Meet the Chair - Steve Bullock
Steve Bullock became the Chair of SHP’s Board in November 2018. We found out more about him and his plans for SHP...
As the Chair of SHP’s Board, what are your main responsibilities?
My role is to make sure SHP delivers our aims and vision in line with regulations, through good governance, performance management and planning. I work closely with SHP staff, tenants, leaseholders and Sutton Council to make sure we are listening to each other and sharing concerns.
How many years have you been working in housing?
I became a councillor in Lewisham in 1982. I’ve been involved in housing in different ways ever since – I guess that means 37 years, which is a bit scary! For the last eight years I was the executive Lead on Housing for London Councils - the organisation that represents all of the London Boroughs.
What are your priorities for SHP?
Along with Steve Tucker, I want to make sure the SHP New Deal works well in practice. I want us to be a listening organisation which is both transparent and accessible to residents.
Why do you think housing is important?
I grew up in council house. It was a safe and secure place to start life. Having a safe, secure home is the foundation for good education, health and employment.
What are your core values?
Put simply - I always try to leave things better than I found them. We need to strive to leave a legacy for future generations as we do our best to deal with today’s challenges. And that is more likely to happen if we really listen to each other and treat those we disagree with respectfully.
What do you find interesting about Sutton?
It is a place that has a lot going for it and a council that is doing really innovative work. The Sutton Plan, which is led by the council and developed by 23 local organisations including SHP, is a really exciting way of working together to make things better.
In relation to SHP, there is a strong tenants organisation which I want to work. I want to make sure I hear from those on the receiving end of SHP’s services, as well as those delivering them.
If you could have a magic wand to change one thing about housing in London, what would it be?
If I had to choose one, it would be to change the way the private rental sector works. In particular I’d give tenants much greater security both in terms of how long they can stay, but also rent levels.
Where would you like to see SHP in the next 5 years?
I am an optimist and I expect that by 2024 SHP will be managing many more properties, that will have been allocated to people in need.
We will have a team who are good at their jobs, and have the opportunity to develop themselves and progress.
We will continue to have a strong relationship with Sutton Council and be working together on ways to improve housing in Sutton. Most importantly we will have more tenants and leaseholders involved in different ways to help make SHP successful.
How do you plan on starting to take SHP there?
I’ve started by getting to know the people who are involved in different ways. Now I want to get out and about in Sutton, to meet SHP’s residents and the staff who are based in the Community Hubs.
The board and senior staff sometimes have to make difficult decisions, but we can only do that well if we really understand what those decisions mean to the people who are affected by them.
Do you have a favourite quote or role model?
Mario Cuomo was the Governor of New York State for many years, he said “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose”.
It is something all of us in public life need to remember – it’s fine to make grand statements about what we want to achieve but it’s what really happens afterward that can change lives for the better.
Do you have a favourite book or film? What do you love about them?
Alexandra Morton is marine biologist working in the Canadian Province of British Columbia. Her book "Listening to Whales: What the Orcas have taught Us." is quite extraordinary.
In part it is a moving account of her early years working there but it also teaches us so much about these wonderful social animals that been treated so badly by humankind. It had me in tears at times.
Do you have any hobbies or passions?
I love live performances. Whether its well-known actors playing Shakespeare in the West End or young musicians playing in tiny local venues.
I really enjoy walking in the countryside, but also in London which always has things to surprise you. I’m planning to explore Sutton on foot over the coming year too so do say hello if you see me out with my boots on!