Update from the West Midlands Regional Committee: Embracing the challenge to be even better

Update from Boris Worrall, Chair, National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee

26 October 2018

These are incredibly exciting times in housing and this is when that the National Housing Federation regional committees come into their own as an open, honest and challenging way for the National Housing Federation to check in on major policy and influence strategies.

At our October meeting we spent a lot of time on some really key topics. Probably the most critical is the Housing Green Paper, where we should, and will, embrace the challenges set out there to listen, engage and be more open and accountable. These changes are coming and we should neither resist nor fear them - but rather shape the detail and steer Government to meaningful and appropriate outcomes which matter to our customers.

On that we agreed the work around Tenant Voice and consumer regulation should be linked to the existing Code of Governance rather than ‘yet another thing’ because boards take it seriously and it’s well established. We talked a lot about league tables and ratings and all the rest of it - we understood they may be coming but want to ensure they whatever the response is, it’s meaningful and what customers want, as well as proportionate. The Federation and most of our organisations are involved in events to gather customer views on this. By taking a co-creation approach between us, our customers, Government and the regulator we should be able to deliver something positive. 

We also checked in on the current state of national politics and the risks to us if we don’t respond the recent Government policy announcements and call to arms to deliver the new homes at scale this country so desperately needs. As she said last month, the Prime Minister is counting on us and the window of opportunity will not remain for ever.

The Voluntary Right to Buy is another risk for us; Government and indeed customers will be looking to us to ensure we played our part in making this work and there are likely to be disappointed customers out there for one reason or another. The Federation and those associations on the sounding board will be monitoring progress closely to ensure communication is effective. 

Finally we are delighted to be welcoming the Great Places Commission to the Midlands on 4-5 December. The visit will seek to cover the Black Country, Birmingham and Coventry, exploring the role of housing in the West Midlands economy and examples of regeneration and economic development. If you want to be involved or find our more then please contact Nick Yandle or get in touch with regional champion Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive of WM Housing.

Boris Worrall
Chair, National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee