housing & housing services

Improving Financial Management Across Housing Associations

housing & housing services

08:45 - 16:00

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only


This Forum will provide delegates with the opportunity to discuss innovative techniques for delivering outstanding financial management across the housing sector. Participants will hear from key sector leaders on effectively meeting regulatory standards and accessing alternative funding options. In addition, best practice cases studies will share strategies for developing effective financial models, harnessing technology to improve income management and attracting investment to increase housing supply.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Housing Sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Finance Directors
  • Financial Consultants
  • Finance Managers
  • Heads of Finance
  • Quality Improvement Officers
  • Heads of Business Development and Strategy
  • Finance Leads
  • Chief Executives

This forum is also open to the Voluntary and Local Government Sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive, Regulator of Social Housing
  • Piers Williamson, Chief Executive, Housing Finance Corporation
  • Jane Porter, Chief Executive, Optivo
  • Pete Beaumont, Financial Inclusion Manager and Christopher Gent, Debt Recovery Manager, Wakefield District Housing
View the agenda and additional speakers

Three million new social homes are needed to tackle the housing crisis, according to research published by Shelter in 2019. This demand comes at a time of financial uncertainty for the housing sector, with rising rent arrears and a decrease of those investing in housing, with only a quarter of 30-year-olds who will own their own homes by 2020, down from half in the 1980s.

In order to combat growing housing prices and lack of supply, the government pledged in its 2017 Autumn budget to build 300,000 new homes a year. This was followed by the announcement of £1.67 billion in June 2018 to build 23,000 new affordable homes and social homes, alongside a further £500 million in January 2019 to boost the supply, further inundated by £3 billion in the 2019 Spring Statement. The government’s commitment to increasing housing supply has put pressure on the housing sector to increase house building whilst operating sustainable financial models.

There have been several developments across the housing sector which will require housing associations to demonstrate financial excellence. The Housing Sector Scorecard was introduced in March 2018, which provides a metrics system for housing associations to measure their performance and value for money. The introduction of policies such as the rollout of Universal Credit in March 2018 and the implementation of the Pay to Stay scheme has resulted in increasing rent arrears.

It is imperative that housing associations are able to demonstrate financial excellence and ensuring financially robust business models, in order to meet greater regulatory requirements to improve services and enhance customer satisfaction, whilst simultaneously meeting supply demands propelled by the housing shortage.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics, London School of Economics (LSE) (invited)


Morning Keynote: Ensuring Effective Financial Management – The Regulator’s Expectations

  • Understanding what constitutes outstanding financial management in the housing sector, such as providing a robust framework that ensures that housing associations deliver value for money
  • Outlining the regulator’s expectations for financial management among housing associations, including governance and viability standards
  • Ensuring that value for money is achieved through public investment in housing and discussing what constitutes value for money
  • Understanding the implications of the Social Housing Green Paper for financial management and consumer standards

Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive, Regulator of Social Housing (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Delivering Value for Money Across Housing Associations

  • Understanding the Sector Scorecard, which provides benchmark areas figures for housing associations across 15 areas to judge the value for money performance of housing associations
  • Examining findings from the Sector Scorecard Analysis Report, 2018 including how the average operating margin has fallen more than 2% in the last year and costs per unit have risen at above inflation
  • Outlining how no housing association achieved more than seven results in the upper quartile, with most having two or three, demonstrating a need for improved financial management, and the main factors that caused this
  • Discussing what may have caused a decrease in operating margins, such as ongoing rent reduction, greater pressure on costs and welfare reform

Clare Miller, Chair, Sector Scorecard Advisory Group (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Supporting Improved Financial Management Across Housing Associations

  • Understanding the commercial pressures that housing associations face and what underpins excellent financial management
  • Exploring the new Housing Data Standard and how this will improve sustainability through financial and income information data
  • Outlining how housing associations can use the Data Standard as a platform to underpin excellence in financial data management across the housing sector
  • Emphasising how ‘good’ data is critical to providing high-quality standards and how the reliability of data to use fewer resources

Rob Wray, Deputy CEO, Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) (invited)


Case Study: Implementing an Award-Winning Financial Management Strategy

  • Outlining Havebury Housing’s outstanding financial management strategy, which resulted in being awarded the Finance Team of the Year award in the medium-sized housing organisation category at the HANA Awards, 2018
  • Securing a new £270 million funding package from a range of investors, to expand on its development programme by delivering an additional 1400 new homes over five years
  • Examining how Havebury Housing was able to attract this funding, including adopting a whole market approach for extra funding and a review of existing funding to ensure it is efficient and flexible
  • Discussing how the housing association plans to utilise this funding in line with overall business aims and how it will be incorporated into the financial management strategy
  • Sharing guidance on developing successful partnerships with private financial investors and top tips for attractive investment

Marie McCleary, Director of Resources, Havebury Housing (invited)

Finance Team of the Year Award in the Medium-Sized Housing Organisation Category, HANA Awards, 2018


Case Study: Overcoming Universal Credit Challenges and Improving Tenancy Sustainment

This session will provide delegates with the opportunity to hear best practice of managing rent arrears and overcoming universal credit challenges. Wakefield District Housing will share initiatives to support customers to manage universal credit, maintain organisational cash flow and collection and reduce enforcement action.

Pete Beaumont, Financial Inclusion Manager and Christopher Gent, Debt Recovery Manager, Wakefield District Housing (CONFIRMED)

Winners of An Outstanding Approach to Income Management Award, UK Housing Awards 2017


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Successfully Accessing Funding to Deliver New Homes and Meet Housing Supply Demands

  • Examining the landscape of housing finance in the UK, including the impact of welfare changes, sector mergers and housing shortage
  • Outlining the role of the Housing Finance Corporation as a lender of long-term debt to housing associations in the UK to enable them to contribute to the development of the affordable housing sector
  • Highlighting how providing effective financial practice which makes efficiency savings and maximizes quality, can help to tackle the housing crisis by enabling more houses to be built for less money
  • Understanding the range of funding options available and sharing guidance on how to successfully attract funding
  • Examining progress made in implementing the recommendations outlined in the Investing in Affordable Housing report, 2016, and the next steps that still need to be taken

Piers Williamson, Chief Executive, Housing Finance Corporation (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Interactive Roundtable Discussion: Co-Producing Solutions to the Sector’s Financial Challenges

This session will provide delegates with the opportunity to work together to co-produce solutions to the biggest financial challenges facing the sector today. Each table will be led by a speaker to facilitate discussion and develop effective solutions to a specific issue. There will then be an opportunity to present back to the wider room and a wider discussion to agree the best approach to each scenario. 


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Utilising Innovative Technology to Improve Financial Management

  • Adopting a ‘patchless’ approach to financial management, with all customer contact through CRM queues which has reduced the number of housing officer visits by 30%
  • Highlighting how this resulted in significant cost savings, alongside improving customer service by increasing customer choice and convenience
  • Harnessing customer insight to implement a more tailored sign up process for tenants, improving services and allowing Optivo to take a risk-based approach to financial management
  • Gaining an insight into Optivo’s development of an advanced chatbot, which aims to make significant efficiency savings by enabling one member of staff to manage several enquiries at a time
  • Discussing how embracing digital transformation in housing association can improve the quality of services, enhance customer service and generate more cost-efficient income management

Jane Porter, Chief Executive, Optivo (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing a Resilient Financial Model Which Ensures Business Growth

  • Discussing how streamlining their project management process by directly engaging with the supply chain resulted in savings of more than £1 million
  • Highlighting how Hyde Group utilise a range of funding incomes, including government funding and long-term funding from banks and investors
  • Examining how the housing association restructured its loan portfolio to adequately respond to a material refinancing exposure and reduce its treasury management risk
  • Sharing guidance on developing a financially robust business model which aligns with organisational goals

Peter Denton, Group Finance Director, Hyde Group (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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