Housing conference will detail current challenges

Simon Donohue

Delegates will hear about the challenges faced by social housing providers when the annual North West Housing Conference returns to Liverpool this month.

Brabners and Mitchell Charlesworth, both advisors to the social housing sector, are presenting the North West Housing Conference, which takes place on Friday 22 November 2013 at Liverpool's BT Convention Centre.

Keynote speakers at the Beyond Bricks & Mortar conference will be Nick Atkin, chief executive of Halton Housing Trust; Chris Jones, group head of tax & treasury at Places for People; Ann O'Bryne, councillor for Warbreck and cabinet member for housing, Liverpool City Council; and Paul Beardmore, director of housing at Manchester City Council.

The event will be chaired by Rob Warm, head of external affairs and member relations at the National Housing Federation.

The Government's Welfare Reform programme, the shortage of affordable housing and local government service cuts are some of the challenges facing the social housing sector.

The North West Housing Conference will explore developments in policy and strategy, examine the economic realities facing the sector and consider the impact of spending cuts.

Social housing specialists will also present a series of workshops, offering practical advice on a range of topics specific to the sector including housing management, finance, development issues, the European Funding Programme, wellbeing and welfare reform.

Alistair Fletcher, partner at Brabners and head of one of the largest social housing specialist legal teams in the North West, said: "These are challenging times for registered providers, particularly as the changes to welfare benefits begin to bite.

"However, they do present opportunities for those providers that are ready, and willing, to adapt and innovate. Now is the time to look beyond bricks and mortar and embrace new ways of working."

Paul Wainwright, a partner and social housing specialist at Mitchell Charlesworth, said: "Keeping up to date with changes in the current climate will be key for registered providers to continue to develop and manage properties in a cost efficient and socially acceptable manner and the range of topics covered in the conference will help to achieve this."

Brabners and Mitchell Charlesworth are hosting the conference with financial and tactical support from a project group made up of Liverpool Mutual Homes, Plus Dane Group, Symphony Housing Group, The Regenda Group and Your Housing Group, and partners Maxmedia and Procure Plus.

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