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Chairs Conference 2019
DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood

Event Finished


Fri 1 - Sat 2, Feb from
11:15 to 15:00 (BST)


DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood
1 St Andrews Drive, Nr Glasgow, G68 0EW



Thank you to all who attended the SFHA's Chairs Conference, presentations are now available to download.

The conference saw over ‚Äč80 Chairs and Vice Chairs from across the sector come together to share experiences and good practice.

This years sessions included:

  • The new regulatory Framework George Walker, SHR Chair and Andrew Watson, SHR Board Member
  • Freedom of Information – Hearing From Other Sectors with Daren Fitzhenry, Scottish Information Commissioner and Jean Duncan of Edinburgh Leisure
  • We closed this years conference hearing from Martin Wilkie-McFarlane of  Wellhouse Housing Association and Julie Smillie of Molendinar Park Housing Association - organisations have been through statutory intervention and emerged stronger on the other side.

There was lots of lively discussion in the workshops.


If you have any queries about the conference or you wopuld like to contribute to next years conference please contact Karen Devin, Events Producer on kdevin@sfha.co.uk

If you are interested in joining the SFHA Chairs Forum contact Alan Stokes, Policy Lead on astokes@sfha.co.uk



Member Price

Non-member Price

Chairs Conference 2019 at DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood

1 St Andrews Drive, Nr Glasgow, G68 0EW


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Linda Ewart profile image

Linda Ewart

Linda Ewart has provided support to a wide range of housing associations, first in a variety of roles with the SFHA and, in the last ten years, as an independent consultant. 

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With a background, in policy development and good practice advice, she has experience in many fields and has led sector negotiations on regulatory matters, lobbied government and politicians and influenced legislation and policy. 

As an independent consultant, Linda has specialised in housing association governance, working with governing bodies and staff on a wide range of issues including business and strategic planning, policy review and development and regulatory compliance.  

George Walker profile image

George Walker
Chair, Scottish Housing REgulator

George is an experienced Chair, Non-Executive Director and Corporate Executive. 

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Over his 25 yr corporate career he worked in the pharmaceutical industry and latterly the fund management business in the U.K. and extensively overseas. George served as an NHS Non-Executive Director for NHS Lothian where he Chaired the Finance and Resources Committee overseeing financial governance. He Chaired the Integration Joint Board, leading on health and social care integration in Edinburgh, in its set up phase. He has long supported Charitable organisations in the UK and overseas. He is a passionate supporter of the need for high quality social housing. He believes that good and effective regulation can support this key sector and importantly help to deliver stronger outcomes for tenants.

He graduated from the University of Glasgow, and has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. Over his corporate career he worked in the pharmaceutical industry and latterly the fund management business. George has worked in the U.K. and extensively overseas, living and working in New York for 7 years prior to returning to Edinburgh.  George served three terms as Non-Executive Director of NHS Lothian. He Chaired the Finance and Resources Committee overseeing the governance of capital projects such as the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and an annual budget of some £1.5 billion. He was a member of the Remuneration and Acute Hospitals Committees. He Chaired the Integration Joint Board, leading on health and social care integration in Edinburgh, in its set up phase. George has long supported Charitable organisations in the UK and overseas. He was formerly a Trustee and Chair of the Finance & Investment Committee of the Edinburgh & Lothians Health foundation. He is currently a Trustee and Treasurer of Waverley Care, Scotland's HIV and Hep C charity

Daren Fitzhenry profile image

Daren Fitzhenry
Scottish Information Commissioner

Daren Fitzhenry took up post as Scottish Information Commissioner in October 2017, for a fixed term of six years

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Prior to his current role, he was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force Legal Branch, heading up its legal advisory team, with wide-ranging experience in the development, implementation and enforcement of regulatory systems.  

As Scottish Information Commissioner, Daren is responsible for the enforcement and promotion of Scotland’s freedom of information laws. This includes handling appeals about the way in which Scottish public authorities respond to information requests, promoting good practice and monitoring and assessing FOI performance.  

He is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, recognising the significant benefits that FOI brings to society, not least its key role in enabling the public's participation and engagement in the issues which really matter to them.

Lorna Wilson profile image

Lorna Wilson

Lorna is Innovation and Futures Thinking Lead at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, which exists to lead, represent and support housing associations and co-operatives throughout Scotland.

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Lorna is creating new solutions for the Home of the Future, Customer Service Transformation, and Tackling Poverty.

Having worked in housing for over 20 years, Lorna’s experience includes developing services through partnerships, strategic planning, and research and development, most recently for Wheatley Group – Scotland’s largest housing and care provider.

Andrew Watson profile image

Andrew Watson
Scottish Housing Regulator

Andrew has worked in finance for more than 35 years and is contracted as a senior adviser to QMPF LLP, an Edinburgh based advisory business with considerable experience of advising on investment in social infrastructure.

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Andrew was previously Convener of Berwickshire Housing Association, and also served as chair of its finance committee. Andrew will bring his experience in finance, knowledge of the affordable housing sector and awareness of good governance to the Board.

Mike Bruce profile image

Mike Bruce
Weslo Housing Management

His career has been spent in housing, starting in 1974 with Scottish Special Housing Association, moving on in 1989 to Scottish Homes when that body was formed and continuing with Weslo since its inception in 1994.

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During his Weslo career, Mike has been at the forefront of many of the initiatives which have been instrumental in the growth of the company and enhanced its reputation in the housing sector. From the introduction of the company’s Flexible Tenure Scheme in the late 90’s through to the present and the Company’s venture into the private rented sector, he continues to explore opportunities in the market to grow the company and improve the service it provides to its tenants. A member of the Chartered Institute of Housing,’s UK Housing Panel , Mike is a regular presenter at housing conferences and seminars as well as a periodic contributor of published articles and commentaries on the Scottish housing environment.

Karen Anderson profile image

Karen Anderson
Indigo House

Karen is an expert in governance and leadership development. Karen has worked in the voluntary housing sector for 25 years and has supported new governing bodies to set up a number of RSLs across Scotland

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Karen has led three diverse RSLs to success as Chief Executive in conjunction with the governing bodies; directly supported a wide range of RSLs’ governing bodies and senior staff as a Consultant; provided governance, strategy and leadership training for governing body members, principal officers and staff; and contributed to national housing policy, strategy and good practice. Karen has Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI).

Karen led Cordale Housing Association, Clyde Valley Housing Association and River Clyde Homes as Chief Executive between 1995 and 2009, successfully delivering on challenging turnaround, growth and set up strategies respectively. Since then, Karen has used her direct experience to support RSLs in comprehensive governance improvement; strategic options appraisal, strategy development and implementation; structure reviews; merger; stock transfer; change management; compliance reviews; and crisis management.

Karen specializes in engaging with governing body members and senior staff to improve governance, develop and implement robust strategies and build and maintain confident leadership. She engages closely with governing bodies and events include participative away days and single focus meetings designed to strengthen ownership of the evolving plans. She designs and delivers events to encourage thoughtful and constructive input from staff and service users and engages other key stakeholders in discussion, presenting draft plans and gathering useful feedback for reflection in the final plans as appropriate.   Karen regularly feeds back to the governing body to build their confidence in leading on the comprehensive finalized plans, which she prepares and presents for governing body consideration and approval.

John Norrie profile image

John Norrie
TC Young

John Norrie  is an Associate at TC Young

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John Norrie jointly leads the provision of employment law advice within TC Young and has over ten years experience in this field.  John uses his enthusiasm to provide practical and effective advice to clients, and is especially known for being commercially-minded when doing so.

John acts for both employers and employees in all areas of employment law and contractual disputes.

John has particular experience in working closely with boards and senior management to advise on a variety of complex employment matters at a strategic level.

John is also a qualified mediator with the necessary skills and understanding to quickly and effectively resolve escalating disputes.  He is also regularly writes in various publications on the subjects of employment law, public policy and economics.



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