Responding to coronavirus – views from the Finance Policy Advisory Group

In a collection of short articles, members of the Finance Policy Advisory Group (FPAG) have commented on the impact of coronavirus on the sector, in their own organisations, and across all regions of England. Nathan Mallows, Director of Finance & IT at Coastline Housing Group and Chair of FPAG, reflects on the past few months and outlines the content provided by the group.

In these times, unprecedented in recent history, I am thankful to be surrounded in different parts of my life by brilliant people who can offer their thoughts and insight into such uncharted waters. Through this crisis, all of us in FPAG are doing our best to keep our residents, communities, staff, and loved ones safe.

From a professional point of view, the board, executive and my colleagues at Coastline provide a generous balance of challenge, support and encouragement – and in a wider sense, chairing FPAG has given me access to a breadth of knowledge and experience that continues to be of real benefit to me and my housing association. 

With that in mind, we have brought together a series of articles looking at the impact of coronavirus on the sector, not with a single voice of expertise, but like many of the meetings of this group a variety of thoughts from across the country and from organisations both large and small:

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting for social housing

Susan Hickey, Board Member, Westmoreland Supported Housing Association

Managing an in-house repair team

Michelle Allott, Director of Finance, Together Housing Group

David Armstrong, Chief Financial Officer, Flagship Group

Raising funds in lockdown

Phil Day, Group Finance Director, The Guinness Partnership

To issue or not to issue

Phil Elvy, Executive Director of Finance, Great Places Housing Group

Valuation concerns

Nasreen Hussain, Director of Finance & Resources, Soha Housing

Accounting for coronavirus

Rob Griffiths, Deputy Chief Executive & Chief Financial Officer, Longhurst Group

Supporting our communities

James Walder, Executive Director of Finance & Business Support, North Star

The view from our regional forums

Lawrence Morris, Policy Officer, National Housing Federation

I hope these articles provide some reference points for what different organisations are doing to continue to provide much needed services during this pandemic, and also give you the impetus to get involved with your regional finance forum if you are not currently. 

As we transition to whatever our new normal might be, I think one of the things that isolation seems to have delivered is more communication, more content, more connections and more patience and understanding.   

Hopefully, in addition to giving you a cross-check of the things other finance teams are doing, these articles will prompt you to get involved with your regional forum – details of the chairs of these below.

Regional forum chairs

  • North West – Michelle Allott, Together Housing Group  
  • North East – Janette Longstaff, Bernicia Group   
  • Yorkshire and Humber – Sean Flynn, Connect Housing
  • Midlands – Simon Hatchman, PA Housing  
  • East – David Armstrong, Flagship Group    
  • London and South East – Penny Foulds, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust 
  • South West – Nick Jackson, Plymouth Community Homes 

If you're interested in making contact or getting involved with your regional forum, please email the NHF.