I should start this month by issuing an apology for the number of times my face appears in this edition.
I sincerely hope it doesn’t detract from your enjoyment of the magazine and I feel I should try and offer some sort of explanation. I can assure you it’s not a ‘Where’s Wally’ publicity stunt.
Firstly, I was invited by the G15 group of London-based housing associations to chair a roundtable on Universal Credit. Not only was this a privilege but it provided 24housing with the opportunity to shine a light on one of the biggest issues currently facing social landlords – the payment of the new benefit direct to tenants.
I have to say the G15 and co-hosts allpay did a splendid job in assembling a top-notch panel of speakers for the day, which included senior civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) alongside the National Housing Federation’s head of investment, policy and strategy and Family Mosaic’s director of research and development.
While it was evident that the representatives from the DWP did not always appear entirely at ease in their surroundings (possibly because they had a magazine editor sat beside them) they did a commendable job in answering questions as comprehensively as possible and provided some reassurance to the housing sector over the future safeguarding of income streams. Our coverage of the roundtable starts on.
Secondly, I was given the honour of judging the national final of the National Housing Federation’s ‘What We Are Proud Of’ Awards. The magazine has just been confirmed as the official media partner for the awards and I was delighted to take part in a day devoted to celebrating the exemplary community outreach work of housing associations across the country.
Although the winner won’t be announced until the Federation’s annual conference next month, I hope our coverage of the judging day provides an enjoyable insight into the featured projects.
Elsewhere in this issue, we pose the question ‘Is the work of housing associations well understood across Parliament?’ and get some revealing answers from MPs in Streets Apart; Neil Merrick investigates the current spate of housing association mergers and we launch our new Development of the Month series with a look at L&Q’s joint venture with Barratt to deliver a ‘100% private’ scheme in North London!
Editor, 24housing Magazine