I was appointed Chair of the NHC on the 5th November 2010 – I was delighted to take up the position although I was somewhat surprised by the firework display that my Board colleagues had apparently organised to welcome me into my new role! In those years we’ve seen great social innovations – when I became Chair, Nick Atkin hadn’t yet joined Twitter, nobody used a selfie stick and Netflix has grown from 10 million users to more than 65 million. We are constantly changing how we engage with the world and how we expect services to be delivered, shaped for our expectations. I don’t think this is any less true for the NHC and its members.
I’ve enjoyed my time as Chair immensely, I think the NHC has grown in stature during this time, working closer with politicians and decision makers, ensuring the aspirations and needs of the North are acknowledged. I know the housing sector has experienced significant change in the past few years with the advent of welfare reform, the concept of “affordable” rather than “social” rents, local authorities in particular have seen significant financial cuts. And of course there is more change to come and the reality is that change never stops. So in the face of change, what options do we have? Firstly we need to recognise when to change ourselves out of choice rather than changing when we have no option. But perhaps as importantly, we need to ensure we preserve our values and those characteristics we possess which build our resilience. For me this is an essential component that will sustain the NHC over the coming years.
The Consortium continues to build on its core values – to offer exceptional value for money for its members, to be increasingly connected to its membership, to bring members together and in so doing create stronger networks of passionate, innovative, aspirational leaders who remain committed to serving their communities, making a difference every day.
Over the past five years I’ve been privileged to work alongside some fantastic board members past and present. Every NHC Board member I’ve worked with has been extremely committed to the Consortium and the wider North. They give up their time, energy and expertise to help steer the Consortium and hopefully, they like me, feel a huge benefit in return.
I’d also like to place on record my thanks to Jo – who joined the Consortium as Chief Executive just one month prior to me taking up the role of Chair. I’ve enjoyed working alongside Jo for the past five years as she has strengthened the role and contribution of the Consortium. I am confident that Jo and the team will drive the NHC forward to an even brighter future – where engagement is always refreshed, where services are bespoke and meaningful.
As I step down from the Board I remain a passionate member of, and, advocate for the Consortium and I will continue to do all I can to support it in its role of the Voice of Housing in the North.