Our top ten sector predictions for 2020

Our top ten sector predictions for 2020

As we enter a new decade, we have been reflecting on what the sector should expect in 2020…

1. A post-election policy surge… which will finally see a response to the Green Paper. With a majority government now in place, a more certain political landscape should see more progress on the domestic agenda. This includes what the future of consumer regulation will look like for social housing providers.

2. Cybersecurity will be a key priority. The digitalisation curve shows no signs of slowing, with 87% of providers still ‘developing digitally’[1]. As the number of digital transactions and amount of ‘big data’ increase, so do the risks around cybersecurity and cyber fraud. Providers will need to make sure their strategies are fit for the future, and that existing operational controls are working correctly to protect their organisations.

3. Networking and sharing will be more important than ever. There will continue to be complex, competing demands on housing providers in 2020. Collaboration is moving up a gear, with an increase in meaningful resident engagement, co-designed services, partnering to increase capability and capacity without adding to fixed overheads and use of secondments, shadowing and job swaps. Which brings us on to…

4...The boom of the alternative merger. Scaling up, driving efficiencies, and gaining expertise through combined strength is no longer the exclusive domain of the merger. Of course, mergers are and will continue to be part of our sector landscape, but we are seeing more regional groups develop. Collaborative partnerships, like Iceni Houses in the East, are tackling the housing crisis through shared services and executive twinning with other providers and neighbourhood organisations.  This more fluid type of collaboration is really gaining traction where a merger may not always be the best fit for value creation and performance. 

5. Investment in data analytics will increase. Whether that’s skills, services or systems – Forbes reporteddramatically last summer that “companies that still aren’t investing heavily in analytics by 2020 probably won’t be in business in 2021.” 

6. ‘The climate emergency’ will be part of day-to-day discussions. A distinguishing factor between the 2017 and 2019 general elections was the prevalence of climate issues. We are also seeing this in our conversations with providers, and the role that the sector can play in tackling climate change and supporting a zero-carbon future is likely to shape decision making in 2020.

7. The B word…no, don’t be silly, we haven’t a clue what will happen with Brexit…but we do know a thing or two about Building Safety. You will need to know, report on and evidence the condition of your stock, your asset management strategy and practice, compliance and repairs performance as new regulation hits in 2020

8. Ways of working will change. We might not have moved to a four-day working week by this time next year, but the future of work is changing. Working from Anywhere replaces Working from Home as agile working and technology becomes more accessible. And whilst this promotes exciting and attractive prospects for those looking for more flexibility, freedom and fluidity between home and work lives, leaders will be tackling new and existing issues of technology, culture, communication and collaboration.

9. Partners > suppliers. Relationships are changing and we are shifting how we work with external companies. More and more want to work with people, who, while sit outside of their business structurally, feel a part of their organisations. All the benefits of outsourcing (variable cost base, increased expertise and capacity and on the hook performance specification) coupled with being within an organisation - knowing your business, being part of the culture and getting the context for your organisation. We predict a more fluid choice, with flexibility to meet needs at a given time. 

10. A new decade will act as a catalyst for change. 2020 has many of us wondering what we have done with ourselves since the millennium. Aside from a seismic shift in technology, the world stage and a number of questionable fashion choices, we reflect on where we have been – which means we’ll also look to achieve those things we didn’t quite tick off the to-do list. Spilling into our work lives, don’t be surprised if you see a flurry of new announcements, initiatives and campaigns as we all aim to start the new decade on the right foot.

HouseMark has been working with the UK housing sector for more than 20 years to deliver data-driven insights, answers and solutions that drive performance improvements. To find out more about how we could support your organisation through our unique data analysis and insight, our events, learning and innovation offer, or through our bespoke consultancy solutions into 2020 and beyond, contact elaine.middleton@housemark.co.uk.

[1] Customer Experience Comparison Project, HouseMark 2019. Executive summary available here: https://www.housemark.co.uk/media/2531/customer-experience.pdf

By Natalia Karska

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