Opportunities and threats for 2010
A shorter version of this article by CIH's Richard Capie first appeared on the Regeneration and Renewal website on 23 December 2009.
Key opportunities in 2010
People are watching closely to see what happens with the general election. A new government of any party is going to have to make some very difficult decisions. For housing and regeneration, opportunities will exist to push for reforms and promote fresh ideas that perhaps in more settled times would be approached with greater caution. Given the scale of the economic challenge we face, the door is certainly open for innovation, especially around new approaches to investment and how we can make better use of existing homes.
How organisations can prepare themselves for those opportunities
Retaining focus will be key. The first thing has to be getting businesses in order and ensuring core services to existing residents and communities are delivering. Given the economic climate, it has to be about making sure that you are operating as efficiently as possible and that you are managing risk carefully. Not just your own direct exposure but also thinking about the communities in which you are operating and how cuts in public spending would affect your partners.
Key threats in 2010
There are two key issues that organisations are going to have to contend with. First, a degree of uncertainty in the lead up to the election and what changes might come under a new government. For example, the Conservatives have been clear about changes at the regional level. These ideas would take time to come in to force - its particularly important that during any change disruption around delivery is minimalised. Second and the issue that everyone is acutely aware of, is the wider economic climate and in particular public spending cuts. A huge amount of activity in housing and regeneration has been underpinned by public spending. The cuts in public spending are going to be painful and with the NHS, education and defence prioritised there are real concerns about how housing and regeneration will fare.
How organisations can prepare themselves for those threats
At the national and local level we have to be much more articulate about the importance of housing and regeneration to the economy, to education, to health. There is really positive story to be told and we are going to have to fight hard to secure investment - whether to transform estates, finish decent homes or build new affordable housing. We need to make the case for how this investment will contribute to wider national and local government ambitions. For individual organisations the overwhelming focus has to be on having the right people with the right skills and resources in place to support your business and take forward a focus on achieving greater efficiency and value for money.
CIH Director of Policy and Practice