Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vote for the Englishman from Porthcawl

As many of you will already know, I am standing for the role of Vice President for the Chartered Institute of Housing. Although this is a UK wide role (and beyond if you count our members in Hong Kong and Canada) there has not been a more important time to make sure that the Welsh voice is heard within the CIH.

So why should you vote for ‘an Englishman from Porthcawl’, as Mike Owen has called me?

As far as my CIH credentials go, they are about as good as you can get. I have been an active member of the Chartered Institute of Housing for over 30 years now and I am still as passionate about housing as the day I started my first job as an Area Housing Officer with Eastbourne Borough Council in 1984. Throughout my career I have been involved with the CIH: as a co-opted member of the South East Branch, as a committee member and Chair of the South West Branch, and as a CIH National Council member for six years.

As far as the Welsh bit goes, you’ll have to make your own mind up.

Since moving to Wales in 2008 I have served on the National Business Unit board and am currently Chair of CIH Cymru. Over the last couple of years the CIH has been restructuring and as Chair I was involved in ensuring that the National Business Units (the NBUs of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) were retained. I therefore have a very keen interest in making sure that the voice of the NBUs is not diminished going forward.

Working in Wales as one of the devolved nations, I fully understand that UK (or English) policies aren’t always relevant or applicable to the work we do and this is something that I would ensure was understood. The role of the NBUs in developing responses to UK and devolved legislation is crucial and I would champion the contribution that the three NBUs make to the CIH overall whilst also ensuring that the membership offer from CIH remains relevant and valuable to members in Wales (and Scotland and Northern Ireland).

I can’t pretend I am Welsh, but if I were to be successful in being elected Vice President I would do all I could to raise the profile of housing in Wales and the many brilliant things we do here.

And as a final point, it’s worth noting that we’ve not had a President of the CIH from Wales for many years now, not since the days of Mr Paul Diggory - although I am hoping that that won’t go against me!

Stephen Cook
Chief Executive of Valleys to Coast and Chair of CIH Cymru

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