Polling at yesterday's ACS webinar on the NHF's 2020 Code of Governance revealed that 50% of delegates are looking to adopt the Code by 1 April 2021 with the other half looking at later years or still completing their gap analysis. 40% also confirmed they expected their boards to require a comparison between the latest NHF Code and alternative Codes that could be adopted before they make a final decision. However, many delegates were concerned about adopting the Code for 2021/22 when there are so many other priorities to contend with, including coming out of the pandemic, Brexit, building safety issues, the zero-carbon agenda and a likely economic recession massively affecting their residents.
I came away with two other key points from the delegates' discussions. First, with the absolutely appropriate emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion and the move towards maximum six-year terms for board members, how many existing Board Members will feel they are unwelcome "yesterday's leaders" and should make room for a younger, more diverse cohort? Many governance professionals are concerned with how they maintain good governance whilst there is the potential for major changes in board membership and the loss of corporate memory around the board table. And where will associations find this new diverse group of non-executives ready and equipped to lead their organisations? The ability for board members to attend via virtual meetings and therefore could be located anywhere may well be part of the answer.
Secondly, whilst it is entirely optional over when associations adopt the new Code, there are some constituent parts that need to be embraced whatever they do. These include associations challenging themselves on value for money measures, placing residents at the heart of engagement and accountability structures and ensuring the safety of both residents and employees. Are you ready for 2021?
A baseline for many housing associations to establish their own governance arrangements