‘Boards are a dedicated force'

Maggie Galliers, 24 February 2023

The NHF events team did an outstanding job on transferring the recent Board Excellence conference to the virtual world when external circumstances prevented delegates meeting in person. Keynote speakers and breakout sessions were thought-provoking, informative and challenging.

The contributions from members clearly demonstrated that boards are a dedicated force, driven by a clear social purpose and committed to the highest possible standards of delivery.

For me, it underlined that the NHF is right to place such high value on good governance and horizon scanning from board members. As well as getting to grips with the general political, economic and social environmental issues we all face, we were able to gain insights from the Regulator and the Ombudsman and debate the Better Social Housing Review in detail.

We also considered the recently published Roadmap to Equality, its Inclusive Recruitment Toolkit and Succession Planning for Inclusion report examples of good practice which my own Board have committed to taking forward in their work. And in this context, I should like to commend to you the Chairs’ Challenge. This is a vision for change, a commitment to explore where our boards are on equality, diversity and inclusion and where we want to arrive.

As the session on culture at the conference demonstrated, the board has a key role in determining “how we do things around here” and I am grateful to the board members who have been working with NHF to identify how we can best tackle this agenda and role model what we need to do.

Having worked all my life in education, particularly further education, I am only too aware how inclusivity needs to be the golden thread which pervades our work if we are to effect real change. By taking up the Chair’s Challenge, I hope that we will be able to work collectively, as the 2020 Code of Governance suggests, to fulfil the leadership responsibility placed upon us for our individual organisations’ equality, diversity and inclusion.

A broad and inclusive board and workforce will be in the best position to enrich and strengthen our offer and our service to tenants and residents. I very much hope all of us will sign up and I look forward to hearing about what a difference it makes.