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Issue 108: October 2017

This Autumn issue of WHQ focuses on housing’s wider role in Welsh communities.

Our cover feature looks at all
 things energy. Shea Jones explains
 the background to a new project on renewable energy while Rob Proctor examines what looks like a bright future for community energy. Is there a potential role in both for housing organisations?

Energy efficiency work offers social landlords the chance to create employment and benefit their tenants at the same time as they contribute to national goals on sustainability. David Bolton says good progress has been made but it needs to be an even greater progress.

A collaboration between Pobl and Swansea University is testing the concept of new homes fitted with enough technology to work as power stations on a development in Neath. Kevin Bygate asks whether 16 ‘Active Homes’ could be the start of something much bigger on a national scale.

The Homes as Power Stations idea is one strand in the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal and our lead feature focuses on a new way of thinking about the economy of the area.

The foundational economy – the parts of the public and private sectors that make everyday life possible such as health, education, supermarkets and utilities – accounts for up to 45 per cent of a local workforce.

Following a report for CREW on
 the potential of a new approach 
that focuses on the foundational economy rather than big infrastructure projects, Joe Earle, Debbie Green and Karel Williams argue that housing associations are ideally placed to play a key role.

Elsewhere in this issue, the latest Homelessness Monitor from Crisis concluded that the Welsh legislation is leading the way 
in the UK. Beth Watts explains why there is great interest elsewhere and the concerns that still need to be addressed here.

On top of our regular update from the Regulatory Board for Wales a series of other articles look at regulation and governance.

Nick Ramsay explains the Public Accounts Committee’s conclusions on the regulation of housing associations.

Joy Kent considers the debate on paying board members and argues
for a different starting point.

 Mike Gaskell and Tom Wainwright ask whether the mutual model pioneered by Merthyr Valleys Homes could help associations maintain their social purpose and local authorities retain their influence in stock transfers.

On top of all that, plus our regular features, we also have a sneak preview of some of the sessions in store at the Community Housing Cymru annual conference. I hope to see you there in November.

Jules Birch, Editor, WHQ

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