Overcoming the challenges in housing requires good governance but what tools are available? It’s decision time

Social, economic and political pressures continue to challenge the Housing sector. Regulation such as welfare reform, rent control and mixed funding has forced housing associations to operate more like commercial businesses than social enterprises. In this challenging environment, the decisions that leaders make today will determine their ability to deliver tomorrow and those decisions must be supported by a sound governance structure.

James Strang, President of the Chartered Institute of Housing and Chief Executive of Parkhead Housing Association comments,

“Sound governance is absolutely crucial to any successful organisation. How we take governance, how we manage it, how we process it and how we embed it in everything we do requires us to use certain tools.”

Parkhead was one of Scotland’s first community-based Housing Associations and has a strong track record of development, innovation and fantastic work in the local community. The association has taken significant steps to review and improve their standards of governance and decision-making processes in order to position themselves as a long-term and stable provider. As part of this process, Parkhead chose the Decision Time suite of governance tools to help them structure and manage their meetings, encourage proactive risk management and to monitor their organisational and strategic performance.

Commenting on the changes since implementing the Decision Time platform, Mr Strang continues, “It has allowed us to make our meetings completely strategic in nature, at the same time allowing Board Members to have maximum information to enable them to make the decisions that they really need to make. It also means that the number of meetings we have in a year has been reduced; the difference between where we were before and where we are now is light years,” he says.

Decision Time managing director Geoff Higgins explains that the increasing pressure on organisations, regardless of sector, is now constant.

“Everyone is having to deliver more, with limited resources, in the face of geopolitical uncertainty and ever-increasing pressure from partners, stakeholders, funders, auditors and customers,” says Mr Higgins.

“It is more vital than ever to ensure that the correct processes and systems are in place at the highest level to ensure strict governance is enforced, risk and performance are well managed and decision making is as informed and transparent as it can be.”

The challenges that boards and senior leadership teams face when it comes to decision making are many. Boards need tools that give them instant access to the information they need, presented in a way that is easy to navigate, easy to understand and that clearly identifies the problems or opportunities that need to be addressed.

Mr Higgins concludes:

“Parkhead is a shining example of our many Housing Association customers that are leading the way in ensuring their decision making is transparent and strategic in nature, offering assurances to their tenants and the wider community that they have their best interests at heart now and into the future”.