We need to take the housing profession seriously
In our latest guest blog, Citizen chief executive Kevin Rodgers gives his view of the crucial importance of taking the role of the housing professional seriously.
I’ve always found it strange that as housing associations we employ people who are professionally qualified and trained in a huge range of disciplines; from chartered surveyors to trade engineers to accountants and so on, yet the core part of our work – housing management – is nowhere near as professionalised.
This is something we need to change because there are very real risks to us not taking this central element of our service seriously.
Firstly, and most importantly, the people on the frontline providing our services to our customers simply must have the skills and knowledge to do their jobs to a high standard. If we don’t take the same professional approach that we take to our other disciplines, then we risk providing a service which is not fit for purpose and that is a risk we cannot afford to take.
Secondly, we must invest in our housing colleagues in the same way that we do with our finance, development, HR or any other colleagues in our business because it is simply the right thing to do. How can we expect to attract and retain the best people to do the hugely important work that our housing teams do if we don’t take the profession seriously and give people who work in it the opportunity to learn and develop as much as we do in other parts of our organisations?
And finally, we must do it to protect the future of our organisations and to retain our sense of purpose. Because if we don’t invest in our housing professionals there is a very real risk we could lose that.
We are proud to have recently started a pilot for a major programme which will see all our housing staff, 250 of them, gain a Level 3 Certificate in Housing Practice with CIH.
The bespoke training programme will cover eight key elements of housing management, including everything from managing lettings and income to dealing with anti-social behaviour and understanding the legal framework.
Colleagues will have face-to-face study time and work on assignments over a ten-month period to gain the qualification, all of which will be overseen and accredited by the CIH.
This is a £250,000 investment for us as well as a considerable investment of staff time and resource but equipping our housing professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to offer the best service that they can is something we are absolutely committed to.
For us the driving force behind the move to our new Citizen brand is improving our services and a big part of that is making sure we invest in the people providing them.
We must give the housing profession the respect it deserves if our sector is to get the respect it deserves.