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David Montague's round-up for April 2012

May 11 2012

David Montague, L&Q Chief Executive, reflects on events at L&Q and across the housing sector in April 2012.

Department for Work and Pensions visit

We received a visit from the Department for Work and Pensions team which is overseeing implementation of welfare reform. We shared with them the experience coming from our 2002 pilot of benefits being paid directly to tenants and agreed to work with them to support implementation.

Discussing the future of housing with the Civil Service

Our Group Board and Executive Group met with Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, and Terrie Alafat, senior civil servant at Department for Communities and Local Government to talk about the future of housing. This proved an opportunity for us to share experience from the front line and emphasise our commitment to driving efficiency, taking measured risks and investing in homes, services and communities.

The L&Q Executive Group also spent a day together to discuss the future of housing and our place in it. Just as last year’s planning process ends, this year’s begins.

Messages from our residents’ conference

I received a huge bundle of home-made cards from residents who attended our annual conference in March. Of all the messages contained in the cards, two stood out - “We are here, show us you are listening” and “Trust us”. Two messages which I intend to live up to.

Nick Raynsford MP

I met with Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, for our regular quarterly meeting. Nick has been with L&Q through thick and thin, always supporting the sector, always pushing us to deliver more homes and better services. In the new localist world MPs and Councillors have new powers of 'consumer regulation', that is, holding us to account over the service we provide to our residents.

So the contact we maintain with local politicians is more important than ever.

Personal appraisal

I met with every member of the L&Q Board for a one to one review of my performance, ending with my annual appraisal with the Chair and Deputy Chair. And I appraised each member of my own team.

The John Lewis model

I met up with L&Q’s Rachel Whitrod, a new member of the team who has many years experience of working for John Lewis. Everyone is looking at the 'John Lewis model' at the moment, with its focus on customer value and unique relationship with its people. Rachel left me with an in depth comparison of the L&Q and John Lewis cultures. I am sure there is a lot we can learn from other sectors and other companies in general, and John Lewis in particular.

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