Blog 18th July 2018

Jul 18th 2018, 20:14

Blog 18th July 2018

In this week’s blog, I refer to: Welsh Social Housing Finance, the Welsh Government, Business Planning, Service Charges, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, the New European, the European Union, NATO, Seminars and Training.

We have just launched our seminar: ‘All You Want to Know about Welsh Social Housing Finance’.

Social housing is becoming increasingly important in Wales at a time of rising demand for affordable housing and constrained resources. Councils and Housing Associations in Wales face significant challenges and opportunities. The Welsh Government has reformed regulation, introduced a new rents policy that requires service charges to be un-pooled, introduced self-financed Housing Revenue Accounts for local authorities and is now reviewing social rents. The ‘Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Act has ended the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire in Wales. The Welsh Housing Quality Standard is still being addressed by some councils. The United Kingdom government is rolling out Universal Credit and proposing changes to the funding of supported housing that would have implications in Wales.

In this context, do you think that a working knowledge of social housing finance in Wales would put you and your colleagues in a position of advantage?

This seminar provides an introduction and overview of this important subject. It considers social housing finance in the local authority and housing association sectors including the issues that are common to both and the issues that are specific to one side of the sector. It is designed for people who are not experts in housing finance, but who need to understand the basics and achieve an overview of what is going on. It is fully up to date with all developments. It refers to rents, service charges, development, sources of capital funding including grants and borrowing, housing benefit, welfare reform, business planning and much more. Many people have already benefitted from this seminar. Whether you are in a Housing Association, Local Authority or the Welsh Government; whether you are a Housing Manager, Tenant Representative, Elected Member, Board Member or even a member of the Housing Finance Team, you could also benefit from attending our seminar.

The Session answers the following questions:

  • How do the Income & Expenditure and Housing Revenue Accounts work?
  • What are the recent policy developments in Welsh Social Housing?
  • How can Housing Associations and Councils invest in social housing?
  • What are the Financial Opportunities for Social Housing in Wales?

The session is accompanied by a very useful 100-page book that is designed for reference after the session entitled: ‘All You Want to know about Welsh Social Housing Finance 2018’.

The cost of this seminar in Cardiff is £195 plus VAT making a total of £239. However, there is a £20 discount for people who book a month or more in advance making the cost £175 plus VAT making a total of £210. It will be held at the Novotel Cardiff Central Hotel on 23rd October 2018.

For more information or to make a booking, please click here.

Last week, I presented a session of ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing’ for a housing association in the West Midlands. At a recent in-house session delegates said that the found the information provided very relevant, that the quality of presentation was excellent and that the training met their needs fully. They described the session as interesting, thorough, clear, useful, practical and thought-provoking. Individual comments included:

  • Very good presentation and demonstration of good knowledge of subject.
  • Challenging in a good way. Challenging how we do things.
  • Great to get us started looking at this.
  • A very useful overview of service charging – thank you.

For more information about in-house training in service charges, please click here.

Following our first session of ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ in Leeds last week, we have published our accompanying book. This book looks in depth at current developments in local authority housing finance in England. It includes chapters on:

  • The Political, Economic, Social and Technical Context
  • Government Announcements: October and November 2017
  • Funding of Supported Housing – Government Proposals
  • Homelessness Reduction Act
  • Affordable Housing Programme for England 2016-21
  • Affordable Housing Programme for London 2016-21
  • Local Housing Companies
  • Business Planning

If you want to be up to date with the world of local authority housing finance, this is the book for you! It is excellent value at £30 plus £3.25 postage and packing. It includes 100 pages and was published in 2018.

For more information or to order a copy, please click here.

I am currently putting together our programme of seminars for the autumn and winter of 2018/19 and I would appreciate your help. Whether or not you have ever been to an ‘AWICS’ seminar, I would like to know what you think about seminars and training. I would therefore be grateful if you could complete a short questionnaire about your training needs and your opinions on training and seminars. You may complete the questionnaire anonymously if you wish.

To complete our questionnaire on seminars and training, please click here.

The meeting in Helsinki between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump is in the news this week. I was in Russia last July and was struck at how the country appears to have turned its back on communism and is now embracing its Tsarist past with enthusiasm. It has become a country where human rights do not appear to be valued, where eight people are estimated to own most of the wealth, where corruption appears to be commonplace and where the military and intelligence services are strong. I also noticed the warships stationed in the River Neva in St Petersburg (see below)

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, of which I am a member, has a proud record of encouraging good governance around the world. I like to think that I contributed to this when I was their examiner for management accounting for their international courses. However, I think the frequent assumption that everyone favours good governance is naive. There are those in all parts of the world who benefit from poor governance and who therefore promote it.

Paul Knott (a former diplomat) wrote an interesting piece in the ‘New European’ this week entitled ‘Will Putin take his sporting chance’. In it, he writes that:

“Putin is terrified at the demonstration effect of Russia’s neighbours prospering, particularly its fellow former Soviet ones. Their success in developing democracy and clean, competent government would prompt the Russian people to question why their country cannot do the same. Putin is acutely aware that the eventuality could spell the end of his kleptocracy, with perilous personal consequences for him.

“Putin sees the European Union; NATO and their members states as projecting a similarly positive (but not for him) example. He believes they provide support and inspiration to would-be democrats and anti-corruption aspirants closer to home.

“These fears explain Russia’s comprehensive support for extremists… around Europe and its manipulation of elections and referendums. Its aim is to weaken the West and its alliances.”

Paul Knott’s article can be viewed by clicking here.

Our next seminars are on:

  • All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing
  • Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance
  • All You Want to Know about Welsh Social Housing Finance
  • All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance

For more information or to make a booking, please click here.

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