This year’s HQN conference takes place just two weeks after the general election and provides a fantastic opportunity to hear about the housing priorities of the new government, while also focusing on the day-to-day challenges we are currently facing.

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    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed there will be a general election on 4 July despite opinion polls showing the very real prospect of the Conservative Party losing power for the first time since 2010.

    With housing moving up the political agenda and becoming a key issues for voters, this session will provide one of the first opportunities after the election for housing professionals to hear about the priorities of the new government and what the prospects are for social housing, improving the quality of rented homes, the future of the leasehold sector and plans to boost home ownership.

    Over two days – one virtual (16 July) and the other face-to-face in London (18 July) – we have a range of outstanding speakers from inside and outside the housing sector who will examine the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

    You will hear from forthright and thought-provoking keynote speakers such as Darren McGarvey, Kwajo Tweneboa and Adam Lent on what can be done about the current state of housing and our public services.

    In typical HQN style, there will also be a practical focus on the key challenges facing housing professionals, including getting to grips with the quality of our housing stock, the new era of consumer regulation and inspection, rising complaints, the professionalisation agenda, and the need to better understand and meaningfully engage with residents.

    You will hear from the chief of regulatory engagement Kate Dodsworth, the Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway and a number of sector leaders, including CIH president Jill Murray.

    As ever, HQN chief executive Alistair McIntosh will be on hand to host proceedings, which also include the final of this year’s Housing’s Next Generation competition.

    Key sessions include:

    Day one:

    • Adam Lent on “how to lead the public sector in the permacrisis”, taking his recent thoughts on radical leadership in the wider public sector to the social housing sector
    • Housing priorities for the new government
    • Aileen Evans, CEO of Grand Union Housing Group on knowing your tenants, understanding vulnerability and using the data
    • Sam Pratt from the Shared Health Foundation on how to improve services and the quality of homes in temporary accommodation
    • Jill Murray, President of the Chartered Institute of Housing, on improving professionalism in the sector and the conduct and competency standard
    • Housing‘s Next Generation competition grand final – task one.


    Day two:

    • Darren McGarvey – a political activist, rapper and broadcaster whose new BBC documentary ‘Darren McGarvey: The State We’re In’ takes an unflinching look at the UK’s public services, with privileged access to hospitals, schools and prisons
    • Kwajo Tweneboa, a social housing campaigner, writer and broadcaster, his recent Channel 4 documentary ‘Untold: Help!’ exposed the shocking conditions in Britain’s rental properties. His first book ‘Our Country in Crisis: Britain’s Housing Emergency and How We Rebuild’ is published in July
    • Kate Dodsworth, Chief of Regulatory Engagement at the Regulator of Social Housing, with the latest on consumer regulation and inspection
    • The Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, Lord Richard Best and Heather Thomas in discussion on a future royal commission “to reimagine the future of social housing”
    • Housing’s Next Generation competition and winner.


    Practical sessions on:

    • Professionalism in housing
    • Homelessness and temporary accommodation
    • Housing management
    • Lessons learned from mock and pilot inspections
    • Resident engagement.


    Essential for:

    • Housing association chief executives
    • LA senior executives
    • ALMO chief executives
    • Executive directors
    • Senior housing leaders
    • Housing strategy leaders
    • Policy managers and officers
    • Board members
    • Councillors
    • Senior council staff.


    Unable to attend both days?

    Book day one (16 July, virtual) by clicking here.

    Book day two (18 July, London) by clicking here.

  • Our speakers

    Alistair McIntosh, Chief Executive, HQN

    Alistair McIntosh is one of the social housing sector’s most respected and best known personalities.

    As founder and Chief Executive of HQN, he is regarded as one of the foremost advisers on governance and regulation, specialising in VfM and stress testing. His hands-on approach sees Alistair leading on all HQN’s in-depth assessment mock exercises and support work, designing and running the popular Iron Grip sessions and chairing/speaking at conferences and events.

    Career highlights include setting up and running the National Federation of ALMOs, leading the popular consultation on the regulatory standards for housing, and developing an approach to VfM that won praise from the housing minister.

    A regular contributor to the housing press, Alistair’s columns are known for their humorous, pointed and painfully accurate assessment of the state of social housing.

    Kwajo Tweneboa, Campaigner

    Kwajo is a Social Housing Campaigner from south London, fighting for better living conditions for tenants across the United Kingdom. He started this work over a year ago now after living in poor social housing for years with my family and being ignored. The Campaign has been successful so far, being mentioned in Parliament to being on National news and now he helps other tenants suffering get answers from their providers.

    Lord Richard Best, Independent, House of Lords

    Richard Best is an Independent in the House of Lords. He chairs the Oxford University Commission on Creating Healthy Cities; he is Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People; he is a past Chair of Hannover Housing Association, The Property Ombudsman, The Affordable Housing Commission. He is a past President of the Local Government Association and current President of the Sustainable Energy Association. He was Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation for 18 years.

    Kate Dodsworth, Chief of Regulatory Engagement, RSH

    Kate started her career in homelessness in 1992, working firstly with rough sleepers in Birmingham through to managing a large hostel for single homeless in Brighton for five years. She gained a Masters degree in Housing in 2003 and moved to the National Housing Federation where she performed a variety of roles; latterly Assistant Director. Kate moved to AmicusHorizon in 2013 (Optivo from 2017) becoming Executive Director of People and Communications. She was Chief Executive of Gateway Housing for three years before taking up her current role with the Regulator of Social Housing. Kate was an external examiner for Westminster University until 2020 and a founder member of Leadership2025.

    Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, Housing Ombudsman Service

    Richard was appointed as Housing Ombudsman from 1 September 2019. He has extensive experience in the housing sector, with previous roles including Deputy Mayor of London for Housing, chair of the Homes for London board and non-executive director of Homes England. During his eight years at the Greater London Authority, Richard was responsible for a major investment programme, overseeing the delivery of 100,000 affordable homes and regeneration plans for 670 hectares of land owned by the authority. Richard led the creation of the first team at City Hall to address rough sleeping, commissioning around £10 million of services each year, as well as the first Social Impact Bond on homelessness.

    Aileen Evans, Group Chief Executive, Grand Union Housing Group

    Aileen Evans is Chief Executive Officer of Grand Union Housing Group and at the end of June 2021 completed her term as the president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the professional body for those working in housing.

    A qualified coach and NLP master practitioner she has a strong interest in understanding healthy organisational cultures and the impact on performance.

    An emerging mental health campaigner, she was, as part of her presidential campaign, working with the metal health charity MIND to provide a guide for housing organisations on creating mentally health organisations and had set a fundraising target of £50K to support MIND this year.

    Sam Pratt, Shared Health Foundation

    Sam Pratt is the Policy and Communications Lead for Shared Health Foundation. Shared Health is a clinically led, evidence based not-for-profit based in Oldham, Greater Manchester and whose aim is to reduce the impact of poverty on health. Sam has a passion for social justice and tackling health inequalities in the most deprived neighbourhoods.

    Jill Murray, President, Chartered Institute of Housing

    Jill is an accomplished chief executive and housing professional with extensive leadership skills, knowledge and experience. Having spent the majority of her 42 year housing career in social housing, her experience has included a path of continuous learning in organisations of varying structures, size and capacity, which has afforded her a diverse range of skills across housing association, local authority and the private sector.

    Throughout her career, her enthusiasm for excellence in leadership has inspired her to develop further and to develop others. Jill’s work on leading and empowering staff and regenerating communities has attracted both regional and national recognition, including various personal and organisational awards. The story surrounding the success of her leadership approach in Byker, Newcastle, has been included as a chapter in a book titled ‘Hope Under Neoliberal Austerity’ published in April 2021.

    Jill’s role as the chief executive of a housing association for over nine years, provided her with in-depth and specialist knowledge of strategic leadership, culture, planning, good governance, assurance, risk management, community regeneration, resident involvement and co-creation.

    Jill is the President of the Chartered Institute of Housing and also a Non-Exec Director in a large NHS Mental Health, Foundation Trust, where she chairs the People, Culture and Diversity Committee and is also the NED Wellbeing Guardian.

    Adam Lent, Director of the New Local Government Network

    Adam Lent is a Senior Consultant in the Leadership and Organisational Development Team at The King’s Fund. He has worked for the last twenty years on public sector innovation and public service reform with a particular focus on community-led approaches, new models of leadership and organisational culture change. Prior to joining The King’s Fund he was Chief Executive of New Local for over seven years – a think-tank and peer-learning network seeking to deliver a community power vision for public services, society and the wider economy. He has worked previously as Head of Economics at the Trades Union Congress and Director of the Action and Research Centre for the Royal Society for the Arts. He has researched and written extensively throughout his career and he holds a PhD from Sheffield University.

    Lydia Dlaboha, Deputy CEO, HQN

    Lydia joined HQN in 2007 and is currently the Deputy CEO. Her background is in housing management – both general needs and supported. She has worked extensively as a consultant on a wide variety of performance improvement projects. In her current role, Lydia has responsibility for overseeing all of HQN’s work and for quality assurance in particular. She spends the majority of her time talking to HQN members to make sure that our service meets their needs, and on consultancy-related work.

    Damian Roche, Director, HQN

    Damian began his career working in homelessness and housing advice before moving into housing management. He has over 20 years’ experience at senior level in a variety of housing organisations, including local authorities and housing associations. For much of the last decade, Damian was Director of Customer Experience at Accent, with responsibility for customer facing services, including tenancy and estates management, leasehold services and repairs and maintenance, to over 4700 homes.

    Wayne Hughes, HQN Associate, HQN

    Wayne Hughes is an experienced consultant who has worked at a senior level within private and public sector housing related organisations for the past 40 years. He has authored several articles on asset management related activities and has sat on several advisory bodies for the social housing sector, including sitting on the panel which developed the widely used Disrepair Pre-action Protocol. He was also part of the team which established the English House Condition Survey (now called the English Housing Survey).

    Heather Thomas, Chief Executive, Sapphire Independent Housing

    Heather has been the Chief Executive of Sapphire Independent Housing, a small housing association located in North London that offers supported housing and general needs homes since 2016. Before her current role, she worked as an executive director of operations for several registered providers.

    She is vice chair of g320 group of smaller London housing associations.

    Heather recently completed her tenure as the chair of CCHA, the local housing association in Croydon, South London, where she lives.

    She is a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and has a Masters in Organisational Behaviour.

    Darren McGarvey, Political Activist

    Darren McGarvey is a political activist, rapper and broadcaster whose book Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass won the prestigious Orwell prize in 2018. His new BBC documentary Darren McGarvey: The State We’re In takes an unflinching look at the UK’s public services, with privileged access to hospitals, schools and prisons.

  • Our sponsors

    About Birketts

    Birketts is a full service, top 100 law firm in the UK. With a dedicated social housing team, they have worked with a vast range of clientele including national and regional registered providers, local authorities, private housebuilders, and funders on a wide range of issues affecting the sector. Birkett’s understand social housing is an ever-changing environment, subject to frequent changes driven by Government demands, new legislation and the economy. They have particular strengths in development (including stock transfer) and its related discipline sectors: construction, planning and projects. Allied to this, they can call on their well-established plot sales function to support RP development teams – this is particularly important as the range of home ownership products increases and for those RPs who employ private sales to cross-subsidise schemes. They have a wealth of experience in housing management issues, particularly in relation to nuisance and anti-social behaviour. In addition, they have skilled advisers covering your core business needs such as employment law and funding.


    About Paypoint

    Paypoint is a leading payments provider in the UK which works across the social housing sector to provide quality payment advice, tailored support, and training in rental income to housing associations and councils across the UK.

    With over 20 years of experience in the field of innovating the payments sector, it has a digital omnichannel payments solution – MultiPay. With over 450 clients using MultiPay and over 514 million transactions processed each year, Paypoint is highly experienced in understanding the impact fintech has upon tenant communications.

    Paypoint has a range of digital payment channels including Paybylink, the app service, online, text, direct debit, phone/IVR, cash, cashout and recurring card payments.

    Its solution multi-pay is a one stop shop for all digital payment, offering a single view of all payment channels and a point of truth including real time cash data. MultiPay offers providers a full API catalogue to integrate into existing systems, easy integration, and a roadmap with ever-evolving new features.

  • Our programme

    Tuesday, 16 July 2024

    Day one: Virtual 10:30 to 15:45

    10.30am Opening remarks from the Chair

      • Alistair McIntosh, CEO, HQN

    10.40am Keynote speech – Leadership now

      • Adam Lent, Senior Consultant in leadership and organisational development, The King’s Fund

    The former chief executive of local government think tank New Local, Adam Lent, will open the day with his thoughts on the challenges facing the public sector and how leaders need to adapt to the ‘permacrisis’ we’re now in.  Adam will discuss the role of leadership in tackling the significant issues facing the social housing sector and the prospects for public services under the new government.

    11.10am Using data to know your tenants and meet their requirements

      • Aileen Evans, Group Chief Executive, Grand Union Housing Group

    Aileen will talk about Grand Union’s extensive and award-winning work around customer research, which was developed to ensure its services are fit for purpose, both now and in the future.  She will outline how their approach developed to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and vulnerability as core service design principles.

    11.40am Break

    11.55am Improving the quality of temporary accommodation

      • Sam Pratt, Shared Health Foundation, secretariat to the Households in Temporary Accommodation APPG
      • The Guinness Partnership

    The session will cover the work and research of members of the APPG to present solutions to improve the health, lives and experiences of people living in temporary accommodation across England.

    12.35pm Tenant engagement: How to make tenant’s views count throughout your organisation

      • Sonji Nurse, Hexagon tenant

    13.15pm Lunch 

    2.00pm Implementing the new conduct and competency standard

      • Jill Murray, President, Chartered Institute of Housing

    Jill will update everyone on the professionalisation agenda, what she believes we will gain as a sector, her Be EPIC campaign for the CIH and what landlords should be doing to prepare whilst we wait for the final standards.

    2.30pm Housing‘s Next Generation competition grand final – task one

    There will be a chance to vote for your favourite after task one with the final on Thursday.

    3.10pm Housing with a new Government

      • Ben Cooper, Fabian Society

    3.40pm Closing remarks

      • Alistair McIntosh, CEO, HQN

    3.45pm Close


    Thursday, 18 July 2024

    Day two: London 10:30 to 17:00, followed by a drinks reception

    10.30am Welcome and introduction

      • Alistair McIntosh, Chief Executive, HQN

    10.40am The state we’re in

      • Darren McGarvey, award-winning author, social commentator, musician and broadcaster 

    Darren McGarvey is a political activist, rapper and broadcaster whose book Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass won the prestigious Orwell prize in 2018. His new BBC documentary Darren McGarvey: The State We’re In takes an unflinching look at the UK’s public services, with privileged access to hospitals, schools and prisons. Darren will share his thoughts from that work on what our public services need right now.

    11.15am Reflections on the need for a royal commission on housing

      • Richard Blakeway, The Housing Ombudsman
      • Lord Richard Best
      • Heather Thomas, Chief Executive, Sapphire Independent Housing, Vice Chair of g320

    Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, overwhelmed by complaints about the quality of some social housing, recently called for an independent royal commission “to reimagine the future of social housing” and re-establish the link between housing and health. He will outline why he felt the need to do that and what he is hoping for.

    Lord Richard Best, previously chief executive of the National Housing Federation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation was the secretary to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Inquiry into British Housing (1984-1991) which marked the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Commission into the Housing of the Working Classes 1885. He will share his thoughts on what a royal commission now could achieve.

    Heather Thomas, the Chief Executive of Sapphire Independent Housing and Vice Chair of the g320 group of small housing associations, will join the discussion to share her own thoughts on why a focus on housing inequalities and the marginalised and vulnerable in society is long overdue.

    11.45am Panel discussion and Q&A

    12.15pm Break

    12.30pm The Housing’s Next Generation Grand Final: Task two

      • Introduced by Donna Cezair, Chief Executive of Worthing Homes

    13.10pm Lunch

    14.10pm Are you ready for consumer regulation?

      • Kate Dodsworth, Chief of Regulatory Engagement at the Regulator of Social Housing

    In this session Kate will update delegates on how inspections are going and what themes and issues are coming out of them. By July, the regulator will have had “boots on the ground” for three months and this session will provide advice and guidance for organisations yet to go through the inspection process. As always Kate will be happy to answer questions from the floor.

    14.40pm Home improvements: Ensuring we provide decent homes   

      • Wayne Hughes, HQN Associate

    Wayne will focus on what the sector needs to be doing right now to ensure we are providing decent homes to tenants. He’ll share his experience from his recent consultancy and advisory work looking at the challenges the sector is facing to highlight the positive work that’s making a real difference across the country as all social housing organisations grapple with ageing buildings, rising costs and difficulty recruiting and retaining staff.

    15.10pm Break

    15.25pm HQN mock inspections: Lessons learned

      • Lydia Dlaboha, Deputy Chief Executive, HQN and Damian Roche, Director HQN

    Lydia and Damian will provide hot tips and practical advice for all organisations facing inspection in the next few years.  Their session will draw on their knowledge and insight from visiting a variety of social housing landlords, big and small, urban and rural, up and down the country. They will set out what you need to know and the best ways to prepare for that inevitable visit.

    16.00pm In conversation with Kwajo

      • Kwajo Tweneboa, social housing campaigner

    Kwajo Tweneboa is an incredible force for change, fighting for improvements in social housing. He creates tangible change for tenants by working with the government, charities and other organisations. Now a writer and broadcaster, his recent Channel 4 documentary Untold: Help! exposed the shocking conditions in Britain’s rental properties. His first book Our Country in Crisis: Britain’s Housing Emergency and How We Rebuild is published in July.

    16.30pm Final remarks

      • Alistair McIntosh, HQN

    16.40pm Housing’s Next Generation: Winner announced

    17.00pm Conference close

    17.00pm Drinks reception

  • Price and booking

    Housing Quality Network members may be entitled to one free place at this two day event. For more information, contact the events team at [email protected]


    Ticket Type Price Spaces
    Early bird – member ticket £150.00 N/A
    Early bird – non-member ticket £200.00 N/A
    Member ticket £180.00
    Non-member ticket £220.00

    Registration Information

    Booking Summary

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    If you experience any issues when submitting your booking, please email [email protected] with the name and date of the session along with the delegate name(s), email address(es) and job title(s) and we’ll process the booking for you.


16 - 18 July 2024
10:30am - 5:00pm
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