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Some of our best bits from Housing 2022

– 5 min read

We were really pleased to join some familiar faces and meet plenty of new ones at Housing 2022 last week.

Our very own speakers took to the festival’s stages to discuss timely topics such as the levelling up agenda, leadership and innovation, regeneration, partnerships, climate change, and economic recovery.

Here are some of our best bits...

Leadership and creating a great work culture

Living at the edge of your ability, was one of the very first Housing 2022 sessions. Greg Reed, Group Chief Executive Officer, joined Inside Housing’s Martin Hilditch and World Cup-winning cricketer, Ebony Rainford-Brent. Greg talked about tried and tested leadership strategies and tools which can be applied to any sector and treating everyone in your organisation as important – a theme that followed nicely from our first Drop the Mic event.

“Understanding everyone is important is key. Our 10,000 people are the ones delivering services for our customers. If we look after our people, they’ll take care of our customers. Someone said to me once that I’m more important. And I say we’re all important, we just have different jobs.”

Greg Reed, Group Chief Executive Officer

The Government’s Procurement Reform Bill

Alan Heron, Director of Procurement at Procurement Hub took to the Keynote stage for The Public Procurement Reform Bill: What does it mean for the housing sector? session.

Alongside representatives from the Cabinet Office, Alan talked about procurement being seen as a strategic function rather than an administrative one, and the importance of organisations properly preparing its procurement teams for the incoming Procurement Bill.

“Procurement is not about contracts, it’s about people. It’s about people having desks in schools, it’s about giving people a safe and protective home. Procurement should always be purposeful.”

Alan Heron, Director of Procurement at Procurement Hub

Challenges and barriers to large-scale regeneration

After a busy first day, our teams headed back to Housing 2022 for day two.

It was an early start with Scott Black, Executive Director – Development chairing Large-scale estate regeneration: barriers to delivery with partner ilke Homes, Vistry Partnerships and Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

It was clear from this session that we’ve got to work with key stakeholders at an early stage to understand the needs and requirements of each area. Communication and collaboration are key – from the community to partners and local authorities. This was a big subject, and the session only scratched the surface, but with a key focus on keeping customers involved and informed at every stage, and getting buy-in from the start.

Did someone mention pups?

We were over the moon to meet some VIP guests as charity partners, Guide Dogs, paid everyone at the snazzy Procurement Hub stand a visit. The pups were very well behaved, patiently posing for selfies with everyone – and we expected nothing less from these amazing canines!

Retrofitting homes and reaching net zero

Derek Watters, Head of Environmental Sustainability, joined the Retrofit today, ready for tomorrow panel, where he talked about a more consistent approach across the Government – a national approach to what is a national issue, and used our DREEAM project in Padiham as a key case study. The panel talked about the challenges to retrofit, particularly around the current energy increases and not having customers buying into retrofitting. The panel agreed that this could be resolved by communicating with customers right from the very start of a retrofit project. Other challenges include good procurement and that the sector simply isn't collaborating or sharing insight into retrofitting or net zero solutions, despite climate change being a collective issue facing humanity. It was made very clear that Places for People is looking to collaborate with innovative people and organisations as we cannot reach our net zero goals alone.

The link between transport, housing, and decarbonisation

Derek Watters, spoke again at The housing link to transport decarbonisation session. Discussion points included having one funding stream from the Government and wider parameters to access funding, reducing the amount of spend on less sustainable transport, and building homes where infrastructure and amenities are within walking distance.

How do we address climate change?

Our younger members of the Places for People team and Unlock Next Gen confidently took to the Fringe Festival stage for Building tomorrow's future: Unlock Next Gen. There was a sense of frustration that despite being on the precipice of some crucial tipping points, young people’s voices still aren’t being heard. The need for honesty yet positivity featured in the talk, as did young people wanting to have more responsibility to make a change.

“We need to take regulations further – taking action to become more sustainable is more than just EPC ratings. We also need to break the barrier in the commercial environment, collaborate and share opinions and thoughts.”

Grigory Grebennikov, Environmental Data Analyst Emerging Talent

Putting the customer at the heart of everything we do

As well as opening one of Housing 2022’s first sessions, Greg Reed also spoke at one of the event's closing talks, Aligning the organisation with customer centricity.

Greg talked about calling residents “customers” and treating them better than they have been treated before. People’s homes are an emotive subject and housing is an important sector in which to be customer focused. It’s crucial we speak with our customers, be clear on what matters most to them, and really consider where customers feature in our processes.

“I see lots of complaints and there is a focus on being right, but my view is the customer is still going to be unhappy. If you are going to be customer focused, you can’t walk past issues – you have to think about yourself as the customer.”

Greg Reed, Group Chief Executive Officer

As part of Housing 2022, Greg Reed, Group Chief Executive Officer gave his first interview to Inside Housing. You can read Greg's Inside Housing feature, here.

For more updates on Housing 2022 sessions, follow our Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

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