Meet the member: Mark Hillary, FCIH
We caught up with CIH fellow Mark Hillary, CIH/CHS tutor to find out why fellowship has been such an important career move for him.
1. How did you begin your career in housing and why did you apply for fellowship?
I started my career in Local Government at the Greater London Council in 1979, working for Ken Livingstone before getting abolished in 1985. I was lucky enough to get a housing job at LB Tower Hamlets and even luckier to be allowed to do the professional qualification through day release at Hackney College, and qualified in 1988. By doing just about every housing job it was obvious to pursue my continuing professional development and I became a fellow in 1998, which is coming up for my 20th anniversary!
2. What does fellowship mean to you?
Fellowship means a lot to me, I am a CIH/CHS Tutor having taught at Hinckley Borough Council. At Level 3 as part of their personal development, learners have to consider what “professionalism” means in their job. You don’t need a housing degree to work in the industry and a while back I wrote a course on the implication of the Care Act 2014 on housing so the obvious compare here was with social workers. For me being professionally qualified means a lot and fellowship even more in this regard.
I worked for Royal Borough Kensignton and Chelsea when it became a tenant management organisation and this began to change my mind-set about seeing tenants as customers. I have always been passionate about social housing and particularly customer service in the wider public sector , this is one of my specialist tutor subjects for the CHS. When I re-wrote the course I wanted to concentrate on real value to the customers in the services we deliver. I felt like I was ploughing a lonely furrow on this for many years but have now been able to help several organisations with their processes using lean six sigma techniques.
3. How has being a CIH fellow - and being recognised as someone who’s made a big impact on this sector - changed things for you?
The reputation of the CIH has helped me a great deal, and being a fellow clearly gives world standing. I have been lucky enough to be asked to go to the United Arab Emirates and work with the world bank on few occasions now to consider excellence in their housing system. They have a Minister of Happiness in Dubai and their ambition is to be top nation. I am always amazed that we in the UK are not prouder of some of our intuitions, and a properly funded social housing sector would be a good place to start.