Getting the ball over the line – could we learn from the Red Roses rugby team?

What has the Communities and Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC) Conference got in Common with England’s Red Roses Rugby team?

The CHIC conference took place at the Worcester Warriors Rugby ground on 17 November at the same time as the Red Roses were preparing for their game against the USA. So while delegates were discussing social housing in the comfort of the exhibition hall, the women were working hard to refine their game on the pitch below us. That got us thinking about the similarities between the two.

Our first thought is that like the women training on the pitch, the sector is, or should be, all about teamwork and partnership. We all face the same issues: decarbonisation, the cost of cladding, how to build more homes and how to ride the tackles of Covid and the now related shortages and inflationary issues. In discussions with other delegates, as well as the presentations at the workshops and in plenary sessions, the central theme was all about how organisations can work in partnership for the greater benefit of our residents. We spoke about the long-term benefits of internal team building within our own organisations but also how building those relationships with contractors, consultants, materials suppliers and manufacturers will help us overcome short term issues.

The Every Rose Action Plan 2017-2027, which is the 10-year plan for growing women’s rugby in England, shows the importance of organisations finding ways to work in partnerships over the long-term in order to achieve success. With the scarcity of contractors and shortages of materials that we are currently suffering, this becomes all the more important for our sector to avoid the all too frequent, price based tendering. The evidence has been with us for a long time from the 1998 Rethinking Construction (Egan report) through Latham’s Constructing the Team and into the Farmer Review. CHIC and other procurement consortia provide a great way for the sector to work together to achieve our goals or, in the case of the Red Roses, our trys.