Housing sector must look to the future, SFHA conference hears

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​Housing association body says farewell to departing chief executive

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1st June 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The housing sector must ensure it is preparing now to remain resilient to help the tenants of tomorrow.

This is the key message delivered by the chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Mary Taylor, at the group’s annual conference.

The event, entitled Housing the Future, takes place on 1 and 2 June in Glasgow and explores how innovative design and technology can be used to respond to ever-changing tenant needs.

Delegates will also look at who will be leading housing associations in the years to come and ask whether there needs to be more focus on succession planning to ensure that today’s chief executives and chairs can pass the baton on to others to maintain resilient and well-functioning organisations.

The conference comes as Taylor prepares to retire at the end of June.

She said: “In recent years, the SFHA campaigned for, and welcomed, the increase in the Scottish Government’s affordable housing target and the grant rate, which will help deliver the 50,000 homes. While this will assist in housing future tenants, we have to ensure that the sector can also remain resilient and operate within an ever-changing political climate.

“Whether there are challenges or opportunities ahead, we must be able to recognise these and respond by equipping our organisations with the staff and boards who will be able to lead housing associations now and in the future.”

The conference will be addressed by Minister for Housing Kevin Stewart.

He said: “We are committed to continuing our investment in housing in Scotland and ensuring everyone can access an affordable home. In the past 10 years, the Scottish Government delivered over 65,300 affordable homes, 70% of which are for social rent and ended the Right to Buy.

“We took those actions in partnership with organisations, such as the SFHA, and we recognise and commend the crucial role Scottish housing associations play in delivering more affordable homes for Scotland’s communities.

“I would also like to thank Mary Taylor for her hard work and dedication over the past seven years and for playing a key role in ensuring the housing sector is preparing now to house the tenants of tomorrow.”

Taylor will be succeeded by Sally Thomas, who will take up the post next month.