Housing – Summer 2019

Customers at the Core: a purposeful and progressive housing sector

Introduction

In our work with a range of large and small housing associations – as well as private sector property businesses – we have had the opportunity to see at first hand a range of approaches to delivering landlord services, building new homes and supporting communities.

Much has been said about how the social housing sector specifically is diversifying, and yet we have been struck, through our work with a range of organisations, by what still binds housing associations together. As the housing sector moves forward and plays a bigger and broader role in addressing a range of needs at national and local levels, it is challenged to ensure that preserving, regenerating and creating thriving communities remains at the heart of the work. Organisational culture plays a critical role in meeting that challenge and few sectors are as reflective as this one about the relationship between organisational culture and the experience of the individuals and communities with which they engage. Many housing associations are putting real resource behind auditing and changing attitudes and behaviours at every level, in order to improve and deepen the relationships they have with residents as well as their network of external partners.

That said, there is still a lot of work to be done and we observe a real appetite within the sector – as well as a call from organisations like Shelter and the National Housing Federation – to ensure that customers come first and that their voices are heard. Against that background it is clear that leaders who role model and create inclusive, responsible, connected cultures will deliver a much more progressive result for their own immediate communities and systemically those they become a wider part of.

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