Eleven forward thinking housing providers Neighbourhood Working CIH Charter for Housingfrom across the UK have become the first to have their neighbourhood working frameworks accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) using the principles outlined in its new Neighbourhood Working Charter. The Charter looks at how efficient, effective and responsive a housing provider’s services are in its neighbourhoods or local operating areas.

This first group of landlords, announced at the CIH Housing 2017 conference in Manchester last week, have been working with CIH Consultancy over the past 18 months to develop and pilot the new Charter and Accreditation.

The Neighbourhood Working Charter expands CIH’s range of voluntary standards, which allow organisations to demonstrate their commitment to the highest levels of service and best practice. The new Charter puts the spotlight on how effectively providers focus their resources to deliver the best possible mix of housing, neighbourhood and asset services for each area.

To be accredited, organisations need to show that the principles and requirements of the Charter are firmly embedded. This means ensuring that viable and sustainable neighbourhoods is a top-level, strategic priority and that strong approaches are in place to design, implement and monitor a tailored mix of actions to support and improve each of their neighbourhoods or local service areas. The Accreditation process is carried out by CIH Consultancy and, if awarded, the Accreditation lasts for three years.

Joanne Griffin, Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods, First Choice Homes Oldham said: “We were really keen to be involved as we have worked hard to develop our approach to managing our neighbourhoods. The project has allowed us to build on and consolidate this work. The Charter principles work well for us as an organisation and we enjoyed the opportunity to work with the CIH Consultancy to develop them. We are proud to become one of the first accredited organisations as we believe it demonstrates a clear commitment to our vision of improving lives in Oldham.”

Andrew Brown, Regional Director at Onward Homes says: “The neighbourhood working approach we developed with the CIH Consultancy has helped us to develop a culture where everyone in the business is focussed on neighbourhoods and the delivery of services to our customers living in our neighbourhoods. Working to secure the Accreditation has helped us measure our impact and measure the sustainability of our service offer to customers living in distinct neighbourhoods and we have been able to target our resources in a more efficient and effective way. It has had a transformative effect on our approach to service delivery.”

Richard Medley, Director of Assets and Neighbourhoods at CIH Consultancy, explains: “The demand for a Charter and Accreditation came from landlords themselves, as until now there has been no way to externally validate the robustness of a landlord’s local management approaches. We are planning another collaborative project to help a second wave of organisations achieve Accreditation in 2018 and would encourage anyone who thinks they might be interested in joining in this initiative to get in touch.”

The first 11 organisations accredited to the new CIH Neighbourhood Working Charter are:

  • Contour Homes (part of Onward Housing)
  • Eden Housing Association
  • First choice Homes Oldham
  • Wheatley Group
  • New Charter Housing Trust
  • North Wales Housing Association
  • Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
  • Rykneld Homes
  • Southampton City Council
  • Yorkshire Housing
  • Your Housing Group

For full details about the Charter, and to sign up for accreditation, see www.cih.org/charters/, email policyandpractice@cih.org or call 024 7685 1777.