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GWSF annual conference - Keeping our communities resilient

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GWSF annual conference - Keeping our communities resilient

Date: 23 November 2018 09:15 am - 04:00 pm
Course duration: 1 day
Venue: Grand Central Hotel, 99 Gordon Street, Glasgow , G1 3SF
Costs: Members £195.00 / Non-Members £250.00

As usual the GWSF annual conference this year will feature an interesting and diverse programme packed with great plenary speakers and stimulating workshop sessions.

As well as a variety of exhibitors this years conference will also feature a members’ exhibition space which will include a ‘then and now’ photo gallery, a ‘greatest achievements’ wall, and a memorabilia stand. 

Please ensure your staff and Committee/Board members book soon as places always fill up fast.

Download the programme HERE

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Event programme

9.15 – 9.45

Registration and Tea/Coffee/Pastries

9.45 – 9.55

Welcome from the Chair - Helen Moore

9.55 – 10.40

Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London/ founder member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network.  

Basic Income – and how we can make it happen

A passionate campaigner, Professor Standing has been spearheading a UK and international movement to call for a basic minimum income standard. He talks about tackling the ‘precariat’ we have created – young people brought up to expect unpredictable work patterns and zero hours in an economy increasingly dominated by multi-national companies.

10.40 – 11.20


Protecting the independence of community controlled housing associations

GWSF Director David Bookbinder highlights the current threat to the independence of CCHAs which have faced statutory action from the Regulator, and looks at what GWSF and others are doing to help protect CCHAs in the future.

Housing Consultant Lynn McCulloch, who has worked as interim director for a number of CCHAs facing regulatory intervention, looks at the key factors which can maximise the chances of associations both retaining their independence and putting right the things that need to be put right.

11.20 - 11.45

Break and Exhibition Viewing

11.45 – 12.50

Workshop sessions (see below)

12.50 – 2.00

Lunch and Exhibition Viewing

2.05 – 2.30

Still improving our community 30 years on – the movie!
Hawthorn Housing

Colin Turnbull, Director, Hawthorn Housing Co-operative will introduce the film which celebrates the Co-operative’s 30th anniversary and offer some reflections on the journey so far as well as future plans.

2.30 - 3.00

Why a good home means better health
Dr Neil Hamlet, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Fife

Everyone in the CCHA sector knows the health and well-being benefits associated with having a good home, and how many activities housing associations are involved in which help to support positive physical and mental health outcomes for tenants. But sometimes it feels like everyone else is playing catch-up! How can we help to change this with colleagues in health and other sectors?


3.00 – 3.30

What did housing associations ever do for us?
Craig Sanderson, Chief Executive, Link Group

After 43 years at Link, Craig is retiring around the end of the year - retiring but not shy! We didn’t want to let him go without hearing his thoughts on the changes he’s seen over the years. What does he think are the housing association sector’s best achievements, what does it still have left to achieve, and what would he do differently if he was Prime Minister?

3.30 – 3.40

Final thoughts/thanks
David Bookbinder GWSF Director / Helen Moore, GWSF Chair


1. Revising the regulatory framework
Room - Victoria

Speakers - George Walker, SHR Chair and Michael Cameron, SHR Chief Executive
Chair - David Bookbinder, Director, GWSF

This year our Conference falls in the middle of the Scottish Housing Regulator’s consultation on the changes it proposes to make to how it regulates housing associations and local authorities. The changes include the introduction of annual assurance statements, and guidance on notifications which will replace the ending of the current system of consents for disposals and constitutional changes etc.

 2. Surgery - Universal Credit
Room - Regent

Speaker - Bill Irvine, UC Advice and Advocacy Limited
Chair - Graham Piggott, GWSF Board Member

Some GWSF members have been dealing with Full Service Universal Credit for two years, but others – including all associations in Glasgow – are preparing for rollout between September and December 2018. It’s all but impossible to prevent arrears levels rising, with built-in delays and new pressures on tenants as they receive their benefit direct from DWP. UC expert Bill Irvine gives his top tips for avoiding some of the many potential pitfalls in how UC is administered, and answers questions on practical issues associations have come across as they try to mitigate the worst effects.

3. Investing in Tenements – tackling the mixed tenure headache
Room – Great Western

Speakers - Paul Hush, Southside HA and Brian Parr, Scotland’s Housing Network
Chair - Annie Macfarlane, GWSF Board Member

Housing associations generally think of themselves as good property managers and factors. But, as GWSF’s recent membership survey has shown, repair and improvement work to commonly owned blocks is often foiled because owners can’t or won’t pay their share of the cost. How can associations overcome some of the barriers? Could the new ‘missing share’ powers help? A greater focus on acquisitions? And as the popularity of the Scottish Government’s pilot’ equity loan’ scheme grows, could this (or similar charges against the property) be part of the answer to grants being less common these days?

4. Feedback on the first phase of our mentoring project
Room - Buchanan

Facilitated by Susan Campbell, Recruitment Manager, EVH and Adele Fraser, Chief Executive, Linstone HA, with input from mentoring programme participants

One of the key recommendations to come out of the recent succession planning research the Forum carried out alongside EVH and SHARE was the need to provide support for both staff and committee members in the CCHA movement. In response we were delighted to set up a mentoring service provided by members for members. In this session facilitators, mentors and mentees will talk about their experiences of the programme so far and you can find out how to get involved as we roll the service out to all members.

5. CCHAs Minding the Gap: More than good landlords and wider role
Room - Wellington

Speakers - Alan Benson, Director, Milnbank Housing Association
Chair - Colleen Rowan, GWSF Membership & Policy Officer

Over the past few years shrinking local authority budgets have meant that many CCHAs have become increasingly involved in providing a range of activities, services and partnerships which do not fit neatly into either their landlord or community anchor role. Essentially CCHAs are left ‘minding the gap’ when public services withdraw. These are often practical, hands-on services which make a real improvement to communities, and are delivered ‘close to home’ at a local level. This session will consider the implications of this trend and showcase innovative examples.