10 years of continuous contractor improvement through the Tpas accreditation
Wednesday 1st of August 2018
Wates Living Space have been on a 10 year journey of continuous improvement with Tpas. Read about their committment to improve resident engagement from the perspective of Jean Fletcher, their Resident Liaison Officer.
Over 10 years ago, I started Wates first Tpas Contractor accreditation. Back in 2007, the world as we knew it looked very different. We had a Labour government, we had huge Decent Homes investment programmes and councils and housing associations nationally couldn’t work quick enough to bring their homes up to a modern standard. It was all about partnerships and collaboration and doing things differently.
At that time I was a Resident Liaison Officer working on the country’s largest Decent Homes programme with Birmingham City Council where Wates improved over 25,000 homes. I was one of over 60 RLOs working across the country on such programmes. Tenant engagement was a huge part of the day job. Consultation events, face-to-face engagement, tenant group meetings, community support and employment opportunities – you name it, we were doing it but without really understanding why – we only knew it made sense and by working alongside tenants, we achieved so much more together.
And so one busy morning, the Tpas Contractor accreditation landed on my desk with the message to complete it and to make sure I do a good job! After skipping through the pages as you do, my first impression was to (naively) think I’d have it done in a couple of weeks. Fast forward to 2008 and I’m still working on the accreditation. If there was ever a job I underestimated, it was this. For the first time, I found myself delving deep into our entire organisation and our policies and procedures. It highlighted great practices which we were doing consistently across the country and others where there was no synergy at all.
It took months of meetings and visits to other contracts nationally to see how they were doing tenant engagement and what could be learned from them. It was a great opportunity to meet new colleagues; some of whom have continued to work with me on every subsequent accreditation since.
Together we amended processes, introduced new and better ways of doing things and in doing so, our Resident Liaison Officers were seen in a new light. We became more respected and appreciated for our skills and knowledge for working with tenants and communities. Accreditation not only challenged us into looking at how and why we did engagement and involvement, we started to look and invest in the people doing it.
So here we still are in 2018 and I’m still here, albeit with some grey hairs after recently completing our 4th accreditation- I don’t quite know where the last 10 years has gone. You’d think it would be by now no major feat to go through accreditation but I can assure you, it still takes many months and long hours of pouring over evidence from across the country, digging deep into our inner workings and working out where we could and should have done better. It’s a great refresher and a joyous reminder of all the great work we do in supporting tenants and communities.
Our 10 years of continuous Tpas accreditation has been a journey of improvement for us. Like one of our core values of Respect for People and Communities, it’s become a part of our DNA.
Our grateful thanks go to the many tenants and resident groups who have supported us; Above all, its about people.
Customer and Community Manager, Wates Living Space