Interview with Kate Davies

Kate Davies joined Notting Hill Housing as chief executive in 2004.
Prior to this, Kate was chief executive of Servite Houses and director of housing in Brighton and Hove.

In April 2018, Kate was appointed chief executive when Notting Hill Housing merged with Genesis Housing Association.
What has been happening since the merger?
We have put a lot of effort into aligning our systems and designing the future, and this has involved both staff and residents. The new service design captures the best of both previous approaches: a named local officer to help people who need it; a digital (and phone) support team; and really well-designed digital services for those that prefer them.

We have made a few specific changes to benefit residents such as making moves across the whole stock possible. We have also been piloting a new system which will make it much easier for residents to pay their rent and organise repairs online, and are consulting on a new way of getting repairs done directly by small local providers. This should bring more speed, flexibility and satisfaction to the repairs process.

All of this change is focused on speed, efficiency, and better services, and is aimed at increasing customer satisfaction.

The resident promise has helped shape our new involvement and consultation structures which are working well.

What have been the biggest challenges in the housing sector recently?
The most important challenge at the moment is probably the overall shortage of affordable homes for people who need them: your sons and daughters, people who are in insecure private rented homes, people who lose their homes due to job loss, ill health and so on. We do what we can but government grants are too small, so we lobby and campaign for more social housing.

Secondly, we are dismayed by the impact of “welfare reform” which has reduced the incomes of some of our residents, especially working age households and those with young children.

Thirdly, health and safety is rightly a huge priority at the moment. This has necessitated additional spending on fire and other safety measures. This means we cannot necessarily spend as much on other areas of home improvement, but safety must be a primary concern.

Name one thing that you love about your work
Being able to provide a new home for more than 1,000 families each year – and I have been here for 15 years. That feels momentous and life changing.