9 new family homes for Christmas, thanks to an excellent stock transfer
Wednesday 7th of December 2016
Our consultancy manager, Kate Newbolt talks about the experience of working on a very successful Housing Stock Transfer.
I just can’t stress enough how delighted I am on hearing about the brand new homes built by Gloucester City Homes and that they arrived just in time for Christmas for nine families. In just over 2 years since the Housing Stock Transfer, the commitments made to residents and communities are already coming to fruition.
It’s important to remember why it happened at all and one big reason was the Gloucester City Homes and Gloucester Council focus on significant housing need for all types of resident locally. It’s definitely true that these processes do not always go quite so well.
For me as the Tpas Independent Tenant Adviser lead the recipe was in the leadership and partnership triangulated by Gloucester City Homes, Gloucester Council and the Housing Futures Residents Group all working together, all clear on objectives and all determined to achieve clear outcomes. Gloucester City Homes was already confirmed as an excellent 3-star landlord; they had a track record of providing excellent services, they maintained an excellent relationship working with Gloucester Council and both organisations demonstrated strong commitment to engagement of residents and communities. I have to say all this made for an excellent backdrop for Tpas to deliver the independent tenant adviser service and we too were embraced openly by all parties and this drove the ‘can do’ approach.
Were there obstacles along the way?, Of course there were including, delays as a result of the Governments Housing Transfer Manual, the dreaded economic environment and to some degree negotiations in getting to an agreement on various aspects of the proposals. But my point is that the inclusive partnership kept coming together, kept talking and maintained an open-minded approach and culture. Throughout testing times and close calls in getting ready in break neck time to consult widely with all communities, to ensure everyone had a voice, to get the proposals right and to meet the Transfer Window deadline we all succeeded.
The Gloucester process is my personal best practice example and after more than 15 years working on these processes I learnt more from this one than any other. The most critical lesson was to never underestimate the importance of partnership with vision and strong values focused on the outcomes. I believe this is the model that all future processes should be looking at, the extent of commitment is not something that comes easily but with strong leadership and focus ensuring that the triangle of what’s most important is embedded throughout problems can be overcome, impossible challenges become manageable and final achievement is stronger for it.
I do not forget that the most affected are the tenants, communities and staff who experience much stress as discussions about change ownership take place however where the key drivers embrace these interests completely and inclusively through talking and listening there are multiple advantages. By exploring options together levels of anxiety can be reduced for all, nothing is left under the radar or unmentionable and the conversations that matter happen productively. The signs of positive engagement are evident as you walk through an organisation and witness staff and residents having a transfer-chat openly en route to the kitchen or meeting rooms and these clearly have impact when the same topics are discussed in the meeting itself. These are characteristics of openness, inclusion, acknowledgement and respect that are essential to building futures. Such a short time later we are seeing the new and promised housing options realising – what a great result and just in time for Christmas too!