Covid 19 – CEO’s Update

So there I was hoping for some peace and quiet when I came out of hospital two weeks ago; but that was a different world and here I am self-isolating in my bedroom typing this blog so that you and I can remember all  the things that the UKAA has been doing this week.  

Where to start? Well maybe to mention my newfound mastery of Zoom (and to wish I owned shares in them) which we are using to host all our meetings and UKAA events. This week we held our first two on-line Operators’ forums and a Membership and Events Committee meeting which we used to work out how best we can support and add value to members when we can’t hold physical meetings and round tables. The conclusion we reached was that we need to provide an on-line platform for members to exchange views and share learnings about doing business under Covid 19So, we will be doing that from next week, in three ways: 

  1. Hosting open forums for members to exchange views and share experiences probably weekly and focussed on a particular section of members (operators, advisers, suppliers etc).  
  2. Scheduling webinars / meetings focussed on specific topics either led by an expert or a member with particular experiences to share. Topics we have lined up already include Virtual viewings, Resident engagement and Keeping fit and healthy in your apartment. Let us know if you have a topic you would like us to cover.   
  3. Online data resource hosted on our website to hold information that we and you think will be useful. You will be able to post your own information / links and make comments. 

Details and schedules to be published start of next week. 

Lesley and I also been engaged with the BPF and others in writing to government about a number of key issues. Last Friday the BPF sent a letter asking for clarity on support for renters and this week we have been drafting lists of critical safety functions to be carried out in buildings and asking for  certainty that staff and contractors are treated as essential workers when carrying out these tasks. You should have received copies of these, and they are on our Covid 19 resource page.  

We also issued a request for members to assist the NHS with accommodation and services. Amongst the responses was an offer of Digital Forensics & Incident Response support from one member which we have passed on to the NHS head of data security & compliance. 

On the same theme, Debra Yudolph at Say is relaunching her Do Some Good Initiative to support the NHS – please do what you can to provide operational support, medical supplies or accommodation. We all need the NHS and the NHS needs our help. 

However, in time Covid 19 will pass and things will return to a new normal. We’re starting to think about the programme for our conference in November and expecting the next few months to provide a whole lot of lessons to learn and new ways of working to emerge and hopefully by then we’ll be in the mood for celebration.  

Before then, though we’re not quite sure when right now, we will be celebrating our own people and teams at the BTRs – The Build To Rent Talent Recognition Awards. Recognizing the unique circumstances and that our front line and back office staff will be the ones who make a dfiierence over the next few months, we’re going to hold open nominations until Covid 19 has passed. So if you see someone making a difference, nominate them here. 

More next week, in the meantime stay safe. 

Dave Butler