Altair September e-bulletin featuring London BME Collaborative Work


Welcome to Altair’s September

Our latest e-bulletin arrives in your inbox as we return from our summer breaks, hopefully refreshed and ready for the challenges (and opportunities) that lie ahead.

We share some thoughts on what those might be.

This time of year brings with it a renewed focus on both the immediate and future strategic issues facing the sector. As part of our ongoing thought leadership work, Altair’s Organisational Excellence team are producing a piece of research which will be published and shared with the sector later in the autumn, focusing on how a leading-edge housing organisation will operate in 2025. To inform the research, we will be emailing you next week to take part in a short survey to explore your organisation’s approach to change and your long term vision for your organisation.
Please do take part. Your input is invaluable.

Whilst the summer talk was all about mergers, some organisations have been considering different ways of future working. This edition starts with an article from Gina Amoh, CEO of Inquilab HA and Chair of BME (London) on behalf of a dozen London BME associations who have embarked on a long term strategic collaboration. There are lessons for others, both large and small.

Altair Partner Chris Wood takes a look into our technology future as he concludes that the telephone is dead – read yourself to find out why and whether you agree.

Coming back to this autumn, which for many means taking time out for board away days, Associate Director Andy Ballard asks whether your organisation really is managing the risks on its risk map. We then conclude this edition with Meera Bedi offering a focus on medium and smaller housing associations looking to develop.

This is also a very busy time of year for the Altair team, with us attending and speaking at a range of events over the coming weeks. We would love to meet up with you, so please contact a member of the team if you would like to meet up. Events include:

  • NHF conference (21-23/9) – we are hosting three invite only events at the national conference; a dinner with the regulator on the 21st, a women’s networking dinner for housing leaders on the 22nd and a session with Trowers and Hamlins on ‘IDAs – one year on’.
  • Housing Internal Audit Forum (22/9) – providing a summary of the key issues facing the sector.
  • Trowers and Hamlins Legal Training Day (27/9 & 13/10) – speaking on possible sector futures and Regulation at both London & Manchester events.
  • ICSH Finance conference, Ireland (20-21/9).
  • West Midlands HAs – innovation research launch (27/9)
  • Northern Housing Consortium Finance conference (October, date TBC)
  • Also watch this space as we plan our first ever series of Webinars which will be starting in October.

If you would like to be considered for Altair’s invite only events around the UK and Ireland, please register your interest here.

Please click here to see full article


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BMENational Conference 2016

To book onto the conference please click the link below:


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Collaboration: BME Housing associations join forces

For many in the housing sector, collaborative exercises such as sharing services, joint ventures and strategic alliances have proved extremely difficult and in some cases have remained a pipedream rather than a reality. That hasn’t been the case for a group of twelve BME housing associations, who in January 2016, chose to embark on a series of collaborative projects.
Today marks the launch of a report, commissioned jointly by the group and prepared by Altair, to provide insights into their journey to joint working, as well as highlighting the lessons learnt along the way.
The shared objectives of the project were to deliver enhanced value for money for residents, communities and organisations, share best practice and to provide opportunities for residents to access to services, such as employment support, that the Housing Associations would be unable to deliver alone.
These projects, launched by David Orr, CEO of the NHF on 25 July 2016, have come at a time when collaboration has never been more relevant or necessary. The sector as a whole faces immense challenges and uncertainty in delivering services within the current operating environment.
Gina Amoh Chief Executive of Inquilab Housing Association said; “The project was built on a shared vision across the boards and executive leadership of the housing associations involved. We are proud to have achieved a level of trust and understanding between the group and look forward to working together to realise real benefits for our residents and local communities.”
The key finding of the report is that the group has demonstrated that collaboration can be the ‘art of the possible’, but that it takes time, commitment and not least compromise in order to be achievable.
By working together on areas including employment, procurement and learning and development they will be able to take advantage of increased capacity, better use of resources, and greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services.
Altair partner Steve Douglas, who has worked with the group since the planning stages of the project said, “The commitment of all the organisations taking part has been a key factor in the success of the project to date. It will help them deliver more and improved services to their residents, while also realising efficiency benefits.”
Successful collaboration isn’t an easy feat. There have been a number of lessons learnt from the process which may be useful for others, such as leading from the top, remaining flexible and taking the time to build up trust.
The report also outlines their next steps and future ambitions, where working together remains a fundamental pillar to ensuring that they can tackle the challenges ahead and continue to deliver high quality and efficient services to their customers.
Now the group have established a long-term and embedded approach to joint working, they will be able to seek out other opportunities to achieve greater VfM in the future.

Memorandam of understanding(MOU) IMG_2925 IMG_2924bmenaional

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Community Defence Now: LCAPSV Meeting – 10th July

It has been called to address issues of community defence in light of the sharp rise in racism and racist violence on our streets.

Date: Sunday 10th July

Time: 2.30-6.30pm

Venue: Karibu Education Centre / 7 Gresham Road / Brixton / SW9 7PH
Details can be found here:

Please do spread word as far and wide as possible. We need to organise to protect ourselves and anyone else who is considered foreign to this country.

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Hate Crime – Home Office Minister Karen Brady’s statement

Home Office Minister Karen Brady made a statement in the HoC yesterday about hate crime.

Hate Crime – Hansard Online//

Hate crime of any kind, directed against any community, race or religion, has absolutely no place in our society. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told this House today, we are utterly committed to tackling hate crime, and we will provide extra funding in order to do so. We will also take steps to boost reporting of hate crime and to support victims, issue new Crown Prosecution Service guidance to prosecutors on racially aggravated crime, provide a new fund for protective security measures at potentially vulnerable institutions, and offer additional funding to community organisations so that they can tackle hate crime.

The scenes and behaviour we have seen in recent days, including offensive graffiti and abuse hurled at people because they are members of ethnic minorities or because of their nationality, are despicable and shameful. We must stand together against such hate crime and ensure that it is stamped out. Over the past week, there has been a 57% increase in reporting to the police online reporting portal, True Vision, compared with this time last month, with 85 reports made between Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June compared with 54 reports in the corresponding four days four weeks ago. However, I would urge caution in drawing conclusions from these figures as a guide to the trend, as they are a small snapshot of reports rather than definitive statistics.

Much of the reporting of these incidents has been through social media, including reports of xenophobic abuse of eastern Europeans in the UK, as well as attacks against members of the Muslim community. However, we have also seen messages of support and friendship on social media. I am sure the whole House will want to join me in commending those we have seen stand up for what is right and uphold the shared values that bring us together as a country, such as those who opposed the racist and hateful speech shown in the recent video taken on a tram in Manchester.

These recent events are shocking, but sadly this is not a new phenomenon. Statistics from the Tell MAMA report, published today, show that in 2015 there was a 326% increase on 2014 figures in street-based anti-Muslim incidents reported directly to Tell MAMA, such as verbal abuse in the street and women’s veils being pulled away, with 437 such incidents reported.

Worryingly, the report also finds that 45% of online hate crime perpetrators are supportive of the far right. In recent days, we have seen far-right groups engaged in organised marches and demonstrations, sowing divisions and fear in our communities. We have also seen far-right groups broadcasting extreme racist and anti-Semitic ideology online, along with despicable hate speech posted online following the shocking death of our colleague Jo Cox. Her appalling death just under two weeks ago shocked and sickened people not only in communities up and down this country, but in many other countries around the world. As we heard in the many moving tributes paid to her in this House, her loss is keenly felt, and we will always remember that a husband is now without his loving wife and two young children will grow up without a mother.

The investigation of hate crimes is of course an operational matter for the police. I would urge anyone who has experienced hate crime to report it, whether directly to the police at a police station, by phoning the 101 hotline, or online through the True Vision website. In this country, we have some of the strongest legislation in the world to protect communities from hostility, violence, and bigotry. This includes specific offences for racially and religiously aggravated activity and offences of stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion, and sexual orientation. It is imperative that these laws are rigorously enforced.

The national police lead for hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, has issued a statement confirming that police forces are working closely with their communities to maintain unity and prevent any hate crime or abuse. Police forces will respond robustly to any incidents, and victims can be reassured that their concerns about hate crime will be taken seriously by the police and courts. Any decisions regarding resourcing of front-line policing are a matter for chief constables in conjunction with their police and crime commissioner.

Since coming to office, the Government have worked with the police to improve our collective response to hate crime. The Home Secretary has asked the police to ensure that the recording of religious-based hate crime now includes the faith of the victim—a measure that came into effect this April. We have also established joint training between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the way the police identify and investigate hate crime. Alongside this training, the College of Policing, as the professional body for policing, has published national strategy and operational guidance in this area to ensure that policing deals with hate crime effectively.

But we need to do more to understand the hate crime we are seeing and to tackle it. That is why we will be publishing a new hate crime action plan covering all forms of hate crime, including xenophobic attacks. We have developed the plan in partnership with communities and with Departments across Government. It will include measures to increase the reporting of hate incidents and crimes, including working with communities and police to develop third-party reporting centres. It will work to prevent hate crimes on transport, and to tackle attacks against Muslim women, which we recognise is an area of great concern to the community. The action plan will also provide stronger support for victims, helping to put a stop to this pernicious behaviour.

We appreciate that places of worship are feeling particularly vulnerable at this time. That is why we have established funding for the security of places of worship, as announced by the Prime Minister last October. This will enable places of worship to bid for money to fund additional security measures such as CCTV cameras or fencing. We have also been working with communities to encourage them to come forward to report such crimes, and to give them the confidence that those crimes will be taken seriously by the police and courts. My noble Friends Lord Ahmad and Baroness Williams have today visited the Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith, which was a victim of disgusting graffiti, to express their support. We are working closely with organisations such as Tell MAMA and the Community Security Trust to monitor hate crime incidents and with the police national community tensions team to keep community tensions under review.

The Government are clear that hate crime of any kind must be taken very seriously indeed. Our country is thriving, liberal and modern precisely because of the rich co-existence of people of different backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities, and we must treasure and strive to protect that rich co-existence. We must work together to protect that diversity, defeat hate crime and uphold the values that underpin the British way of life, and we must ensure that all those who seek to spread hatred and division in our communities are dealt with robustly by the police and the courts. I commend this statement to the House.

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