Last month’s NHMF Conference saw 450 delegates gather in Birmingham to discuss the hot topics facing the social housing sector today.
This year, the conference themes included contract management, compliance, new technology and how to find flexible strategies to address the skills shortage facing the industry.
The NHMF Conference is the largest forum devoted to asset managers and run by maintenance professionals.
Over the two days, which included the opportunity to meet with over 35 exhibitors, delegates were also able to attend a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions, including Cliff Youdale, (Chief Development Officer, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation), who shared some thought provoking ideas on lessons we can learn from Canada.
There were also plenty of speakers from closer to home, including Bob Lisle from the Sappers Network who shared his insights into the benefits of employing ex-servicemen within the social housing sector and Neil Watts Director of Service Delivery, Peabody Trust who chaired a lively panel debate on the implications of Brexit through the perspectives of an academic expert, a European thinktank, a housing association and a contractor.
The Secretary of the NHMF, Ben Virgo said, “Our aim was to explore the key issues facing asset managers today and demonstrate innovative solutions to tackle challenges such as the skills shortage and worker health.
“It was great to bring together so many experts to share their knowledge on a wide range of topics, including how to encourage more women into maintenance and employing ex-service people, to developing more apprenticeship programmes to tackle the problems of an ageing workforce where skills are being lost.
These themes genuinely resonated with our delegates and the conference provided a valuable framework for networking and sharing best practice with colleagues from across the industry.”
As well as providing a platform for networking and promoting best practice, the conference awards dinner was also an opportunity to recognise success and reward organisations that have raised the bar within the housing sector over the last 12 months.
This year, the annual NHMF Awards dinner was held on Tuesday 22 January at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. The awards ceremony, hosted by Anchor Hanover Group’s Director of Property Services, Winston Williams celebrated achievements across four categories:
Winner: Southern Housing & DW Support
Nominees: Southern Housing & DW Support, Ashford Borough Council & Morgan Sindall Property Services, Nottingham City Homes & J Tomlinson
Most improved asset management service
Nominees: Orbit, Housing Plus Group,
Best customer impact
Winner: Gentoo Group
Nominees: Gentoo Group, Nottingham City Homes & J Tomlinson, Southampton CC & CLC Contractors
Best apprentice scheme
Winner: Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Nominees: Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Swindon Borough Council, Basildon Borough Council & Morgan Sindall Property Services
Delegates’ choice award
Winner: Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Conor Bray, Managing Director with DW Support Services, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised, on a national stage, for the work we have done with Southern Housing Group.
“Over recent years we have developed a real focus on thorough planning and excellent communication with clients and their residents.
“This ensures that everyone involved understands the journey they are about to make. Such a collaborative approach also delivers reduced repair times, high levels of customer satisfaction and excellent outcomes.”
Next year’s conference will be on 21-22 January. Applications for the NHMF awards 2020 will open in August 2019 with a shortlist published on the website in December 2019. It is free to enter and the NHMF actively encourages entries from organisations across the board.
The National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) is serviced by M3, which publishes the M3NHF Schedule of Rates, as well as a whole range of repairs, development, diagnostics and reporting software products for social housing providers.
The purpose of the NHMF is to set the standard for maintaining assets for social housing and provide guidance on best practice.
The NHMF Maintenance Conference is an annual event, run by maintenance professionals, devoted to housing maintenance. The conference provides a framework for maintenance professionals within the social housing sector to exchange ideas, innovations and best practice tenets. It also offers a favourable environment for organisations to network and showcase their products and services.