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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Frontline Futures project to examine changing role of the housing officer


The value of the frontline housing officer and the changing face of the role is to be examined by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland and Wheatley Housing Group. The organisations have commissioned the Centre for Comparative Housing Research (CCHR) at De Montfort University, Leicester, to reach out to those working in housing across the UK to ask for their views and examples of good practice.

Researchers will analyse the current skills and characteristics of effective frontline housing professionals and look at where further changes might take the sector in the future.  The project aims to stimulate an informed debate on the implications for social landlord leaders and staff.  It builds on existing work, for example Learning today, leading tomorrow - CIH’s skills anthology published earlier this year.

Mark Reid, learning and development manager at CIH Scotland, said: “Increasingly housing organisations are pondering how they will need to work in future to deliver high quality services and support to tenants and communities. How will the roles of frontline staff in particular need to change? What skills and knowledge will high performing staff need in five years’ time? We have asked CCHR to undertake UK-wide research to examine the characteristics and skills of housing officers now and to analyse how that might change for the future.  In addition we are interested in the culture of housing organisations and the perceived wider benefit of the housing officer role.” 

Wheatley Group is Scotland’s leading housing, regeneration and care organisation and is currently made up of three registered social landlords – including Glasgow Housing Association – and two commercial subsidiaries.

Lorna Wilson, Wheatley’s research and development manager, said: “We are already empowering Glasgow Housing Association staff to Think Yes to meet the needs of our individual customers; but we are intrigued to find out what the views are across the UK of the changing role of the housing officer for the future.”

The CCHR’s Dr Jo Richardson said: “I am delighted to be leading on this piece of research for CIH and Wheatley Housing Group and to be working with some excellent consultant colleagues with a wealth of experience in housing to analyse the changing role of the housing officer.  Before my academic career I came from practice and have held frontline housing officer roles, so I am passionate about understanding what the future professional needs in order to be able to deliver services to the customer.

“We have a home for the project on our DMU website where housing people can go to read related information, take part in a brief survey and see what other methods of consultation and communication they can be involved with.  We would urge people working in housing to get involved to shape the future of their role.  This is a time of real change for the sector; observations on the role of housing front-line staff now and for the future will have a practical impact for the housing industry in developing their services, and training their staff, to meet emerging customer needs.”

To find out more about the research project or to suggest case studies email or

Visit for links to the project page and follow the story of the research on twitter @socialhousing and join the conversation #Housingff.

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