Housing Safety & Wellbeing taskforce
Wednesday 6th of October 2021
Our Business Development Manager, Michael Hill, talks about collaboration within the social housing sector as a new Housing Fire Safety & Wellbeing taskforce prepares to launch with a report on standards across Great Britain.
Taskforce = Teamwork?
Whenever I hear the word taskforce it immediately sparks thoughts of the military, and as a child of the 80s, I think Falkland Islands – but maybe that is just me.
Regardless of whatever thought it prompts for you, it’s a word that could suggest drive, impact, outcomes, vision, and teamwork.
We all know that good things happen when we work as a team, and we end up achieving far more than going solo. It makes sense to pool resources, share thoughts, develop ideas and test out theories if you do that as a group.
On the occasions collaboration doesn’t work, it is generally when there is no agreement to what you are trying to achieve – when you all want different things. That is when it can get messy, people fall out, when relationships are tested and possibly broken.
A supportive sector
In social housing, we are generally quite good at collaborative pieces as there is not really any competition. There are not many benefits to social housing landlords trying to demonstrate they are better than the next landlord because tenants can’t just pack up and move to them.
That’s why we do see some great sharing of ideas, thoughts and case studies throughout our sector. Our online engagement platform Tpas Connect is a perfect example of a very supportive sector, willing to help each other out.
If I was to be critical, there are two areas in housing where I do feel we don’t quite get it right. The first is that we have multiple conversations about the same issue with different groups of people. It is like we didn’t like the first answer, so we go looking for a different one elsewhere to that same question.
This behaviour is one that stalls progress and creates a round robin of talking shops which takes up valuable time from getting on with the job of making decisions. Yes, we shouldn’t be hasty, but we also shouldn’t delay progress so that we can find an answer that fits our narrative. The other area is when we have conflicting priorities within the same topic. Take building safety as an example. There are huge challenges for landlords with regards to compliance with the proposed legislation as well as the need to create meaningful resident engagement opportunities. These two things are not always seen as interdependent.
What we find is landlords will flip flop around trying to meet expectations in both areas without bringing them together in the same room and joining up the dots that connect them.
Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce
The launch of the Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce, led by Fire Specialists Aico and supported by Cratus, is a fascinating idea, and one we are interested to see unfold. To bring all the current big challenges of social housing together in a workstream, and co-ordinate sharing is something that could make a huge impact.
The topics of Fire Safety, Decarbonisation, Health & Wellbeing, Fuel Poverty, Innovation & Technology and Resident Involvement, are all fundamentally linked. These are the sector’s big challenges (alongside building more social housing) for the immediate future and will need a collective pooling of minds to find workable solutions for all.
The Taskforce will officially launch on 18th October 2021 in the Houses of Parliament, with a vision of creating greater collaboration on these big topics across the sector while it presents its new report on Fire Safety Standards and Regulations across Great Britain.
I think it is a bold attempt to bring the sector challenges into one space, where the minds of the stakeholders – and I include residents in this – can work together and potentially make a significant step towards finding solutions for challenges that will be with us for a while.
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