‘sector offer on quality’ and we felt this could be difficult to agree or communicate given the huge variation in stock type, geography, organisational priorities and resources. The group however did feel that there was a strong offer and story to tell on the energy performance of the social housing stock. As such this message will be further explored at our November meeting.
We also spent some time looking at a summary of some members’ asset management strategies and the purpose of this exercise was to improve the Federation’s understanding of asset management approaches and priorities within members’ organisations and to generate discussion and comparison within the group. It was clear and understandable that we all have differing approaches to asset management and on that basis more analysis is needed and this will form a topic of conversation at our November meeting.
HACT are delivering a new initiative, helping develop common data standards for key maintenance related activities to improve data quality and of course this will help improve efficiency. We will continue to monitor progress and report back on their work in due course.
So as we move towards the end of the year and our November meeting its clear this group has a great focus and has the ability to help influence and guide the National Housing Federation’s work to help champion the quality of our existing homes.
The purpose of the Quality of Existing Homes Group is to lead, inform and influence the Federation’s work on existing homes and the group focuses on three strategic themes:
- portfolio management (strategic asset management)
- safety and compliance
- quality of homes.