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Have you booked yet for NIFHA’s biggest and best Annual Conference? Join us at the beautiful Roe Park Resort, Limavady, 11-12th October for the highlight of the NI Housing Association sector’s calendar.

LEARN from the experts in social and affordable housing across the UK. Be INSPIRED, make new CONTACTS and build RELATIONSHIPS across the sector.



If you are a senior professional working for or in partnership with housing associations in Northern Ireland, then NIFHA’s 2018 Annual Conference is for you. Join chief executives, chairs, board members, directors, decision makers, industry professionals and government department officials to analyse current issues, share best practice, and look ahead to the future.

Wendy Austin, presenter, Inside Business on BBC Radio Ulster, is chairing #NIFHA18

Business journalist Wendy Austin takes the helm as conference chair, welcoming a host of expert speakers on the most important developments and issues facing the sector.


Plenary sessions include:


The outlook for the economy and the housing sector

  • The economist’s view point – Jordan Buchanan, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre
  • The Brexit viewpoint – Ann Rodgers Hampton, Consultant
  • The outlook for social housing – Leo O’Reilly, Dept for Communities

Value for money in housing associations: are you there yet?

  • VFM: influencing building better homes – Adele McNamara, UK Regulator of Social Housing
  • Value for Money the WWH – Anne Hinchey, Wales & West Housing
  • How to get value of money from your assets – Tom McCormack, Hexagon Housing

Future-Proofing Welfare Reform

  • Facing the challenge of welfare reform in Scotland – Jeremy Hewer, SFHA
  • Impact of welfare sanctions and how can landlords support tenants – Gary Vaux, Money Advice Services Hertfordshire
  • The threats that welfare reform has brought to our sector – Eileen Patterson, Radius Housing

Tenant engagement: what does this mean?

  • Involving tenants in the continuous improvement of services – Shane Clements, DFC
  • What does tenant participation mean to me? – Bill Jeffrey, Choice Housing Tenant

Developing shared futures for mixed communities

  • Building good relations through housing – Eilish O’Neill, DfC
  • What makes a successful ‘Housing for all’ project? – Tim O’Malley, Clanmil Housing
  • Improving good relations in social housing developments – Richard Mealey, HAIP Project
  • Living in a shared neighbourhood- Christine McCarron, tenant- Clanmil Housing

Effective communication with tenants

  • Digital by Demand versus Digital by Default – Helen Stevenson, Reason Digital
  • Communications around UC for tenants – Janet Hunter, Housing Rights
  • Supporting tenants through nudge methodologies – John Moore, consultant
  • Managing reputations in a world of social media- Carl Whyte, MW Advocate

How Housing associations are supporting vulnerable people

  • What is the outlook for our vulnerable clients and the SP programme? – Ricky Rowledge, CHNI
  • What’s next for care and support services? – Cameron Watt, Alpha Housing
  • The changing philosophies in care and support – Amanda Jackson, RQIA

Tenant engagement: maximising benefits for tenants and associations

  • How is technology transforming tenant expectation and how should housing associations respond? – Dominic Colella, smartcrowds
  • How tenants are having a say in how public funds are used to address their local needs – Chris Alexander, Triangle Housing
  • Transforming our relationships with customers – Sheenagh McNally, Supporting Communities

Sector leadership: where is it going?

  • Is it the end for traditional top-down leadership? – Sarah Abbott, The People Practice
  • A young leader’s view of were the sector should be in 10 years – Tom Potter,Clanmil Housing
  • The changing nature and responsibilities of being a leader – Dr Joanne Murphy, WJ Clinton Leadership Institute

Challenges facing the development of new social homes

  • Local development plans: what can the sector do to support and shape the delivery of new social housing for the next 10 years? – Angela Wiggam, Turley
  • Modern methods of construction: can these meet the challenges of rising costs and skills shortages? – Eugene Lynch, McAvoy Group


The Hackitt Review: what does this mean for our sector?

  • Fire safety in social housing: what you need to be doing – Eamon Gallagher, Elcar Ltd
  • What the Hackitt Report means for contractors and developers: the legal view– Adrian Kerr, Mills Selig
  • How should social housing landlords change after Grenfell? – Greg Campbell, Campbell Tickell

Engaging Local Government

  • How, why and when to engage with your local council on planning and development – Derek McCallan, NILGA
  • Is local planning working and where are the fixes? Dermot O’Kane, Belfast City Council
  • A developer’s perspective on local government engagement- Niall Sheridan, Choice Housing
  • Community Planning and the role of housing- Cllr Joan Baird, Causeway Coast & Glens Planning Committee
  • What should housing associations be doing to make community planning work for tenants- Tim O’Malley, Clanmil Housing

Housing association boards: their values, their roles, their visions

  • The importance of having the right ethos and skills ‘where the buck stops’ – Sarah Witchell, Chair, Habinteg Housing
  • Managing the tensions of social enterprise and commercialisation- Neville Armstrong (Chair, Rural Housing)
  • Leading from the Chair- the 3 E’s – Hazel Bell, Chair, Choice Housing- Hazel Bell (Chair, Choice Housing)



Don’t forget to take the opportunity to digest the day’s proceedings, mingle over a lovely meal and kick the evening’s networking off to a fantastic start at our Conference Dinner on Thursday night followed by a short entertainment show.



Sincere thanks to our Conference Sponsors for their valued support.