On 1 October 2021, Convene attended the NHF’s National Smaller Housing Associations’ Conference and Exhibition. The conference took place over two days and was an exciting opportunity for us to meet old friends, make new connections and share ideas about the future of Smaller Housing Associations.
This year, the conference was a hybrid event: the first day was in-person and the second day took place online. As a Board Portal, we champion virtual collaboration, so were excited to be involved in activities during the second day. NHF’s online platform allowed us to participate in a number of talks and roundtables on the future of housing.
A central theme of this conference was progress and the shape it will take. From digital transformation to sustainable development, speakers were focused on the future. In the housing sector, as with all industries, it is a time of change. Smaller housing associations want to focus on the best way to move forward: for their own sake and for the sake of their residents.
The scale of smaller housing associations means they are particularly concerned by the impact on individuals. Many of the talks brought up the importance of consumer protection and targeted support. This is an insight which should apply across industries and is valuable to any sector looking to expand.
The focus on sustainable progression includes paying attention to the language used to communicate key themes. Part of this is in using understandable language that consumers can understand. They should feel confident that your organisation values their way of seeing the world.
At the same time, the conference emphasised the importance of positivity. Given the immediacy of the fuel crisis, it is easy for associations to get caught up in the climate of fear. However, ESG concerns can and should be framed in a positive light. There is plenty of space for opportunity and transformation.
Convene’s own Head of Customer Success, Gemma Walford, facilitated a roundtable on Digital Transformation. The discussion considered how software can be an agent of change in promoting effective business. Her introduction explored the importance of efficiency, flexibility and clarity at every stage of the administrative process.
During the discussion, Sarah Johnson of whg was able to give some insight into how Convene has supported their organisation’s progress. As the charity has used Convene for six years, she understands the unique advantages of the system.
Sarah noted how Convene is a cost-effective way to save time and energy. Some of the features that whg particularly appreciated were the Board Pack compilation, the Document Library, and the voting features. She spoke comprehensively about how these useful features simplified governance.
In keeping with the themes of the conference, Sarah also talked about Convene’s plans to adapt in the future. She spoke briefly about the exciting development of Convene in Teams and how it could simplify the admin process.
Here at Convene, we have numerous clients in the housing sector. The future of the industry is extremely important to us: from the largest housing association to the smallest. Thank you to everyone involved in the conference, we hope to see you again next year!