Earlier this year, alongside our colleagues at the National Housing Federation (NHF), we welcomed the Review's recommendations in full and designed an action plan to help the sector implement the recommendations.
This evolving document will grow and develop as together with our members, we implement, learn and build on the actions.
In December 2023, CIH and NHF released a report, highlighting the work our organisations have done so far to support our members. The document outlines the progress made and the impact it’s already having across England.
The rethinking repairs and maintenance project has been established by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and National Housing Federation (NHF) to support the social housing sector to improve its repairs and maintenance practices.
The Better Social Housing Review found that resident dissatisfaction with repairs and maintenance services is a major issue in the sector, with only two thirds of social renters satisfied with the repairs service they receive. Poor practice has also been increasingly highlighted across news media outlets and in severe maladministration judgements by the Housing Ombudsman. This has underlined the need for the sector to re-examine the basic components of what an excellent repairs and maintenance process should involve.
In response to these issues, the Better Social Housing Review recommended that “Housing associations should partner with residents, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like”.
CIH has a well-established continuing professional development offer which enables housing colleagues to access products and services which will develop their knowledge and skills, their professional behaviours, demonstrate they are working within recognised codes of conduct and ethics and to access opportunities to share best practice and contribute to the broader work of the sector.
The Better Social Housing Review found that staff, particularly those on the front line, are working under exceptional pressures and demands leading to very high turnover rates and making it harder for many tenants to communicate with their landlord. It recommends that housing associations should increase investment in recruiting, developing and supporting the retention of more housing officers to enable them to re-establish more manageable patch sizes.
CIH is leading on this recommendation. We have provided a range of webinars and conference sessions on the role of the housing officer and professionalising the workforce.
The CIH Level 2 and 3 qualifications provide details of the focus of the role of front-line housing staff. These qualifications are well established and are reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure they comply with equalities legislation and are open to all.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a key component of ensuring frontline staff have the necessary opportunities to update their knowledge and skills and ensure their working practices reflect current requirements. We have developed guidance on this for particular roles and areas of focus and have included a sample career development framework for organisations to use as a basis for developing their own frameworks internally.
We are working with a number of organisations who are embedding qualifications, training and professionalism across their functions. View case studies that illustrate some of these examples by clicking the links below:
One of the recommendations highlighted by the Better Social Housing Review panel was that housing associations should develop a proactive local community presence through community hubs which foster greater multi-agency working.
In our action plan, we committed to share examples of where community hubs and other local presences are working well, with and for residents.
The examples we have included in our case study collection span a mix of housing providers across the country and highlight much of the good work already happening in the sector which we hope will stimulate reflection and action.
Gavin Smart | Chief executive of CIH
All tenants of social housing should be able to live in good quality, well-managed homes and be treated with dignity and respect. Where this is not the case, we must put that right. I welcome the insight an independent panel will bring, taking time to engage with residents, communities, partners, and staff to understand where improvements are needed and to make recommendations to the sector that will fix what is wrong and develop greater trust between landlords and tenants. As the professional body for housing, we look forward to supporting the sector to progress the recommendations provided to deliver the right mix of knowledge, skills, behaviours, and values to ensure a quality home and service for all.