Two organisations will make ‘focusing on core purpose’ theme of joint annual conference in Liverpool next September

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the National Housing Federation (NHF) have jointly published a report outlining progress made against the recommendations of a landmark review to improve social housing.

The Better Social Housing Review – which was set up by CIH and NHF but run by an independent panel – last year made seven key recommendations to improve social housing (see box below).

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Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing

A year on, the CIH and NHF have outlined what they have done in response.

Their report out today said ‘focusing on core purpose’ will be the key theme of September’s new Housing Community Summit, which combines the CIH and NHF annual conferences. It also said the NHF has published a comprehensive report on workforce diversity and promoted tools to support more inclusive cultures.

The bodies say they have collated a set of property condition indicators, drafted key information to collect about tenants and considered how to monitor performance.

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The report said work has gone into improving repair and maintenance, including setting up a ‘best practice project group’ to define and agree guiding principles.

The bodies say they are developing a set of tools and metrics that social landlords, boards and residents can use to scrutinise progress and performance of repairs and maintenance services.

Recommendations of the Better Social Housing Review

1. Every housing association, and the sector as a whole, should refocus on their core purpose and deliver against it.

2. Housing associations should work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of all social housing in England.

3. Housing associations should partner with tenants, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like.

4. 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.

5. Housing associations should work with all tenants to ensure that they have a voice and influence at every level of decision making across the organisation, through both voluntary and paid roles.

6. Housing associations should develop a proactive local community presence through community hubs which foster greater multi-agency working.

7. Housing associations should support tenants and frontline staff to undertake an annual review of the progress each organisation is making

These include ways of scrutinising whether services are delivering better and more equitable experiences and outcomes for residents. They are also building a suite of resources that social landlords can use to help improve their repairs and maintenance services in partnership with residents, colleagues.

In order to promote the role of housing officers, the CIH are running webinars and conference sessions, giving housing staff access to products and services to boost their skills and Developing guidance on Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

In an attempt to meet the recommendation that associations develop a ‘proactive community presence’ the organisations have published and shared case studies on the topic as well as hosting a webinar. They have also worked with the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust as it develops a community centres network.

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the CIH, said: “We are committed to taking the recommendations of the Better Social Housing Review forward. Our action plan is a long-term programme of work, but we’ve made a lot of progress in the first six months. This report highlights the work we’ve done to support members, what’s changed so far and the impact it’s already having.

“The report contains lots of examples of good practice and changes happening across the sector, I urge all our members to take a look. Together, we can ensure that everyone lives in good quality housing they are proud to call home.”