In Conversation With… Phil Morgan

Phil Morgan

Phil Morgan

There’s a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors who we’re regularly in conversation with, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate – and here we share more about them, their roles, priorities and backgrounds. If you would like to feature in this series, or to suggest someone who might, please get in touch through our contact us page or let us know on twitter.

Why not take a lucky dip into our In Conversation archives and discover:

Today we speak with Phil Morgan, Former Chief Executive, Tenant Participation Advisory Service

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve lived in Manchester for over 30 years and was for a long time a civil servant. I got bored, joined the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and then became Chief Executive of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) for 10 years. I joined the social housing regulator as Executive Director of Tenant Services and then left to become a consultant, speaker and commentator. I’ve also been a local councillor, Chair of Old Trafford Primary School Governors and Credit Union Vice President.

How did you get involved in social housing?

I was a tenant in the notorious Hulme Crescents in the early 1980’s and then became a Councillor and Vice Chair of Trafford’s Housing Committee in 1986. As Vice Chair I set up the first ever grants to Tenants Associations in the Borough.

How have you noticed social housing change since you started?

Considerably. There was a real feeling of tenants needing to be grateful which has mostly gone, and a much greater focus these days on standards of service and involvement.

What affect did the financial crisis have on social housing?

Oddly the immediate impact has been muted. The lending environment changed, and social landlords began talking about risk differently but with sound approaches from just about everybody the impact didn’t result in anyone crashing and burning.

What do you predict for the future of social housing?

The longer term legacy of the financial crisis has been to undermine the approach to housing benefit through welfare reform and that will reshape social housing in ways which will be uncomfortable for many tenants and landlords. I don’t think we’ve even begun to understand where that will take us. Otherwise I’m optimistic – the sector continues to evolve and at its best offer real exemplars for engagement of customers of public services.

Housing is a hot political topic at the moment. What steps could be taken to improve the situation?

The simple answer is more homes to be built. This would help with both the shortage of homes and create and sustain real jobs. However it would also undermine the consensus that homes increase in value every year and politicians are reluctant to even say this let alone preside over drops in house values over the next 10 years.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your role?

Gaining consensus on the 2010 Regulatory Framework. I’m really grateful to my then colleague Richard Moriarty for his support and with many others we constructed an approach that was innovative, co-regulatory and emphasised the important role that tenants can play in ensuring bottom up approaches to regulation.

What would you say is your most memorable moment or proudest achievement?

Creating tenant scrutiny. I tell the story of being asked by a tenant “who holds the pencil” and have had a wonderful journey since of taking that simple concept of holding landlords to account by their tenants into the social housing regulator, placed at the heart of the approach to co-regulation, and now the opportunity to work with tenants and landlords to implement it.

Finally, do you have a favourite London landmark?

Euston Station. It means I’m about to return to Manchester.

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Phil Morgan, Former Chief Executive, Tenant Participation Advisory Service , is currently an independent consultant and commentator and a former senior social housing regulator. He is also a Housing Association Board Member and a member of the RLA. His website is philmorgan.co.uk

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