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housing solutions

Innovation, new ideas and fresh thinking will help to meet the challenge. It gives me enormous pleasure to introduce the National Federation of ALMOs’ Best Practice Guide 2013. The projects and schemes highlighted within these pages are indeed a testament to the positive impact on communities that can come when people work together to tackle problems in creative and innovative ways. In the housing sector we certainly live in interesting times! The demand for homes at affordable rents is continually rising while the challenge to provide enough properties of the appropriate size and in the right location to meet that demand is beset by challenges, not the least of which is the reduction in public sector budgets. It is, however, times like these that drive innovation, new ideas and fresh thinking. Such attributes are no longer a luxury but an essential and the following pages are full of examples of how the ALMO movement, its staff members and residents, have created solutions to the problems and challenges affecting their communities right across England. But such times also demand fresh thinking from those on the supply side too. We are, after all, genuine partners to you who provide and manage affordable housing; we work in the communities in which you live; and members of our workforce frequently come from within those communities. Indeed Kier Services works with a number of ALMOs

providing maintenance, new build affordable housing, environmental and facilities management as well as renewable energy technologies. Now, more than ever, there is a need for long-term strategic thinking, innovative investment solutions and dependable development provision if we are all to deliver answers to the country’s housing need. There are fundamental questions facing all providers of affordable homes: • How can you optimise the value and performance of your existing stock?

approach to housing that addresses and answers all of these questions. Our strategic regeneration approach is designed to enable you to realise your visions for housing through a three-pronged approach – Invest. Develop. Renew. So whether it’s creating innovative funding routes, including self finance, public subsidy or private sector investment, identifying and progressing development opportunities or the effective whole-life maintenance and refurbishment of existing housing stock, while at the same time helping residents to reduce energy bills and minimise carbon emissions, we believe our approach can deliver solutions to the problems faced by the sector.

• How can you access public sector land to build new, high quality homes? • How can you control risk and ensure cost certainty? • How can you balance your needs of lowering whole-life costs and maximising returns with those of your customers? Ultimately, of course, our mutual aim should be to build, maintain and invest in homes and neighbourhoods that people want to live in, at a cost that both they and the investor can afford. That, surely, is the very bedrock of a decent society? At Kier we have developed a new, holistic

Claudio Veritiero executive director Kier Services

Future foundations Judging the NFA Awards and learning about all the ALMO projects taking place across the country, must be one of the most rewarding tasks as Chair of the NFA. Every year I am no less surprised, impressed and excited by these initiatives and the potential for them to be adopted elsewhere. The Awards are now in their seventh year and going strong. Awards programmes like this are even more important against a backdrop of public sector cuts and welfare reform. The

jobs of the people who make these projects a reality are made tougher in this environment, which makes their achievements even more impressive. This year’s Best Practice Guide has a few differences. It contains three new project categories for 2013: Best Green Initiative, Championing Digital Inclusion and Championing Financial Inclusion. We have also featured the Most Outstanding Resident, ALMO Team Member of the Year and Board Member of the Year. Unlike the projects, these winners and finalists cannot be directly replicated; however, even if we cannot ‘bottle’ their unique personalities and

dedication, they can certainly act as an inspiration for others. Well done to everyone who entered the NFA Awards. There were nearly 120 entries and I have said this before but picking the winners from so many great submissions is not easy. At the end of the day, your projects are not just about winning awards; they are about improving lives and communities. For that reason, you all deserve our congratulations.

Sue Roberts MBE chair of the NFA

NFA Best Practice Guide 2013  

This is the NFA Best Practice Guide 2013, produced annually by Acceleris on behalf of the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA), the trade body...