12 Jul 2021

Voting now open for the next CIH vice-president

CIH members can now cast their vote in the 2021 Chartered Institute of Housing vice-president elections.

You can find out more about this year's candidates by reading their manifesto's below.

Jill Haley - Chief executive, Byker Community Trust


Housing wasn’t promoted as a career of choice back in the 80s, it still isn’t and I can’t for the life of me understand why. After 40 years working in housing, I can safely say that it is one of the best industries to work in, so why is it that most of us end up in housing by default rather than choice?  

When I started working in local authority housing aged 16, it was a case of needs must.  I was suddenly orphaned aged 13 and my life was turned upside down. The youngest of four, I moved in with my 21-year-old sister.  I worked Saturdays in a hairdressers, to pay my way and learnt that if you took good care of customers, they were appreciative (and gave tips).  Working helped me through those difficult years and taught me the value of excellent customer care.  

Aged 16, I resigned myself to becoming a hairdressing apprentice at £25pw. The careers office disagreed, sending me for an interview with the housing department. A scale 1 clerk job paid £47pw; I could give my sister £20 leaving £27 for me - result!

My first job involved sorting post, filing, typing and making the tea. I delivered a shared copy of Inside Housing to SMT; once read, executives crossed their initials off the front cover.  Sitting in the filing cupboard, the young me would read it avidly, thinking “I hope one day my initials will be on this magazine”.

I became CEO of Byker Community Trust housing association in March 2012, until retirement in July 2021.  This period was the most challenging, and rewarding, of my career.  

It’s a great thing, that a teenager can start in housing making the tea, develop and grow, and become Chief Executive.

As a Fellow Member, I am a proud ambassador of the CIH, becoming actively involved with the NE Board, ultimately appointed Chair.

CIH Professional Standards and qualifications provide an excellent framework for the professionalism expectations running throughout the Housing White Paper.

If elected, my focus would be:

1. Housing as a career of choice and profession to be proud of:

  • Raise the profile of the profession and increase awareness of the sector’s social value and purpose
  • Demonstrate the pride we have in our sector, our jobs, our work, and our achievements.
  • Work with other membership bodies and organisations in a cohesive way, with one voice and shared goals.

2. Promotion and growth of CIH membership and training:

  • Demonstrate the value of membership and qualifications to individuals and organisations.  
  • Convince employers that membership and training will enhance staff performance, business outcomes and customer satisfaction. 
  • Increase understanding of the value of CPD, professional support, networking and good practice.

3. CIH to become the Professional Standards body for the sector:

  • Influence Government policy on professional expectations and standards for the benefit of all. 
  • Develop CIH generic characteristics and behaviours, for members and non-members alike.
  • Promote Professional Standards, Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics for all.
Chan Kataria - Chief executive, East Midlands Housing Group

Housing has never been more important to the future of our nation. As CIH vice-president my aim would be to drive awareness of and support for decent, affordable homes further up the public and political agendas, and to promote the highest level of professional standards.

Being a CIH board member since 2019 I’ve seen how much effort goes into doing this and making the Institute more accessible and appealing to everyone working in the housing industry. The pandemic and social changes of recent years mean that the sector now works in very different and more demanding times.

This changed environment points to many of the things that are most important to me, which I’ve pursued throughout my 36-year housing career. Homelessness continues to blight too many people’s lives and prospects, so I’ll work closely with president Jo Richardson to support her Homeful campaign. I shall also use the vice-president role to be a powerful advocate for greater diversity, inclusion and opportunity in the profession.

As chief executive of emh, I’m proud that we’ve created more than 160 apprenticeships over the past three years, an award-winning training Academy, and a thriving care and support business. Building more homes remains an absolute priority, and as one of Homes England’s first strategic partners, my organisation has hugely benefitted from the greater certainty and flexibility of a longer-term approach.

Right now though, as we recover from and learn to live with the coronavirus, I believe that people’s personal wellbeing and life chances should have equal status. As vice-president I’ll also want to build on the work done by predecessors around mental health, domestic abuse and tackling the persistent stigma highlighted in the Social Housing White Paper.

I came to this country as an eleven-year-old immigrant in the early 1970s, when my family was forced to leave Uganda. After finishing university, I knew I wanted to work in an area with a social purpose where I could make a difference. So I began my working life at a local authority, supporting homeless people. These early experiences have guided me ever since and continue to underpin the values and ethics that I seek to bring to everything I do.

Over the years I’ve been actively involved in the governance of other bodies such as the National Housing Federation, PlaceShapers, HouseMark, Shelter Aid, Confederation of British Industry and East Midlands Chamber. I also continue to sit on the boards of a local college and hospice. These roles have taught me the importance of collaboration and partnership. I’m confident that CIH is well-placed to influence levelling up, net zero, social care and many other big issues of the day, but success depends on working imaginatively with others. 

I was recently a statutory appointee to an organisation that had to close its doors after hitting financial and regulatory difficulties – a reminder that tough times lie ahead. I hope that my passion for housing and social justice can keep a modern, dynamic CIH at the centre of what’s to come.

Lara Oyedele - Chair, Hope Housing (Bradford) Limited

I am a social housing success story. I grew up in a council house. In my early 20s I became homeless and was then given my first council flat. This experience moved me to pursue a career in social housing. I wanted to provide to others the security that my council flat had provided me. 

I am asking for the privilege of vice-presidency so I can continue to positively promote the social housing sector. I have for many years been a passionate supporter of social housing staff, tenants and organisations. I also want to be a role model to other black and ethnic minority staff in the sector.

As president I’d promote:

  • a sector where racism is called out and leadership and governance teams are ethnically diverse. 
  • all discrimination to be called out and no group of people is side-lined.
  • increased membership and professional prestige to compare with RICS and RIBA. 
  • the encouragement of members to genuinely put tenants and residents at the centre of all we do as housing professionals.   
  • the provision of resources that support members’ emotional wellbeing and mental health as flexible working and ‘working from home’ becomes more of the norm. 

I am passionate about many things and want a kinder and equitable world. Housing is a fundamental need for everyone and all aspects of our lives are impacted by or have an impact on our housing situation. Therefore the CIH should be more proactive in challenging the current circumstances. I will work with staff, media and other stakeholders to enable the CIH to be vocally shaping the national agenda on;

  • The ever-diminishing amount of social housing for rent
  • Unreasonable over emphasis on home ownership
  • Second homers pricing out locals in rural areas, especially in parts of Wales
  • Childhood poverty and proliferation of foodbanks
  • Windrush & the hostile environment 
  • The cladding scandal, fire and building safety 
  • Homelessness and destitution
  • The stigmatisation (by the media and government) of social housing 

I am not afraid to challenge the status quo and ask the difficult questions. So please vote for me and I will do my very best to make a lasting and positive difference. Where there is a will, there is a way!

The Chartered Institute of Housing’s vice-president is crucial to help drive our organisation forward. The winning candidate will work with current CIH president Jo Richardson during her time in office, before going on to become the next CIH president in December 2022.

Every CIH member gets a single vote in the election and the candidate with the most votes will be the winner. Members have all received an email containing a unique voter link and code which must be used when casting votes. You can head to our partner site to cast your vote. The vote will be open until 5pm, 12 August 2021.

If you are a CIH member and have not received your voting information either by email or post, please contact Mi-Voice, the organisation supporting CIH during this election, by emailing support@mi-voice.com or calling +44 23 8076 3987.