Reflecting On The Tenant Engagement and Satisfaction Conference 2023
On Wednesday 8th February myself, my team and colleagues from the sector came together in London to attend the IG Housing Tenant Engagement and Satisfaction Conference in-person for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020. Our flagship Conference for the social housing sector, the day provided a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how the sector has responded to challenges so far, as well as consider what the future of engagement and improvement looks like for social housing providers. With the importance of engaging meaningfully and positively with tenants to improve living conditions and increase satisfaction now more vital than ever, I thought it would pertinent to share some of the key insights gained from the day.
The Changing Role of the Regulator
In this opening session delivered by Kate Dodsworth, Director of Consumer Regulation at the Regulator of Social Housing looked to provide an update on the Regulator’s approach to consumer regulation and the expansion of the Regulator’s remit following the publication of the ‘Reshaping consumer regulation: our implementation plan’ on January 12th. Subject to the Bill being passed, Kate shared the Regulator’s vision for consumer regulation and inspection.
Spotlight Session: Resident Led Transformation in Croydon After Regina Road
Perhaps my favourite session from the day, this hugely insightful and reflective session led by Susmita Sen, Corporate Director of Housing at Croydon Borough Council and supporting by Croydon residents Yaw John Boateng and Les Parry. In this session our speakers focused the audience on the Regina Road exposé conducted by ITV News. One of the first media exposés in the sector on living conditions, Susmita acknowledged the mistakes made in Croydon, utilising footage from the coverage to preface the session and highlight the poor conditions that tenants were living in. A particularly poignant session, Susmita, Les and Yaw shared focused insights into the work that Croydon Borough Council, along with its tenants, have conducted to ensure all tenants homes meet the Decent Homes Standard and that tenants have the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the council and drive cultural change.
Considering The Better Social Housing Review Recommendations and Delivering As A Professional Body
‘The Chartered Institute of Housing should promote the traditional housing officer role as a supported and valued employment opportunity with a Chartered Institute of Housing recognised programme of training and continuing development.’
Focusing on the fourth recommendation outlined in The Better Social Housing Review, James Prestwich reflected on the role of the Institute as the professional body for the sector, professionalisation of the sector and what the Institute involvement may look like
Working Together To Reduce The Stigma Social Housing Tenants Face
The final session of the day, led by Dr Mercy Denedo and Dr. Amanze Ejiogu, considered the role that stigma plays in the experiences of social housing tenants. Drawing upon their research, Dr Denedo and Dr Ejiogu shared insights into the foundations of stigma and othering – directly linking this how social housing tenants are perceived by government, the media and in some cases even those working in the sector. Encouraging self-reflection, this closing session looked to share recommendations that can be embedded within delegate’s own organisations to ensure an organisation-wide culture aimed at de-stigmatising social housing residents.
This day provided a wonderful opportunity for colleagues across the sector to come together, engage with thought-provoking speakers and sessions, and network with colleagues working to achieve the same aims. For those who were unable to attend, I hope that the above has provided some insight into what was covered, and we hope to see you at next year’s event!