Conferences

We attend a number of conferences each year, and these are also open to any tenant who is interested.

Here are the reports for this years conferences.

 

TPAS Confernce 2018

TPAS Conference 2018

Aviemore. McDonalds Resort.

 Day 1: Friday 16th November 2018

The complex  was easy to find and well signposted. There are 3 Hotels and a conference centre.

We had been asked to report to the conference centre rather than the arrivals desk. Everything was ready for us and after registering we went for a ‘serve yourself’ type lunch which was very nice.

Unfortunately our rooms were in the hotel furthest away from the conference room and on the top floor, with a few steps to negotiate.

The opening session was quite interesting, the speaker was very enthusiastic if a little disjointed in her presentation.  Her topic was on crime and the causes of it. In her view it is mostly due to poverty and deprivation.

After her presentation we all split up and I attended a showing of the film ‘I Danial Blake’ which I believe has been on BBC tv. Everything was running late and by the time the film had finished it was 18.30, and Dinner was at 19.00 so it was all very rushed to get back to the hotel, changed and back to the conference centre.

Dinner was a pretty average sort of meal, and in the awards afterward NETRALT were runners up in their category.  

Day 2: Saturday 17th November 2018

 

The first keynote session was given by Jim Strang, the President of the CIH and mainly consisted of thanks for hard work tenants do in participation and an appeal for recruits to the board of the CIH.

The second keynote session was given by George Walker, Chair of Scottish Housing Regulator. He told us about a consultation which SHR is preparing and asked that we take part in it when goes live in April. He also was recruiting for members to the board.

 The first workshop of the day which I attended was given by South Lanarkshire Council and described a scrutiny exercise they did on reletting standards.

It was remarkably similar to our void inspections. They look at a house when it became void and then revisited it before it was let. As with our voids, some were brilliant, others not so good.

They have a ‘Publicity Group’ which sounds very similar to our intended ‘Communications Group’. Every leaflet which the Council puts out goes through this group first and get a ‘Tenant Approved’ stamp.

One of their recommendations is that every potential tenant is given a ‘snagging’ list when they go to view a property so that they know what work is still to be done, and whether or not there is a decoration allowance attached to the property.  They also recommended that a ‘Letting Standards’ leaflet be given to the prospective tenant so that they know what to look for and what to expect of the house.

 The second workshop of the day was on Fuel Poverty and was given by David Stewart of SFHA.  He spoke of the difficulty in defining Fuel Poverty, which at one time had just been if you spend more than 10% of your income on fuel bills but this meant – in his words – that the Queen could be in fuel poverty because of the number of large, draughty houses she had to heat.

He discussed the various things which can contribute to fuel poverty: Poorly insulated home, being in an area which is off the gas supply, being in poverty and having a prepaid meter, having to use electricity to heat.

He also spoke about EESH 2 which is still being worked out and which will demand an even higher standard that EESH. 

He left us with a few things to consider.

The evening meal was very enjoyable, and fancy dress. The theme was ‘Christmas’ Everyone had fun, and the food was excellent. 

Day 3: Sunday 18th November 2018

 

The final workshop of the conference was on ‘A guide to successful Tenant Participation’ and was given by the Scottish Government.

The main theme was the launch of their new manual on TP strategy and they encouraged us to chat to each other about what each of our Landlords approached TP.  This was quite informative but the book (of which we all got a copy) seemed very interesting.

CIH 2017

Chartered Institute of Housing Annual Conference 


 Two Aberdeenshire Council tenants, Carol Tytler and Ruth Fraser, attended the CIH conference at the SECC in Glasgow in mid March along with housing staff and councillors. Strangely, while they produced photos of the Housing Minister giving his address to Conference, and of the Tenancy Services Manager and the Chair of the Communities Committee sitting in the auditorium, no photos of themselves. What happened to selfies? Someone camera shy? 
 
 
All attending reported it was a very interesting conference, although heavy going at times, with a varied programme of talks and a fascinating range of items on display at the accompanying exhibition. 
 
Lots of opinions on how and if Scotland is shaping up. Welfare reform doesn't look like it's without its problems and issues but there is "hope". Everyday leadership was of the highest importance and the NO word was perfectly acceptable. 
 
On the Charter, there was evidence that there has been better communication with landlords, which has resulted in improved standards and quality. 
 
There was an interesting session on "Housing First in Finland". The speaker Juha Kaakinnen spoke about how homeless persons needed a home first and issues and challenges surrounding homelessness were easier addressed once they were in stable housing. In Finland they have reduced homelessness considerably and changed lives. They also use a similar successful model in Canada. Something that could possibly be looked at by Aberdeenshire.