28 Feb 2023
At the weekend, the UK Government announced its decision to introduce a qualification requirement for those working in the social housing sector in England. This is in direct response to some of the most high-profile failures of social landlords in England. The requirement will only fall on senior managers and executive level, but it is hoped that it will enhance the continuous professional development (CPD) and education offer and uptake across the profession in England and catalyse further uptake at frontline level too. So, it now begs the question, if it is good enough for England’s social sector then why not Scotland’s?
In Scotland, we often talk about the sector being more than bricks and mortar, meaning, of course, tenants. And this is true; we seek to create more than houses, more than homes but communities across the country.
However, with tens of thousands of people working in Scotland’s social housing sector, if we genuinely believe the sector is more than bricks and mortar and we want to provide the best possible service, then it would be negligent, if not arrogant, not to consider the role that formal qualifications and CPD can play in raising standards and supporting practitioners to be even better in their jobs.
The truth is, we know that qualifications and CPD can improve practitioner practice. Our own report on mandatory letting agent CPD and qualification in Scotland, published last month, offers evidence on this. As does widespread feedback from across the sector about the value of our qualification and our new professional standards framework.
So how should the sector in Scotland respond?
We know there is nothing explicit about professional development in Housing to 2040, the Scottish Government’s twenty-year vision for the housing sector.
However, we see the upcoming Housing Bill as a huge opportunity to develop structural focus on housing leadership and professional development. At CIH Scotland, we want CPD and education to be recognised as a core component of housing practice by the Government, our national skills agency and the Scottish Housing Regulator, not for its own sake but because it demonstrably improves housing outcomes for tenants and customers.
So, as we gather for Scotland’s Housing Festival in Glasgow next week, we professionals need to respond positively to the opportunities presented by the UK Government decision. We need to, collectively, make the case for housing to be recognised as the profession it is and make the ask for the Scottish Government to work collaboratively with us to ensure the structures are in place so we can skill up the next generation of leaders.
We all share the ambitions set out in Housing to 2040 – let’s make sure we do everything we can to give Scotland’s housing workforce the skills, training and qualifications they need to deliver on this vision.
I look forward to seeing you at the CIH Scotland Housing Festival in Glasgow on 7 and 8 March, you can find more details and book your place here.
Callum is the national director at CIH Scotland.