Should we need Michael Gove to tell us to improve the training of social housing managers?
I wasn’t sure about my reaction to the announcement by Michael Gove that managers of social housing would need to achieve a level 4 or level 5 Certificate or Diploma in Housing, dependent on the role. Having worked in the social housing sector for over 35 years, I am disappointed when I see housing organisations that just don’t have enough people working for them with a good breadth of housing knowledge. The value of this knowledge has been diminished as organisations have struggled to recruit and they have not invested in customer-facing colleagues.
Don’t get me wrong, there are obviously very many people working in the sector who use their skills and knowledge to make a great difference to the lives of those we work with. However, I also see places where we have lost our way and we are letting residents down. I am upset and angry by the repeated stories of residents living in poor conditions and the ways in which some residents are treated. It appears some have forgotten why social housing is provided. The sector’s reputation has taken quite a hit.
So in some ways, I am pleased that managers will need to achieve a certain level of qualification because it will help to tackle some of these failings. I am disappointed we need the government to tell us to do this. I am also concerned that customer facing colleagues need more than these qualifications to strive for excellent services.
I did my Chartered Institute of Housing Professional Qualification in the 1980s. In those days it consisted of five written exams in each of the three years. This probably isn’t a learning style that would suit many people but I still look back on some learning from those days (especially the legal stuff!). However, to do a good job, housing professionals also need to have a range of people skills and to demonstrate the correct behaviours. We also need to raise expectations of what we aim to achieve. In the inevitable rush to gain qualifications we should make sure all the ingredients are in place to recover our damaged reputation.
Now is the time for some organisations to take stock and to have an honest review of the services they provide and the impact they have on individuals and communities. The knowledge and skills of colleagues will be one of the key components but there will be many more.
ARK Consultancy has supported many organisations through such a review and the actions that result. We are proud to say that 70% of our senior leaders are CIH qualified. If you would like to find out more about how we can help then please just get in touch with us on 0121 515 3831
Nick is an ARK Consultant with a breath of experience working across local authorities, housing associations and non-departmental public bodies. A Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, he has expertise in housing management, homelessness and care & support.
Nick also has experience in the full range of local authority housing responsibilities which include asset management and housing development. Nick is passionate about working in partnership to co-create solutions to improve the quality of life of residents.
Contact Nick Sedgwick 07736 094172
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