Housing Innovation Awards 2017: Saluting the industry's innovators
The housing sector’s high flyers gathered in London to let their hair down and applaud the achievements of their peers at the 2017 Housing Innovation Awards, but underneath the glitz there was a serious message – innovation has never been more important
For six years now, the Housing Innovation Awards has celebrated the pioneering spirit of the social housing sector, recognising the industry’s movers and shakers as they lead the way through these changing times.
As the event has grown over the years, so its underlying ethos has become ever-more important: austerity continues, welfare reform remains a challenge, the economic outlook is uncertain – meaning that innovation and a willingness to adapt is a must.
And then some, we might add, given the incredible events of 2016.
Since the Housing Innovation Awards made its debut back in 2012, it’s become almost a cliché to talk of turbulent times, but the last year has certainly exceeded the norm. It has, for once, proved a truly historic and ground-shifting year, at home and abroad.
First came the unexpected vote to leave the EU. Brexit quickly threw the political class into some disarray; Cameron gave way to Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister, Osborne was ejected to the backbenches; Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, faced a revolt from his MPs and a leadership challenge; across the Pond, Donald Trump was upsetting the apple cart of conventional US electioneering, subsequently scoring the title of Mr President. The world is still coming to terms with this bombastic new incumbent in the White House.
All of this is far removed from the day-to-day business of tackling Britain’s housing crisis, of course, but it’s the context in which we all operate, and it’s bound to affect us in ways not yet foreseen.
Well, that’s what the Housing Innovation Awards are all about – recognising those who are making change work for their organisations and the communities where they operate, rather than shying away or hunkering down; as never before, thinking outside the box and breaking new ground with inventive and original schemes and services is key to survival.
So, on the night 400 people from across the sector gathered at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London, to celebrate those who have shown us how it’s done.
Comedian Justin Moorhouse helped make light of an otherwise serious business as master of ceremonies and guest speaker opening the night and introducing the awards. Aftershow entertainment was provided by the Bandeoke Experience – think karaoke, but with your own professional backing band.
Our judging panel consisted of leading figures from across the industry: Valerie Owen, property professional and board member of Swan Housing Group; Andrew van Doorn, chief executive of innovation charity HACT; Eamon McGoldrick, managing director of the National Federation of ALMOs; John O’Brien, associate director for the BRE’s Innovation Part in Watford; Lindsey Richards, head of planning and enabling at the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA); and Margaret Allen, associate director with Savills and a former executive director of the HCA.
The charity chosen for the event this year was Coram. Established in 1739, originally to care for London’s abandoned babies, its pioneering services now supports 1.25 million of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people. A charity prize draw ad silent auction raised £3,300 for the charity.
As ever, the real stars of the show were the winners, so it’s time they were introduced:
Most Innovative Affordable Housing Scheme
Upton Village – Peabody, Galliford Try Partnerships & PCKO
Sponsored by NHBC
Most Innovative Consultant
echelon Consultancy Ltd
Most Innovative Contractor
A. Connolly Ltd
Sponsored by echelon Consultancy & Build Recruitment
Most Innovative Finance Model
Places for People, in a joint venture with FCS Energy: Boxed Energy
Sponsored by Mila Window & Door Maintenance
Most Innovative Housing App / Online Tool
Most Innovative Housing IT System
Rostrvm – Midland Heart
Sponsored by A. Connolly Ltd
Most Innovative Housing Provider (over 10,000 Properties)
Sponsored by Energy Angels
Most Innovative Housing Provider (up to 10,000 Properties)
Sponsored by Morgan Sindall Property Services
Most Innovative New Product
ASSA’s CLIQ® Remote
Most Innovative Regeneration Scheme
Packington Phase 4 – Hyde, Rydon & Pollard Thomas Edwards
Most Innovative Repairs & Maintenance Scheme
The Sovini Group
Sponsored by Boost Marketing
Basildon Council & Morgan Sindall
Most Innovative Retrofit Scheme
Kensa Heat Pumps & Hanover Housing Association
Most Innovative Supplier
Wetherby Building Solutions
Most Innovative Supported / Sheltered Housing Scheme
Protheroe House – One Housing
Sponsored by Q Safe
Most Innovative Use of Community Engagement