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Chairs' Conference 2020
Norton House Hotel & Spa

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Fri 31 - Sat 1, Feb from
11:15 to 15:00 (BST)


Norton House Hotel & Spa
Ingliston, Edinburgh, EH28 8LX


From £ 460

Chairs play a crucial and distinctive role providing effective leadership to their organisations.  This has never been more important than right now, as housing associations in Scotland face ever-evolving challenges.   Being able to continually adapt and innovate within the regulatory landscape of our sector is essential, with the governing body leading the way.

This conference will explore what the future might hold for governance, exploring such themes as the Scottish Government’s ongoing Housing 2040 consultation, succession planning, inclusive living and more in depth look at the role of the chair.    

It will also look at how the new Regulatory Framework is bedding in following the submission of the first Annual Assurance Statements, plus how organisations are adapting to the new Freedom of Information requirements.   Throughout the conference there will be sessions where you will hear direct examples from the sector, focussing on how governance and regulation does not have to hinder innovation.  


Aimed at Chairs and Vice Chairs, the conference is taking place on Friday 31 January and Saturday 1 February. It will provide an opportunity for delegates to network with peers from across the country, and come away with fresh ideas and different perspectives.   This participative, engaging conference will be hugely beneficial to all who attend.

The conference will take place in Norton House Hotel and Spa, Edinburgh. Built in 1840 and set in 55 acres of  grounds the hotel was intended as a traditional country retreat.

Norton House features an award-winning restaurant and all 83 individually decorated rooms provide free WiFi, free wired Internet and 24-hour room service.

The hotel is just a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh city centre and a mere 10 minutes away from Edinburgh Airport.

Residential places are sold out but if you wish to be added to the waiting list please contact SFHA Events Team on events@sfha.co.uk

If you have any questions about the programme please contact Karen Devin, Events Producer kdevin@sfha.co.uk

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


Member Price £ 460

Non-member Price £710

Chairs' Conference 2020 at Norton House Hotel & Spa

Ingliston, Edinburgh, EH28 8LX


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Main Sponsor

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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

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.

Bryony Willet profile image

Bryony Willet
Maryhill Housing Association

Bryony was appointed Chief Executive of Maryhill Housing in March 2017. She joined Maryhill in August 2015 as Director of Housing. Prior to that, Bryony worked at Islington Council for nine years having started as a graduate trainee. 

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Since joining Maryhill Housing, Bryony has led key projects such as the introduction of a new rent structure, the re-procurement of key repairs and maintenance contracts, structural reviews of the Neighbourhood Team, Senior Management Team and Housing Management Service. Bryony is currently a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland Board and was previously a Board Director at Hyelm Housing Association in London.

Bryony’s expertise includes change management, business planning, strategy development, procurement, regeneration, resident engagement, service development and contract management. Bryony is responsible for leading the organisation and Corporate Services including Governance, HR and IT.

Nigel Fortnum profile image

Nigel Fortnum

Nigel has been involved in executive search for nearly 20 years, successfully running his own consultancy, Fortnum Select, before joining Aspen in 2012. He brought with him a wealth of experience in the commercial world of Agri-Business with some of the leading names in Agrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Animal Nutrition. This allowed him to specialise in the key industries of Agri-Business, Food and Drink, and FMCG within Executive search.

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In the last four years Nigel has discovered a new passion for the Social Housing sector, developing his own specialised Housing team within Aspen.  He believes Aspens contribution to tackling the social housing issue is to ensure that strong candidates are appointed into key roles; candidates who will drive forward the vision and values of their organisation and positively impact the communities and tenants they serve.

Aspen is a values led organisation and Nigel leads by example dedicated his spare time to charitable causes and acting as a mentor for Entrepreneurial Spark, Adopt an Intern and STem Ambassador.

Dr Vikki McCall profile image

Dr Vikki McCall
University of Stirling & SFHA Board

Vikki is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing at the University of Stirling. Her work focuses on Housing and Ageing and she is leading three major programmes exploring housing and health integration through the lens of an ageing population.

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Other work has included extensive research on the role of front-line workers, users and volunteers and the policy process. This has included exploring front-line worker discretion, interpretations, activities and actions.  Part of this work has been around bridging the gap between policy and practice.

Vikki is also a Board Member at the SFHA and of Parkhead Housing Association.

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