National Housing Federation Summit 2019: Five Things We Learned

By Mushtaq Khan

I was at the National Housing Federation Summit in London last week. Here’s a few important takeaways from the two days:

  1. Nothing is going to get done in terms of housing (or any other) activity until Brexit is ‘done’. Although booked to appear, the latest new Housing Minister was unable to attend and even though we continue to hear about the housing crisis, policy pronouncements were thin on the ground. Information on what’s the future of the Race Disparity Unit, for example, isn’t at the top of the Government’s Agenda. Grenfell Tower and the implications of that tragedy seem to be receding into the distance.
  1. The Shadow Housing Minister, Sharon Jones, did attend and made the welcome announcement that Labour would direct funds to help smaller (and thus specialist) housing associations to build. She also talked about the levels of homelessness in her consistency, whilst the figures show that a disproportionate 46% of households presenting as homeless in Croydon were from a black ethnic background.
  1. Mentoring continues to be a ladder to getting on in your career. It was a hot topic at the excellent parallel Future Leaders conference, and was the subject that I had most feedback on after my session on Inclusive Leadership. For what it’s worth for me, it all about building confidence and getting an external perspective on things, which is best provided by someone outside your organisation.
  1. The National Housing Federation have commissioned HDN to do a piece of working looking at the state of play in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion across the sector. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and the outputs should help highlight best practice, whilst probably conforming that much more needs to be done.
  1. There was a really interesting session with speakers from EY (one of the Big Four) and Stonewall around innovation and asking the right questions around equality and inclusion. It’s clear that some sectors are marching further ahead, and trying new things and approaches; does it mean that we’re being left behind?