Question:- Becky, you have recently launched House of Risk, a Risk & Assurance consultancy business to provide solutions within the housing sector. Can you tell us about your background and what motivated you to set up the business?
“I have worked in the Housing Sector for over 12 years and have gained a huge amount of experience. My role in that time has always included risk management, and all the accompanying complementary areas, including Insurance, Internal Audit, Corporate Assurance, Business Continuity and Data Protection. Working closely with Boards and Committees has been incredibly enjoyable, balancing their requirements of gaining assurance from my functional areas with continuous improvement, has always been top of my priority.
Having gained all this experience, always at the back of my mind I have kept this dream to take my passion for risk and compliance and ‘go it alone’. However, the risk manager in me has always kept me from realising this, until now. As I moved from one organisation last year to another that was going through a merger, I felt that now was the right time to ‘put on my big girls’ pants’ and go for it and I am (so far) so glad that I did.”
Question:- What unique services does House of Risk offer the Housing Sector? Or in other words, what makes your consultancy service to the Housing Sector unique?
“My sector knowledge and experience make House of Risk stand out from other consultants in the market. I can truly understand the needs of a housing organisation and ‘hit the ground running’. I know what is required to provide that overall assurance to Boards, Committees and ultimately the Housing Regulator. I pride myself in bringing innovation to the sector regarding the management of risk. I have made it my life’s work to make risk accessible and most importantly something that adds value to an organisation, rather than be something done to ‘tick a box’. Raising the standard and quality in this area is essential for the housing sector, who will need to work hard to be seen as a sector that should be taken seriously, to reverse the negative publicity that has been seen in recent years.”
Question:- Do you feel there is a risk element within the market that isn’t currently being served, and if so what is it, and how does House of Risk address this?
“House of Risk is set up specifically to ‘fill a gap’ in the current market for support in Risk Management, Internal audit, Insurance, Business Continuity, and Corporate Assurance Activities. If we are to ‘professionalise’ the sector and be seen as a sector that leads the way in these areas, we need innovation. We can’t simply continue doing things the way we have always done them, but instead we need to push the boundaries. I have recently seen examples where associations are simply doing risk management the way they have always done it, because it’s ‘just’ good enough to remain compliant. In my view this is unacceptable, and House of Risk has been set up to ensure that we do not fall into this trap. I am excited about the innovation and passion that we can bring that I haven’t seen elsewhere in the market.”
Question:- What do you feel are the main risks facing the housing sector at the moment?
“Our mission at House of Risk is working to raise the profile of Risk Management in the sector, moving us away from a purely transactional, box ticking exercise. The sector is currently working in an environment that has never been more challenging. An uncertain political landscape, pressures of cost of living, rent increases and funding issues are all headlines, but these are challenges for everyone in business today. However, specific challenges for the sector in my view are the trade-off between the costs of decarbonisation, which have been estimated at £3.5bn a year across the whole of UK social housing through to 2050 to get to net zero.
Negative media coverage of poor social housing conditions has knocked the sector’s reputation and is calling associations to [re]consider communication with residents, with reforms underway as a result. Post Grenfell has exposed a lack of data quality across the board too.
It should no longer be acceptable to have data held on numerous spreadsheets across an organisation. Instead, a focus on digitisation is required and with that financial investment. This is a particular issue in the housing sector where we see mergers and take overs taking place regularly. I have seen first hand the impact that poor quality data is having on insurance premiums, and as the insurance market hardens, this has further exposed the sectors shortfalls around the quality of data.”
Question:- In question 4) you mention that one of the risks facing the housing sector is a lack of digitisation in claims management. What do you feel are the main advantages of managing claims with a software solution?
“As already mentioned, I am passionate about quality of data, something I see as key in any organisation. Having a central system contributes to this significantly, as it allows an organisation to produce claims data at the touch of button once the initial investment in setting up has taken place. We are all in agreement that managing performance through key indicators throughout the business is important, being able to integrate claims performance can often lead to savings and drive behaviour change in areas of poor performance too.
When organisations invest in their own claims management systems this enables them to maintain a single version of the truth around their data, regardless of who provides their insurance cover arrangements. At re-tender time, a change in insurance provider can often result in a loss of access to the historic claims data for example. I have always been a strong advocate for having control within the organisation of the claims data, to ensure ownership of ‘real time’ data that can also be used for other business benefits too, such as managing agents’ responsibilities and asset & liability purposes for example.”
We are very grateful to Becky for taking the time to speak to us, and I’m sure you will agree that this is an enlightening account into Risk Management and Risk Solutions for the Housing Sector. Get in touch with Becky, and for more information about Alphatec, and how our software solutions can support the Housing Sector with digital transformation then contact us.