First, it was produced by delegates at our annual conference and exhibition in Harrogate. This event is fast becoming the most important sector-wide summit at which serious work is done and out of which a clear ‘housing sector statement’ emerges.
Second, the Housing Pact sets out our agenda for working with the new coalition government. It outlines the key challenges which represent our priority asks of the new team. For example, we ask that it continues to invest in new affordable homes, prioritises the retrofit of existing ones, ensures a role for housing on the long-term care commission and delivers council house funding reform.
But, as importantly, it also presents our offer - what we are already doing and what we will do to deliver on these key challenges in the future - like giving a voice to supporters of new housing, providing customer-focused services and preventative support that saves precious NHS resources and tackling worklessness.
While our current housing system needs a complete rethink, our sector is already delivering some great stuff that fits really well with the localism, sustainability and efficiency agendas and we must be as good at offering up these ideas as we are in challenging some of the proposed reforms.
As I said in my conference speech to housing minister Grant Shapps, we ask him to see us as part of the ‘big society’ and not as part of ‘broken Britain’ - our job is to be part of the solution.
A copy of the CIH’s Housing Pact was given away free with Inside Housing on July 23, but if you missed it, visit www.cih.org/housingpact
Sarah Webb is chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing