CIH Housing 2023 Preview: Five Things to Look Out For

CIH Housing is undoubtedly the biggest event in the social housing sector’s calendar and given the seismic shifts that have occurred within social housing (we’re looking at you cost of living, recruitment and retention, and damp and mould), this year’s event promises to be as packed full of hot topics as ever.

Housing professionals and stakeholders are gearing up to immerse themselves in insightful discussions and thought-provoking sessions that will shape the future of the housing sector. But what are the central themes that will inform the multitude of panel discussions, seminars and keynotes? Read on as we take a closer look at the crucial topics likely to be core themes of exhibitor offerings this year and bring you our five top picks for ‘must attend’ sessions at the event which runs from 26-19 June…

Central Themes at Manchester Central

The world of social housing rarely stands still but this past 12-18 months have been particularly topsy-turvy in nature, what with the cost of living crisis showing no signs of abating (and the ongoing effects of this impacting both tenants and social landlords’ ability to meet financial obligations), and other issues such as damp and mould presenting challenges.

Add to the mix the introduction of Tenant Satisfaction Measures, changes in legislation following the Awaab Ishak inquest, everything that came out of the Social Housing Whitepaper, plus the growing development and adoption of technologies such as AI, and we think you’ll agree that there’s plenty to get our teeth into.

At a time in which more and more tenants are falling into arrears and an increase in the number of repairs issues being raised (as a result of the government’s ‘Make Things Right’ campaign), tenant engagement has never been more pressing and as such, is high on the agenda for exhibitors and delegates alike.

Not To Be Missed Sessions

Talking About Homes: How to Frame Communications About Homes and Shift Mindsets

Taking place on day two of the conference (Tuesday, June 27), from 11:30 to 12:10, this masterclass aims to highlight the significance of how the sector talks about housing and why the language employed matters.

Led by Inside Housing deputy editor and author of Show Me The Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen, Pete Apps, and featuring Strategic Communications Manager at Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Natalie Tate, Senior Communications Strategist at FrameWorks UK, Sophie Gordon, and, Editor, Writer, and Policy Advisor, Denise Chevin MBE, this session promises to be packed with valuable insights.

The discussion will focus on moving away from viewing homes as mere commodities and towards understanding their pivotal role in ensuring a decent life. Drawing on research and recommendations from JRF, the Nationwide Foundation, and FrameWorks UK, attendees will learn effective communication strategies that foster better understanding of the need for affordable and high-quality homes.

Creating A Housing Market That Works for All

As we’ve discussed previously (and as you’re undoubtedly aware given that if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you work in social housing), the sector is quite tumultuous at present with providers and tenants facing all manner of difficulties. This session delves deeper into those critical challenges surrounding social housing at present and the wider impacts across all tenures.

Kicking off on Thursday 29 June (9.15 – 10.10) and featuring Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing and Residential Development, Tom Copley, housing policy expert, Toby Lloyd, and Director of Planning at Turley, Anna Relph, the keynote seeks to examine further how a lack of government policy clarity has hindered future planning for social landlords.

Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by the housing sector, with the discourse framed by the urgent interventions required from the next government in order for it contribute to shaping a housing market that works for all.

Improving Customer Satisfaction by Measuring Quality & Sustainability of Repair Rather Than Speed

Another one happening on Tuesday, June 27, we’ll be bringing you this eye-opening session live and direct from Stand G24 between 13:15 to 13:45. Featuring Director of Pre-Tenancy & Property Services at Karbon Homes, Jonathan Fletcher, this seminar takes a deep dive into the importance of social landlords prioritising repair quality and sustainability over speed, providing valuable By addressing avoidable repeat repairs, social landlords can enhance the customer experience, increase value for money, and create equitable and consistent repairs services.

In an era where data-led decision making is becoming increasingly crucial, this session is not to be missed. With the recent outcomes of the Social Housing Whitepaper 2023 and the introduction of the government’s ‘Make Things Right Campaign,’ social landlords must employ effective strategies to eradicate problematic repeat repair issues. Gain valuable insights into this pressing topic and discover how Karbon partnered with Mobysoft to adopt data-driven approaches that revolutionised its repairs service.

There is No Money, So What’s the Plan?’ Understanding the Macro-Economic Outlook and What this Means for the Housing Sector

The attention-grabbing title of this one is something that will resonate with most people working withing social housing, given the increasing pressures to ‘do more with less’. As such, this keynote is probably one of the most pertinent for all walks of the sector and promises to be of relevance to everyone from income team managers, right through to finance directors (and all that’s in between).

Promising a raft of valuable insight into the macroeconomic outlook and its implications for the housing sector. As urgent calls for investment in existing homes persist and pressure to develop new homes shows no sign of subsiding, many social landlords are faced with a dichotomy of where best to invest to ensure maximum outputs for the benefit of both tenant and landlords themselves. This session brings together leading economists and professionals who will provide their perspectives on the current financial climate and its impact on short-term and long-term business plans.

Chaired by renowned Guardian columnist and commentator, Gaby Hinsliff, the panel features esteemed experts including Jo Armstrong, Chair of Wheatley Group, Melanie Leech, CEO of the British Property Federation, and Mike Emmerich, Founding Director of MetroDynamics. Attendees will gain valuable insight into the wider financial landscape and expert advice and guidance on adapting their business plans accordingly.

Automate To Mitigate: Technological Solutions for Navigating Social Housing’s Challenging New Landscape

Yes, yes – we know it’s another one of ours that we’re championing here but you can rest assured that we wouldn’t be doing so if we didn’t genuinely believe that this session falls into the ‘not to be be missed’ category.

Specially created by our team of in-house social housing experts and drawing on findings from within the biggest dataset within the sector, this panel discussion is the perfect way to spend Wednesday afternoon at CIH Housing 2023.

Featuring Mobysoft experts Elaine Middleton and Jon Brownbill, as well as Together Housing’s Janette Pearce, Settle’s Dean Anderson, and Lambeth Council’s Chris Flynn, this on-point discussion, will explore further how automation has helped social landlords achieve results in what are becoming ever more difficult times.

As always, CIH Housing 2023 promises to be an engaging and enlightening event, bringing together housing professionals and stakeholders to address the most critical challenges facing the sector. With those core themes of tenant engagement, the cost of living crisis, governance, risk management, and the importance of social care, health, and housing integration running through the event like the letters in a stick of rock, attendees can expect to gain valuable insights and actionable strategies to drive positive change. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the valuable knowledge that’ll be shared at CIH Housing 2023 (and the opportunity to leverage that insight in the context of meeting your organisation’s specific set of challenges) and grab yourself a ticket today!

Dean Quinn