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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP


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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister