Lord Digby Jones, the champion of business and efficiency, has praised the Central Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC) for using initiative as they endeavour to help solve the housing crisis.
At their sixth annual conference last month, held at the Sixways Stadium in Worcester, Lord Jones spoke strongly about “the need to do things differently to make change happen”.
Addressing the conference, the former trade minister said: “In the UK we struggle to get things done and therefore fail to be competitive,” referencing how in the past he was personally scuppered by council red tape in an attempt to start a small housing association from his own pocket.
“The solution is to earn and spend more productively within public sector money, as housing associations provide for an ever changing social fabric.
“What we earn and spend now will decide the future of our children and grandchildren. Because CHIC and their partners are using their initiative, they are giving the public housing sector a real chance to thrive.”
The conference theme was to ‘Buy Better, Build More’ by way of more sensible procurement decisions, with the latest technology and solutions available from experts and exhibitors.
CHIC consortium members benefit from cashable savings, in the case of one member having saved enough to build another 50 homes, helping to deliver on the Government’s demand for new property builds.
A wide range of workshops contributed to making the conference the most diverse yet, covering the launch of a new legal framework that can yield savings of 30 percent on standard rates, a new build modular housing solution and an updated merchant’s framework. There were also details available about the 130 new projects with CHIC involvement currently taking place nationwide.
The conference was also an opportunity to celebrate the social value the consortium has brought through its projects. A main requirement of every contract is to invest in developing staff, highlighted by Lord Jones presenting the Trainee of the Year award to Nicole Taylor from Lift and Engineering Services, who has exhibited the hard work and commitment it takes to win the competitive prize.
John Fisher, managing director of CHIC, said: “The overarching message I would like people to take away is to not be satisfied with a one-off, clever purchase. Working together through a consortium can yield significant savings that can be re-invested in new homes, and that is what the public housing sector needs”.
“I would also like to thank Lord Digby Jones for keeping our conference crowds entertained with his political anecdotes and impressive name dropping, but mainly for being such a passionate advocate for the housing sector.
“His key challenges epitomise CHIC’s approach – being prepared to do things differently whilst recognising that this takes strong leadership”.