Another successful Service Provider Forum meeting

With over 50 delegates, expert speakers and an extensive scope of agenda, last week’s NHMF Service Provider Forum meeting was a perfect example of why collaboration within our sector is so important. It was apparent that there is a lot to be aware of in terms of legislation and regulation, learning to correct misapprehensions we may have, the needing to challenge the status quo, but overall, a really positive feeling of we’re ‘in it together.”

spfjuly2 image source : SPF July 2024

Following the welcome by Chair, Mike Turner (Non-Executive Director at Ian Williams Ltd), we had a compliance update from NHMF Deputy Secretary Andrew Burke. Andrew warned how Principal accountable persons must register high-rise buildings before 1st October in light of the implementation of the Building Safety Regulator. Rather than seeing it as a negative, Andrew encouraged delegates to take the positives from it in terms of their own compliance, safety, and organisational improvements.

What does good look like?
This dove-tailed neatly into Stephanie Lloyd-Foxe MBA MCMI MSc MCIArb from Magna Housing Ltd, who spoke passionately about how it’s time for the social housing supply chain to ensure we do more than just the bare or legal minimum. Stephanie asked the room to consider ‘what good looks like’, urged delegates to think longer term and expressed how more often than not, it is cultural change that will make the biggest difference. Not an easy ask, but a necessary one if we collectively, are ultimately going to keep everyone safe and deliver a great product. Stephanie also shared Andrew’s view of

how ‘laser focused’ the BSR is going to be and how successful organisations will be those with the most robust processes.  

No damp without mould

Next we were privileged to have a thought provoking and information-rich presentation on damp and mould from renowned expert, Professor Michael Parrett. Also known as The Damp Doctor following his appearance on TV’s Raising the Roof, Michael is a building pathologist and author of the first independent practitioners’ guide on dampness.

Michael took us back to the basic chemistry of air quality.  He warned that there are over 6 million current damp / mould hazards waiting to happen and that if – and it’s a big if – we were in a position to remedy the situation and eradicate the risk to health, it would cost in the region of £21 billion. He underlined the lack of understanding and skillsets around the subject and his most important message was that landlords and contractors need to go beyond the symptoms to the root causes.

Rethink; redefine  

Fortunately, in the face of the challenges set out by Andrew, Stephanie and Michael, delegates were able to see how innovation in the sector is helping us all meet these challenges and guide the future direction of travel towards excellence. Simon Davis from Rand Associates introduced delegates to the latest cutting-edge asset management digital platform, M3Vision. It’s the first database of its kind to be specifically built around the M3NHF Schedule of Rates, to combine responsive & planned works.

Finally, thank you to Matthew Scott from the Chartered Institute of Housing for sharing the initial findings of research associated with the Better Social Housing Review. Focusing on the point 3 of the key recommendations of the report which states: “Housing associations should partner with tenants, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like.” Matthew expressed the group’s desire to work closely with Forum members to input into the formation of a new Best Practice Group, facilitate conversations between housing professionals, service providers and a diverse range of residents, and ultimately to rethink and redefine how we deliver. If you’d like to contribute to this group, please contact NHMF Service Provider Secretary Ben Virgo (M3 / NHMF).

There was so much debate and engagement on each of the subjects that we had to wrap it up before over-running but rest assured – we’ll be keeping the conversations going as the Forum is now the UK’s largest voice for social housing service providers.

A massive thank you to all our speakers and delegates and we look forward to seeing you in person in London on the 13th September. Contact to register your attendance.

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The NHMF is the leading body representing housing providers, committed to championing innovation to deliver excellence in maintenance and asset management