Virtual National Housing Conference 2021

"Building the future – the role of social housing in a post-pandemic society "

The 19th edition of the National Housing Conference played an important part in setting out the role of social housing in the country's transition from the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Over 5 days, our legal specialists were joined by a selection of industry and academic speakers. If you missed any sessions or would like to revisit what happened on particular days all the content is now available on-demand.

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On-demand content

Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic and the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit have severely disrupted construction, made it difficult for many households to pay for shelter, and seriously damaged the housing sector. Government has responded with a wide array of measures to protect tenants and mortgage-holders, as well as support builders and lenders. The sector is resilient, but major policy decisions will need to be made in order to effectively transition from immediate "rescue measures" to an environment capable of supporting the recovery and continued development of an efficient, inclusive and sustainable housing sector in Scotland. In this session we will hear from two leading academics on their views on the future direction of the housing sector in Scotland.

Day 1 content

 

Governance & Regulatory

Housing providers in Scotland face unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective governance, decision making and risk management have never been more important. At the same time, regulatory bodies require assurance that housing associations and Local Authorities are doing all they can to build and maintain resilience and future proof their organisations. In this session we will hear from regulators and consultants on their expectations for the sector moving forward and what they consider to be key priorities.

Day 2 content

 

Development & Procurement

What impact will COVID-19 and Brexit have on future housing supply in Scotland? In this session we will consider the risks associated with reduction in construction capacity and ways in which housing associations, developers, policy makers and funders can collaborate to navigate the short-term future of housing, aim to predict an uncertain future and match supply to demand, all in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and ensure that the sector in Scotland can continue to develop homes and strong communities.

Day 3 content

 

Finance

As with the rest of the economy, housing associations have faced numerous financial challenges in 2020 as a result of the direct impact of lockdown, the short-term closure of the housing market and increasing economic uncertainty. Despite this, the sector remains in a strong financial position overall and continues to enjoy the confidence of funders. Long-term funding remains available for those able to utilise it, but challenges lie ahead and housing associations will need to manage risk effectively to ensure that they can maintain services to tenants and plan and invest for the future. In this session we will hear from those involved in the social housing funding market on future challenges and opportunities and how the sector should respond.

Day 4 content

 

Digital Engagement

2020 has brought with it a range of operational challenges, as housing associations have had to move to a system of home-working, remote service delivery and digital engagement. While these new ways of working and delivering services have undoubtedly been challenging, they bring with them an opportunity to review and challenge traditional methodologies and introduce innovation at all levels of housing businesses. They say that "necessity is the mother of invention", and in this session we will consider ways in which the housing sector can use working practices and service delivery models which have been forced upon us as a springboard for exploring new ways of working and genuine innovation in tenant and customer engagement, including better and more creative use of current and emerging technologies.

Day 5 content