Reading for summer 2014

Reading for summer 2014

As the sector winds down for the summer we’ve taken the idea of the holiday reading list and applied it to housing. Here’s our 5 suggestions for summer reading and a couple to watch out for in the autumn.

On the bestsellers list has to be the Cosmopolitan Housing Group near collapse Lessons Learned report. To quote Moody’s, following the recommendations in Altair’s report ‘would be credit positive’ for English associations. Read the full report here.

So whether you are a housing association, local authority or even an ALMO and whether you are going for a bond issue, reviewing your governance structures or just doing a health check of your performance, it’s essential reading and a game changer.

Second is Thomas Pikkety’s ‘Capital in the Twenty First century’ which frames the current discussion of wealth and capitalism and is a helpful reminder to the sector of how others see social purpose, in its widest sense. Extra points if you read it all the way through.

Number 3, the Charity Commission’s guidance on charitable purpose and public benefit.

At number 4 take your pick from Ebenezer Howard – Garden Cities of To-Morrow Raymond Williams – The Country and the City or Colin Ward – Arcadia for All. All consider some the utopian concepts which imbue our thoughts about housing and planning.

And finally, A. M. Home ‘May we be forgiven’ – it’s not new and has a relevance to housing only by way of the author’s name, but it is a cracking book and highly recommended, not only by Jeanette Winterson but also by one of our newest team members.

Forthcoming attractions. The Lyons review of housing, not necessarily because of what it may say, though we are hopeful that it will be genuinely radical but because of the response it will elicit from the other parties. So expect ideas, initiatives and enticements in the run up to the next election.

The English Social Housing Regulator’s new regulatory framework, which might be called ‘No more Mr Nice Guy’. Expect the regime to be much more explicit on responsibilities of boards and consequences if you get it wrong. Scotland has a plethora of new guidance coming through and Wales has the follow up to the Williams review on Public Services and delivery.

The autumn statement. Expect more short term money for housing. Local authorities – are you geared up to take advantage of opportunities and incentives to build more homes? ALMOs – have you positioned yourselves to be your LA sponsors’ partner of choice? Developers and contractors – how ready are you to step up if there is more money available?

Autumn is likely to be a busy time, so happy reading and enjoy your summer break.

For more information contact Steve Douglas: or any of the team.