15 May 2023

Creating the Future: Helping housing professionals to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours

One of the great pleasures of my professional life is working with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Housing Academy training team on Creating the Future assignments. These are designed to equip the people involved in housing for the significant changes that are shaping the sector now and prepare for the changes that are coming.

In the recent past, this has included work to support a London Borough with its transformation programme, and work with a different London Borough to develop its resident engagement response to higher expectations in listening.

A national housing group has undertaken another programme which is proving to be rather productive. The programme relates to developing knowledge, skills, and behaviours in anti-social behaviour (ASB) case management.  A challenging area as we know, but if properly prepared for can be professionally approached. With homes in England and Scotland, the extensive geographical scope of this housing provider creates an interesting discussion on the contrasting nature of anti-social behaviour in different localities and regions. There will be common themes but the contrasts provide opportunities to learn and adapt responses.

The creating the future programmes and assignments are applicable to housing providers but also to the entirety of the housing sector. We’ve recently worked on a programme for the Housing Ombudsman Service, equipping their new staff for the strengthened role of the agency. I have been very impressed with their orientation toward the sector. A central principle of their work comes over very strongly, not only to adjudicate on complaints and ensure that the Complaints Handling Code is met, but that they are there to support the sector with feedback, to both individual providers and the sector as a whole, to enable growth and progression.

With all of these programmes the Housing Academy is making a significant contribution to supporting the future of the sector. This always has been a pivotal role but in the light of the recent and current changes occurring in housing, it takes a new precedence.

Which leads me to reflect on Michael Gove’s announcement to mandate qualifications for an expected 25,000 housing managers at certain levels. I support the principle of this and recognise that the Housing Academy has a great suite of qualification courses at Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 to provide this (Universities have Level 6 and 7 available too).  

I’m left wondering what is required beyond this. Remember the KSB (knowledge, skills and behaviours) competencies? To be a professional, certainly in our field, it takes more than Knowledge, vital though it is and one of the CIH professional standards; it also requires the effective application of skills and behaviours too (also covered in the professional standards). The development and practice of all three make the professional.

Written by Michael Guest

Michael Guest is director at Michael Guest Associates, Housing Consultants.