Housing is no different than any other business in that success attracts success, but at what price?

A number of conferences are large social gatherings which most people who are serious about housing ought to attend. You will receive many invitations, some of which you will want and some of which you will not - but should you go to them and if you do, what can you expect to gain?

As previously mentioned in this edition hospitality is governed by Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1996. Invitations to corporate events and hospitality can be accepted in appropriate circumstances subject to a limit of £50 per person per individual event and an overall limit of £250 per person per year.

Therefore, when invitations for conferences and networking events drop on your desk a decision based on the value to your business should be made. Do you go? Did you go last year? Did you gain any benefit from it? Can you remember? The following tips may help you in making these decisions:

  • Accept the invitations that will be of advantage to your organisation and reject those that will not.
  • Make a note of all invitations (whether accepted or not) in your Schedule 1 register and make sure that someone in authority inspects the register and signs it off in accordance with policy.
  • Implement change from any new ideas which will be of help to your organisation and feed your ideas back to work colleagues or to your Board.
  • Following a conference clear a day from your diary so that those that attended can meet together and discuss. Lessons learned can then be driven into the organisation before old pre-conference habits continue!
  • Mark your diary for three months later and clear the day again. Re-visit the conference (literally not physically) and see whether you have implemented what you agreed to after your return. If not, review.

Many housing professionals attend events because it is a valuable time for networking and to catch up with colleagues from different associations. At the end of the day, although it is business, you should also have fun. You might be at work, but who said business should be dull?