Loreburn Housing Association

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Loreburn Housing Association's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Loreburn Housing Association is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
CEO Lorraine Usher
Douglas Gardens,
Castle Douglas
Founded in 1982, Loreburn Housing Association provides
housing across Dumfries and Galloway in the southwest of
Scotland and has a portfolio of almost 2,500 properties.
CEO Lorraine Usher discusses her ambitions for the association
going forward and she explains how they are investing in their
future through staff training.
Loreburn Housing Association employs a fabulous team of experienced and
talented people who have helped us create a number of really great places to live.
With 108 employees, we serve over 10,000 tenants across our 2,500 properties
and have plans to develop 353 new properties over the next three to five years.
An aspirational association
Our central goal is to ensure the provision of high-quality housing for local people
who access our services. While offering people great places to live is vital, we also
take a strong interest in quality of life in relation to our tenants. We summarise
our ethos with a mission of “Great People, Great Services, Great Results, Great
Homes”. We go beyond the provision of a home and believe that with a little
extra help we can aid tenancy sustainment, which helps build resilient and vibrant
communities. Our community investment is targeted at addressing all types of
poverty, including food, fuel and aspiration, helping our customers to better
manage their rent commitments.
We have made a commitment to build all new homes to Passivhaus standard,
which is a significant step forward, especially in Dumfries and Galloway, a region
that demonstrates some of the highest levels of fuel poverty. The upfront capital
»CEO: Lorraine Usher
»Founded in 1982
»Based in Dumfries and
»No. of employees: 108
»Services: Social housing,
including specialist housing for
elderly people and individuals
with additional needs
Loreburn Housing
investment can deliver significant
financial benefits for our tenants
through the energy efficiency
capabilities. The commitment will
benefit the environment and reduce
energy bills for our tenants. The
Passivhaus commitment is part of a
wider strategy that continually targets
improvements to our properties which
make life more comfortable for our
tenants. With the onset of an ageing
population and fuel poverty being
two of the key concerns this region
will face in the very near future,
Loreburn are committed to focusing
our knowledge and experience on
developing strategies that respond to
this significant challenge.
Developing tailored properties
At Loreburn we have developed most
of our own housing stock. When the
association was established in 1982, a
small, community-based interest group
were able to gain support from the
council, who recognised the need for
more affordable housing in the area.
The founders then received a grant
from the government and were able
to begin development with a small
number of local, low-cost properties.
In recent years, we have been very
efficient in collecting rent, which has
enabled us to improve our services
and add to our current housing base.
We will complete 353 new homes
in the next three to five years, which
we hope will bring in over 1,000 new
tenants. We have more demand for
our services than we have properties,
so we are confident our expansion will
be supported by the local community.
Industry challenges
The housing market on the whole
needs to address the dwindling stock
of affordable, good-quality homes in
the UK. Young people are living at
home for longer and there are not the
home types needed to meet a growing
and ageing population. The obsession
with home ownership perhaps became
unhealthy and impacted negatively on
those who make the choice to rent,
like many people in other countries still
choose to do. All tenures need to be
viewed through the same lens and it is
important we ensure that those who
choose to rent are guaranteed a quality
service and an energy-efficient home.
There have also been generational
changes that suggest renting is a model
for the future. We are more aware of
the benefits of a healthy and active
lifestyle, and increasingly we strive for
a good quality of life, which may not
entail moving away from friends to buy
a house, or foregoing activities to save
for a home. We believe this change in
thinking will see a switch in attitudes
towards the rented sector, because it
may bring a wider range of offers and
solutions to the issues facing the UK
housing market.
Preparing for the future
All our employees are very aware of
and committed to the social purpose
of our organisation; however, we all
understand that in order to deliver
the best possible service we need to
Station Drive, Dalbeattie
It is important
we ensure that
those who
choose to rent
are guaranteed
a quality
service and an
energy efficient
Highlighting best practice
become more commercially minded.
Part of this process includes a large-
scale investment in our own staff
and listening to and acting on their
thoughts and ideas. During a recent
change programme, over 80 per cent
of suggested changes brought forward
by staff were implemented in our
day-to-day operations. This has helped
staff to fully understand how they help
shape the business and the way we do
our day-to-day work, and we recognise
this way of working delivers better
outcomes for ourtenants.
We have also introduced various new
personal development initiatives,
including a future leaders’ programme.
This is hugely important to our staff
and shows them our commitment to
their career progression. Improving the
happiness, dedication and suitability
of our staff is also of benefit to our
tenants. By delivering a better-quality
service, tenants will be happier, and
our reputation will continue to flourish.
This will attract new tenants in turn
and therefore plays a crucial role in our
future business planning.
I have also tried to show all
members of staff how valuable they
are to the business through my
leadership. Offering staff respect
and empowering them to achieve is
central to my approach, while I have
tried to emphasise the importance of
collaboration rather than individualism.
I try to understand their unique talents
and find the best way to utilise them.
I have also learned that there is no
default style of leadership and that
great leaders can be very different
from one another in practice. The
world is changing, and CEOs of
established businesses will have to
learn and adapt, looking to the future
rather than leaning on the lessons
of the past. We live in a fast-paced
world and traditional businesses, such
as housing associations, will have to
adapt to continue to flourish. I am
determined to do so, continuing to
value the talents every individual brings
to this business while embracing the
digital revolution. I am confident, as a
result, that Loreburn will continue to
flourish and thrive.
Over 80 per
cent of
forward by
staff were
On site


This article was sponsored by Loreburn Housing Association. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy