Governance, strategy and risk

We help boards and executive teams keep an iron grip on their businesses.

Iron Grip

Can you keep the business going? Can you avoid a downgrade?

Alistair McIntosh, HQN's Chief Executive and our finance specialist Ian Parker designed and run the game – they bring in all the problems you can hit.

How does the game work?

  • You get a briefing about the landlord’s position
  • We give you problems to solve
  • Our financial model lets you see if your decisions help you to keep within your covenants and stay solvent
  • You get to see how you perform under the pressures that affect lots of landlords – but you do it in a safe environment.

The game can be run for one landlord or a group of landlords – a special version is available for ALMOs. We can tailor it to take account of any issues that you want to examine.

Here’s what some of the players said:

Here’s what some of the players said:

"The board and the executive really enjoyed the business simulation. They thought it worked well and everyone has taken away some personal learning points from the exercise. They found it to be one of the best board away days they’ve had! – Thank you!"

Puneet Rajput, Director of Corporate Services
Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA)

"We commissioned HQN to carry out the Iron Grip training with our board. I spoke with Alistair to get the scenario tailored for our organisation and he kept in touch to fine tune it prior to the even. We elected to hold an afternoon session into early evening. The exercise was well planned and implemented, the pace was varied to allow discussion on points that the board felt needed deliberation and move on when there was quick consensus. The exercise really tested our thinking and challenged some long held assumptions about our plan. It has helped us to prepare for the “real” review of our Financial Plan and Business Plan."

Tony Hall, Chief Executive
Freebridge Community Housing

"Our board approach to risk management has evolved as we have become more complex. board members wanted to challenge themselves and playing Iron Grip at our board Strategy Day provided an ideal opportunity to do this. The fact that the game was tailored so that it used our data made it realistic. The scenarios were also carefully selected to test how the board would respond to plausible real-life challenges. Everyone got involved and the quality of debate was excellent. Not only that, but the board loved it! In feedback they said it was the best board Strategy Day ever."
Steph Begley, Director of Finance 
Poplar HARCA 

"It was a great day, the board members really enjoyed it. The pace of the event and the content of the scenarios worked well. It raised a lot of important questions and dilemmas for us to think about and discuss."

Matthew Applegate, CEO
Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust

"The Iron Grip stress session really tested board’s ability to think strategically about what would break the business and what they could do to avoid that. As well as being a useful risk assessment tool in the current uncertain environment, it was fun, encouraged team working, and helped Members prepare for the difficult decisions they will need to make about the future ahead."
Julia Histon, Chief Executive
York Housing Association

"The session with HQN provided the board of Futures the opportunity to engage in realistic scenario planning that stress tested business plan assumptions, decision making and risk appetite.  It was also a great team building event for the board and officers.  A really helpful tool that provided invaluable insight.  Would highly recommend it."

Lindsey Williams, Group Chief Executive
Futures Housing Group

"It is hard to imagine stress testing being enjoyable but the our Board and tenants panel really enjoyed and valued the Iron Grip challenge.  Iron grip is useful as nobody can foresee all the risks but like top level sport you need to train and condition yourself as you will probably make bad decision if you never practice."

Mike Owen, Chief Executive 
Merthyr Valleys Homes

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Format Status Title Description Size Download
pdf Current Iron Grip 2018 File size: 1MB Published Date: 20/03/2018 Download
pdf Current In the latest 'Regulating the Standards' from the HCA, Julian Ashby says that transparency is a 'fundamental pillar' of the regulatory approach. File size: 570KB Published Date: 26/06/2015

Anna Pattison

Anna Pattison

Find out more

Anna Pattison is the business manager responsible for consultancy and HQN Accredit and the main contact for all enquiries and ongoing work.

To find out more, email Anna or call 01904 557197