1:11:20 — Purpose and Governance
Reflections on my week in my world of social value, business need, data driven and digital impact
It’s been hard this week to be an un-reconstituted Yorkshireman (as one on my colleagues once described me). All of the characteristics that make us proud, tough, watchful, self-sufficient, no one’s fool look ‘anything but’ in the mirror that is social media. And poor corporate governance at Yorkshire Cricket Club played a huge part in the debacle.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have jumped into my new role as non-Exec at a housing association. Unlike our sporting peers, the organisation is proactive and pre-emptive on the issues of the era: climate change, well-being and equity, diversity and inclusion.
Within the period of a couple of weeks I will have attended a board, operations committee, city tour, strategy day and diversity network. Most enjoyable of all was the initiative to bring past board members and shareholders to hear the ‘state of the association’ and maintain the history, values, and challenges of the organisation. Those attending were obviously delighted and proud to remain part of the ‘team’.
I’m still feeling imposter in this world of governance. As a hands-on leader and change agent it’s hard to stop jumping in with advice. But I am trying to learn. It will take time. I was recruited because of my ICT, digital and data portfolio.
ICT governance is an emerging topic and is becoming more important because of the fusion between business and ICT. The regulator for social housing is beginning to take more of an interest in governance breaches: that lose sight of ICT investment programme costs; or rely on good quality data for compliance processes. The Information Commissioners Office has the power to apply large fines for breaches in loss of data, including breaches because of poor defences to cyber security.
Last year to NHF republished its Code of Governance. But I felt it completely overlooked the technology angle. So, I wrote my own! Our good ICT governance framework and assessment is in final stages of co-development with a consultative group of sector technology influencers and ICT Directors who represent twenty housing associations.
The regulator of social housing published its thinking on reshaping consumer regulation and the steps it is taking to prepare for its expanded consumer regulation role outlined in the social housing white paper. At its heart are proposals to collect data from new tenant satisfaction measures (aren’t there any already you may ask).
All of this feels very overdue (Grenfell Tower fire occurred over 4 years ago) and laboured. I’m sure it could have been sorted in a well facilitated afternoon workshop. Instead, we had to unpick this rather bureaucratic diagram and consultation process.
I couldn’t help but LOL to @AlistairMcIntosh cheeky social media post about omitting ITV from the process.
Back in consulting world, I am working with several clients on housing management applications — either procurements or reviews of existing systems to get the best from them.
There’s much debate in the sector about the quality of systems and there’s a few new entrants on the scene too. Some larger providers have started to build enterprise solutions, the majority with MS Dynamics.
But sometimes the pain points are created because of the disconnect between the IT department and the application users and as result we are managing systems that haven’t been updated to the latest version or haven’t kept pace with changing customer experience programmes.
We had some light-hearted discussions about what if you treated your car like you treated your ICT system: no driving instructor, no highway code, no servicing, no lubrication, no destination. The result:
We got back on track by reminding ourselves about why we bought the system — what was its purpose? Keep that prominent and visible!