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

Honesty and the context for change

01/08/2016


Karen Dusgate, chief executive at Family Housing Association, explains why she's putting honesty first at The BIG Question 2016 where she'll be talking change, organisational issues and the lessons learnt.

Have you ever decided to risk comfort and security, leave somewhere you were surrounded by people who shared your values and were going in the same direction to take a huge leap into the unknown? Well, I did! I left all of that behind me at Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association to join an organisation that was ‘in a bit of a pickle’. …

I joined Family Housing Association (FHA) as interim chief executive. The challenge I accepted was to conduct a review covering governance, risk, financial viability, tenant services, development and to lead an options appraisal to determine whether FHA could and should remain an independent organisation. Even before I joined the association I suspected the issues might run deeper than at first apparent. Over 20 months have passed since my appointment; so much has happened and so much has changed…

What we have achieved has not been possible without the support and involvement of others – our board, tenants, staff, lenders, the regulator and partners. Our session at The BIG Question 2016 will provide an opportunity to understand some of the issues we faced, and we will share the lessons we learned. I will be joined by Carol Kay, the association’s senior regulation manager, and we will give you an insight into some of the issues, which if not recognised, acknowledged and addressed, could affect any organisation.

Come along expecting the kind of honest review of the lessons we learnt along the way that isn’t always seen on stage at housing events. The theme for this year’s Big Question is ‘does Welsh housing need to change to succeed?’ We’ll be providing the honest context of what change at an organisational level can mean.

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