National Housing Federation Leadership for Housing Programme

‌The National Housing Federation (NHF) represents 1,300 independent, not-for-profit housing associations in England and campaigns for better housing and neighbourhoods. Its members provide more than two million homes for five million people.

Programme development: investing in housing association leadership for the future

The Federation had identified a need to develop the skills of senior managers within the housing sector and develop a new cohort of leaders for the future. It had already initiated a wider Leadership 2010 scheme designed to upgrade skills across its member organisations. 

After discussions between LUMS, the NHF and its members, a challenging postgraduate programme was developed, which would offer opportunities for some of the sector's most talented senior managers to focus on essential skills in managing and leading change and to increase their understanding of current and emerging issues within the sector. It would also act as a springboard for those who had already been identified as potential future leaders of housing associations.

Programme structure: sharing best practice

The programme is built around six core residential modules, held at various venues, which have a strong element of debate and discussion. These are complemented by action learning sets, enabling participants to learn from one another and extend their knowledge of sectoral issues, and by individual coaching sessions which allow individuals to explore their personal leadership issues with an experienced coach. The programme culminates in a Leadership Forum held at the National Housing Federation's London headquarters.

Programme impact 

Feedback from individual participants reflects the impact that the programme has had on working practices and levels of personal confidence. Simon Cavanagh, Regeneration Project Manager at Sanctuary Housing, described it as "an excellent experience", adding that "Through traditional and experiential methods, I learnt to recognise and develop my strengths and improve areas of weakness. I have carried much of my learning into the workplace and I feel confident and able to approach the greater challenges ahead."

The verdict from Jane Greenoak, Director of Customer and Corporate Services at the National Housing Federation is equally positive: “We chose Lancaster because of its world-class reputation for leadership development. Our partnership to deliver the Leadership for Housing programme has been extremely successful, and the results this programme delivered have exceeded all my expectations.”