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Building homes, creating communities

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Dudley Council has just appointed Paul Davies as its new Director of Housing and Community Services.

Paul was interim director at the authority for seven months before taking up the post permanently.

Paul has over 30 years experience of working in housing, taking on a range of roles from interim positions as CEO at a housing association to CE of an ALMO, local authority chief housing officer and AD for a metropolitan borough council. He’s worked in local government, the charity sector and for housing associations, so brings a wealth of experience to the role.

While Paul has worked on projects which have required extensive asset and performance management, financial nous and of course, service delivery, it’s creating communities that is his greatest passion.

Paul was drawn to Dudley for its ambition and its focus on regeneration.

Paul said:

The borough has so much to offer, there’s so much ambition. The authority is investing in regeneration projects like the Metro and Castle Hill, it’s working with partners to improve the transport infrastructure. All of this benefits residents and helps to create places people want to live and work, it’s about creating a sense of community, of neighbourhood.
I want to see a neighbourhood approach, with more empowerment for frontline staff to make good things happen and equally for tenants to have an influence on the service. It’s about strengthening communities. A big part of this is making the whole process more streamlined and more transparent. We need to use technology, devise apps, modernise our digital provision so that people can make informed choices and know what they can expect from us.

Paul’s also keen to push for more improvements in community safety so that people continue to feel safe in their neighbourhoods. Private tenants are not forgotten either, with Paul hoping to increase resources to private renters which will build on the work of the homelessness prevention team. Paul will also be overseeing the new traveller’s site in Coseley and taking a key role in the council’s management of unauthorised traveller encampments.

Paul, who is from South Wales, has worked in the Black Country before and has friends in the area. And like so many people who relocated to the Black Country has remarked on the warm welcome and the friendliness of local people.

He continued:

This is an ambitious plan, but Dudley’s in a strong position, it has all the right people in the right place. The housing and communities team is brimming with committed, ambitious staff. It’s about working together, listening to our experiences staff and creating something that works for Dudley.
The people of the borough are so friendly and you can see community is of huge importance here. I may have a lot of experience in housing but I don’t intend to import an idea from elsewhere. We need a local solution, it needs to have an authentic Dudley Voice. I already feel at home in the Black Country, but I hope that we can empower all of our residents to have that feeling of belonging too."

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