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About Steve Smedley

Steve is an Acuity associate and independent consultant. He is author of "Social Hearts and Business Heads" and his experience in Social Housing and enthusiasm for improving services has led him to become a leading thinker and practitioner in the sector.

Author Archive | Steve Smedley

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VFM consultation: what you need to know

By now you will have clocked that the HCA’s long-awaited consultation on the Value for Money standard was published last week and that VFM is even more important than the last time it was even more important. The basic principles remain the same: VFM is about maximising organisational objectives by having a comprehensive and strategic …..Read the full article »

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The only thing I’m sure about is uncertainty

The social housing sector is at a crossroads with the lights stuck on red, thanks to a series of unfortunate, and now tragic, events. We started with a government gleefully declaring war on red tape, culling regulators and regulation and simultaneously dismantling public services and the welfare state, including social housing. They pursued, with religious …..Read the full article »

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What to look forward to this Spring?

There’s no avoiding the issue of value for money this year, as the regulator’s consultation on the standard is coloured by the Government’s drive to make associations more efficient and increase housing supply. While we’re all waiting for the Homes and Communities Agency to release its consultation paper in late spring, it’s worth being aware of …..Read the full article »

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Christmas past, present and future: a seasonal analysis

Part 2: I’m dreaming of a White Paper: In Part 1 we covered the view from the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. So looking ahead, what can we expect from the most feared of spectres: The Housing White Paper, decoupled from the Autumn Statement, but hopefully strengthening the fair winds for associations, is expected …..Read the full article »

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Christmas past, present and future: a seasonal analysis

Part 1: Another year over and a new one begun … nearly Through autumn the mood music mellowed to one that is more agreeable to the sector. The regime change afforded by the departure of the three kings of housing policy – Cameron, Osborne and special advisor Morton – ushers in the possibility of a …..Read the full article »

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Putting the finishing touches on your VFM self-assessment

The final countdown Many of you will be adding the last touches to your VFM self-assessments if you haven’t done so. Some will be looking to have a second bite of the cherry by complementing what goes in the financial statements with a more detailed VFM statement or additional information (eg updated benchmarking data) for …..Read the full article »

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What the HCA expects from smaller associations

What’s it all about Ashby? As my children grow up I console myself that I have VFM to keep me young. There’s always something new to delight and fascinate. Especially now, when politically, the VFM of the sector is in question. Nobody should be surprised about the regulator beefing up VFM. So what just happened? …..Read the full article »

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All change …. what can we look forward to in 2016?

As the dust settles on another Spending Review, I’ve been reflecting on what the latest developments mean for housing associations, particularly the smaller community-based ones. The Review comes on the back of what might already be described as an eventful year for the sector; just about every component of the operating environment is changing from …..Read the full article »

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What’s the plan?

The past six months have seen a steady feed of policy announcements that appear to be components of an ideological view of what social housing is for and where it fits within the housing market and wider social policy. It seems to be part of the government’s ongoing programme, started in 2010, to reset the …..Read the full article »

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Zen and the art of VFM

Zen and the art of VFM regulation

The sector is smarting from its dust-up with the HCA following the submission of lacklustre VFM self-assessments in 2013. The regulator has made it clear that if VFM is not taken seriously this year, there is likely to be more unpleasantness in the shape of further governance downgrades, and in its wake deepening sectoral reputational …..Read the full article »

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