Changing face of the sector

It came as no surprise when I read 24housing last week to see that my name no longer appeared in the Power Players Top 50.


As I wrote last year in my Restless Farewell to the housing sector, I am spending most of my time now on other things and much less on campaigning or blogging on social media.

Given the negative feedback I received from some, I guess that my appearance on Channel 4’s Dispatches didn’t help either.

I make no apology for that and I am glad that new leadership in the social housing sector seems to be more willing to accept criticism and recognise that we have faults.

I was pleased to see that the list contained many new names reflecting the changing of the guard in housing and the great work being done by many of the next generation.

I congratulate them all. I hope they use their power wisely, which I’m sure that they will.

I first appeared in the list 7 years ago, after retiring from my full time role as a CEO.

I then appeared for the next 5 years.

I found it interesting that despite the fact I had spent over 20 years as a CEO of some of the leading HAs in the country and over 40 years campaigning for change in social housing, I had never before appeared in any power player list.

I could only think that my nominations must have been related to my more active campaigning and blogging about social housing and the loss of social purpose.

I also think I was recognised as one of the founder members of SHOUT along with Alison Inman and others, in which most of this work involved becoming engaged in social media.

Paul Taylor once did some work on the correlation between those on the list and their presence on social media, and if I remember correctly, it was quite high.

I still think the list is a bit of a measure of popularity as well as an indicator of real power, but that is not a criticism.

There is no doubt that my friend Alison Inman is very popular and very powerful, but many people of power don’t appear on the list and some without any real power do, including me in the past.

Some of you are aware I lost a good friend last year. He was my chair for many years.

As I wrote on his death, he probably did more to change the lives of literally 100000’s of people in the Midlands than anyone I know, yet he never appeared in any power player list.

The sector is full of such people. They are the unsung heroes of social housing who make a difference to people’s lives every day. We should never forget that as we recognise the work of the few who make the list.

Some years ago I suggested to the editor of 24housing that being a power player was meaningless unless people used that power to benefit social housing and I was concerned that some who appeared on the list did not do this.

I am pleased that this suggestion led to a change in the criteria for nominations.

The list is now full of people who use their power wisely. But it does contain one or two who in my opinion do more harm than good with their power.

It would be churlish to mention them here and I am sure you will all have an opinion on who they are.

I will continue to look out for the list annually and if I remember make nominations, as I have always tried to nominate to reflect the diversity of talent in the sector.

I am pleased to see that the list does this more now than it did a few years ago.

For me it’s a good indicator of the changing face of the sector and of who is in and who is out.

In the end it something to celebrate as long as we remember not to take it, or our appearance on it, too seriously as it is inevitable that one day others will, quite rightly, come along to take our place.