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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

‘The national housing picture looks very different regionally – it’s vital to work together to share learning and experience’


Ahead of CIH’s Eastern Policy Event regional manager Rebecca Clarke reflects on a tumultuous year for housing and what the future holds for the region.

Looking back on the last 12 months in housing, it’s no exaggeration to say we have faced challenges and even tragedy unprecendented in the last 30-40 years. It’s been said that the spotlight is on housing now more than at any other point during that period.

As a result, the policy landscape has drastically changed and will undoubtedly continue to do so, especially in the coming months. There are several drivers behind this, including:

1. The Social Housing Green Paper (due to be published in the Spring)
2. The Hackitt Report (due to be published in late May) and of course the wider Grenfell Tower Inquiry
3. The Homelessness Reduction Act
4. The continued roll-out of universal credit

It’s abundantly clear that the national picture looks very differently regionally and locally. However, the one golden strand running through all of these issues is that we all need to do something, the pressure is on us to respond and respond effectively and efficiently, whatever that may look like.

CIH Eastern is pleased to answer the call when it comes to regional policy and what that looks like. It is absolutely vital that as a sector we work together regionally, to drive best practice through shared learning and experience. Our CIH Eastern Policy event is the ideal arena to get to grips with the big policy topics and how they manifest themselves in the day-to-day workings of the housing sector.

CIH’s own head of policy Melanie Rees will be kicking things off to give us the headlines. What are the big policy changes that we should all be thinking about and what do these look like in the Eastern region?

This event takes place in the Trinity Centre Cambridge Science Park on June 6 – just a week after the publication of the Hackitt Review is due. We are delighted to be joined by Darren Hartley of the TAROE Trust (Tenants and Residents Organisation of England). While government largely sets the tone policy-wise, it is essential that the voices of tenants remain central to all of our work and policies. TAROE have been a fundamental part of the Hackitt working group, ensuring that tenants’ voices are championed. Darren will discuss the review and its implications for the sector.

We’ll also hear about successful partnership working – something that is still in its infancy in our region – from

Andrew Taylor, formerly of the Royal Town Planning Institute and now of Countryside will discuss the development policies that landlords need to understand. The pressure is on following the previous government White Paper for social landlords to pick up some of the slack from the private sector. It is paramount that organisations think creatively, but also look at policy in relation to their purpose. How organisations define themselves should always then be linked into policy to ensure that they are working in the most stable way. And of course this is an area the regulator will be scrutinising more and more.

We’ll be exploring the early findings of one of the most pivotal pieces of research to come from the sector in decades – Rethinking social housing. What is social housing? Who is social housing for? What is the role and purpose of social housing?. Again, what this looks like in the Eastern region is worlds apart from London or even the North West, so this session should prove insightful and set the scene for what is to come for the sector in years to come.

We end the day with a panel debate into what the future holds. Previous speakers will be be joined by Ashfield District Council housing strategy lead Emma Lindley, who is embarking on a crucial piece of research into professionalism within the housing sector; Broadland Group assistant director of housing and CIH Futures member Adam Clark. and Dan Short from our sponsors Greenacre who will look at the implications policy shifts will have for the skills gap and succession planning.

In the current climate, we think it’s crucial to not only be talking and thinking all things policy, but taking action. This event can be a catalyst – we’d love to see you there.

The CIH Eastern Policy Event takes place on 6 June at Cambridge Science Park. Find out more and book your place

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