Curiosity Did Not Kill the Cat

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

Our consultancy manager, Gill Mclaren, reflects on why 'curiosity' is a behaviour that should be encouraged right across the sector.

Over the last few months, board members and staff have banded the word 'curiosity about. They intend to look beneath the outcomes from performance figures, consultations, service improvements.

Curiosity – a strong desire to know more or learn something – synonyms – inquisitiveness, interest

In the world we live in now, it's just not ok to take things at face value. It's about the 'why' and 'how' and 'what's it telling us?'.

As the Housing Ombudsmen says within the latest spotlight report on damp and mould, it's about proactive rather than reactive.

It is all of our responsibility to ask these fundamental questions. We need to ensure that the outcomes we see in reports and board papers have substance and are based on honest, engaging conversations between staff and tenants.

We need to ensure the 'lived experience of tenants' are at the heart of any improvements or changes to services.

Having a robust blended approach to understanding communities and a framework that enables both individual and collective opinions and experiences to be the triggers creates accountability within improvement channels.

It's no longer good enough to just report on performance and outcomes of complaints without digging underneath what the numbers are telling us.

For years, the sector has been complacent in this area. Harmful assumptions have been made about those tenants they never hear from are satisfied with services, rather than working with them to find out why they are 'quiet'. Is it due to satisfaction with the services they receive? Or have they lost trust in their landlord as 'nothing ever gets done?

Developing a culture of trust is vitally important for organisations. It's about embracing the values of Reliability; Consistency; Sincerity; Commitment; Integrity, and Competence (People development magazine 2021/09/26) through behaviours and attitudes.

This then enables real conversations, real partnership working and enabling real trusting relationships to develop.

So, 'curiosity is vital to ensure that tenants' voices are really being listened to and acted upon and that being curious certainly does not kill the cat.