Claire Higgins, Cross Keys Homes, talks Tpas Accreditation

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

We asked Claire Higgins, CEO of Cross Keys Homes to tell us about their experience of going through the Tpas accreditation and how it improved their approach to resident engagement.

At Cross Keys Homes we have put our residents at the heart of our business since day one in 2004. We know that being a landlord, and an organisation that shapes communities, is a huge privilege, providing people with the most important thing in their life - their home. And with that privilege comes responsibility. To get it right and ensure the services we provide meets their needs.

The only way we can ensure we are constantly getting it right is to listen to what our residents are saying. That’s why our involved residents are so vital to our work. We were the first housing association to put in place a Residents Board, with the Chair and Vice Chair sitting on our Group Board, because we believe residents’ voices need to be heard at the very highest level, from developing service strategies to how our services are actually delivered in our homes and communities.

We also have our fantastic Scrutiny Panel who are our true critical friends, drilling down into the minutiae of our policies and services to ensure we have not missed anything or anyone. We also have our Retirement Housing Forum, flying the flag for our older residents, and our resident-led Area Panels who help make environmental improvements which also have a huge impact on the lives of people in the wider community. Plus, we have a whole raft of other wonderful people who give their time to make us and our communities better for all.

And throughout all this, Tpas have been a support and challenging friend, helping us to ensure we are getting the most from our resident involvement. That is why getting this accreditation has been so important to us. It is a lot of hard work, as my team will testify, but it shines a great spotlight on assessing what we do and why we do it. It’s a great opportunity to take some time for reflection – something we so often forget to do, in the hustle and bustle of just “getting things done”.

It’s always great to hear what we are doing well – and I was so proud of everyone involved when it was announced that we passed the test with a score of more than 90%! – but the best thing about assessments like this is knowing what we can improve. That’s the way we grow and develop! And because this is the “new” accreditation, with much more stringent requirements following the White Paper, we know we are bang up to date with our thinking and processes.

As with all these accreditations, this one is a whirlwind of evidence gathering and interviews, but now we have our action plan we can really see the value of the hard work we put in, and how it can help us to improve. It’s also a brilliant opportunity for our involved residents to really see the value of the work they put in and to receive well-deserved recognition for their time and effort.

I’ll leave the final word to Chair of our Residents Board, Karen Igho: “I am so proud to be involved with Cross Keys Homes, an organisation that really does what it says and listens to the needs and wants of its residents, and doesn’t just pay lip service to involvement. And this accreditation is proof of that. I’m also proud to be part of a group of really committed, passionate and professional involved residents, who take their roles seriously and contribute huge amounts to making Cross Keys Homes the great community focused organisation it is today.”