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Heather Twomey

Practice Manager

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Reports from completed Working Together and Rethinking Services projects to inform and model best practice across the housing sector.

This project aimed to:

  • Define what good sheltered housing is and could be
  • Reframe the role of sheltered housing in modern markets for homes, health, wellbeing, care and support
  • Review existing models of sheltered housing services
  • Explore existing and future funding models
  • Test new approaches to branding and marketing sheltered housing to potential residents, partners and stakeholders
  • Develop innovative ways of engaging with older people to identify their future needs and aspirations
  • Understand and define the social value contribution that sheltered housing makes to improving the health and wellbeing of older people
  • Learn from a wide range of providers across the UK and in the Netherlands
  • Influence the housing sector, partner agencies and local and central government.

This project drew on the latest thinking and best practice to review rent collection and develop clear pathways to maximising income. It was supported by the CIH Income Management Charter and CIH accreditation.

The project aimed to:

  • Identify fit-for-purpose approaches to income management that meet the challenges of a rapidly-changing policy environment
  • Reinforce the ‘whole organisation’ approach to rent collection, with a focus on sustainable tenancies
  • Improve rent collection performance through better business understanding and people processes.

Twenty-three housing providers took part in this project to develop and improve services to tackle anti-social behaviour in their communities.

Against the backdrop of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 being implemented, the focus was on collaboration, sharing best practice and innovation to develop effective new ways to prevent and respond this problem.

The learning report was aimed at decision-makers, opinion-formers and leaders working across all parts of the social housing industry, plus their statutory, public and voluntary sector partners.

Download learning report (January 2016)

This project developed a fresh definition of asset management for social housing organisations. It set a new, contemporary agenda to drive a fundamental shift in approaches to asset management. The work focused on optimising the use and value of assets to meet providers’ business and social objectives at a time of shrinking budgets.

The project highlighted the need for housing providers to:

  • Secure whole organisation buy-in to new and broader thinking about asset management
  • Have an asset management approach that responds to local needs and circumstances
  • Move beyond traditional stock condition and regulation-driven approaches
  • Collect and use high-quality, accurate and well-maintained data on assets to inform decision making
  • Understand and embed holistic asset and neighbourhood performance in all parts of the housing service
  • Deliver change that’s informed by robust decision making and options appraisal
  • Think and act differently to organise and procure work differently to achieve value for money
  • Have a fit-for-purpose asset management strategy and delivery plan that fully aligns with corporate objectives and local context.

Download learning report (November 2015)

This project brought a mix of organisations together to examine and deliver their customer incentive and reward programmes. The collaboration drew on outside experts and guest speakers from across the housing sector.

The work included:

  • Focusing on business outcomes
  • Building staff confidence
  • Creating insight from interventions
  • Focusing on customer relationships
  • Managing risk
  • Reinforcing sustainable tenancies
  • Promoting personal responsibility and independence.

Download learning report (October 2015)

This project piloted a new model of sustainable neighbourhood working to maximise the impact of local services and agency resources. It demonstrated that an action planning approach works well across a wide range of organisation types, locations and operating contexts.

The project produced:

  • An ‘at a glance’ sustainability mapping tool
  • An audit tool to pinpoint key neighbourhood issues, based on local needs and demands
  • Tailored, local responses to neighbourhood problems
  • Fresh approaches to developing effective internal and external, multi-disciplinary action planning
  • Best practice on building consensus between partners on how to improve neighbourhoods
  • Tools to lever in outside resources and develop effective signposting to non-housing services for customers
  • A checklist for effective neighbourhood-level customer input and scrutiny
  • A vehicle to focus resources and capability where they are needed to change services and meet new operating challenges and requirements.

This project brought new insight to emerging trends in repairs and maintenance services, to inform, shape and define ‘next best practice’.

The nine key learning points were:

  • Providing the right leadership and culture to create well-motivated teams with a ‘can do’ ethos
  • Trust the market or employ direct? – effective 21st century workforce planning
  • Choice, fairness and responsibility – helping residents to look after their homes
  • Adding value to assets through value-for-money repairs and intelligent asset management
  • Optimising and securing true value for money
  • Using Business Process Transformation to act on legitimate repairs demand and meet customer expectations through low-cost, high-value, self-service repairs and maintenance
  • Changing expectations on access to services and keeping customers informed
  • Data, information, knowledge and maximising the impact of insight and integrated IT
  • Measuring and managing performance to create ownership and a high-productivity environment.

Download learning report (February 2015)

This project helped organisations to rethink their approaches to tenant involvement, focusing on:

  • Achieving greater levels of influence for larger numbers and a more diverse range of tenants
  • Increasing the objectivity of tenant-led influence through evidence-based decision making
  • Improving the effectiveness of strategic and operational responses to tenants’ needs and aspirations.
  • Increasing the efficiency and value for money of tenant involvement by targeting resources more effectively.

Download learning report (June 2016)

This project addressed the risks of tenants being unable to sustain their tenancies due to the impact of government welfare reforms.

It showed that having a clear strategy to create sustainable tenancies, backed by carefully-tailored services can produce a win-win situation: better for tenants; better for landlords; better for communities and better for everyone involved in local lettings and management.

This project brought together a mixed group of social landlords to develop the CIH Neighbourhoods Charter and Neighbourhoods Accreditation.

The project:

  • Evaluated current practice and developed new approaches through a series of collaborative workshops
  • Offered shared resources, peer networking and expert challenge consultancy
  • Gave participants the opportunity to profile their achievements on the national stage.