Let's keep focused in 2017

Wednesday 11th of January 2017

Tpas training manager, Val Alker reflects on how those volunteering and working in tenant and community engagement can keep focused on being effective in 2017.

It was hard to keep up with the pace change in housing over the last year but 2017 isn’t going to see a let up. Our challenge as volunteers and staff is to keep up with the pace of change and have the conversations that matter at the right time so that we can really influence decisions and direction.

Involvement can’t be effective or even useful if it happens once all the important decisions are already made.

The challenge for involved residents and staff alike is to be up to speed on what’s happening locally, know what is important to us and the people around us (using  our own and the organisations evidence from consultation and data gathering) and then work together to influence what matters when it matters.

As landlords grow our local views also need to be seen in the context of the organisations overall priorities whether they be in the local area, region or even nationally.  To do this it helps to talk to residents and staff who work in other areas of our business and compare notes with tenants and staff from other organisations. Working together gives us a better view of the key issues and allows us to share information and ideas and agree what’s important. It aids the development of new approaches that are effective and deliver for tenants, customers, staff and the organisation.

It doesn’t stop there – we all know that while organisations, influenced by their tenants may have the power to decide many things about their services and future plans the influence of Government policy is never far away. This is not going to stop in 2017, there’s Starter Homes,  the Homeslessness Reduction Bill, Housing White Paper, consultation on the Homes and Communities Agency to name a few.

I know that at the beginning of each year I set out aiming to keep up, be more effective, do the right things, I set out with a renewed vigour to be focused. I have to admit it’s hard sometimes, the sheer amount of information out there and the huge range of things we could do is often a distraction rather than a help.  I am sure you like me sometimes find it hard to prioritise, hard to pick the most important things to tackle – the things we really must do?

 Being a Tpas member can really help with this. We let you know what is going on nationally and take part in Government consultations and round table discussion gathering your views to feedback. We give you summaries of key changes to save you wading through the detail. We provide you with news of what others are doing to inspire and inform you. Our training, events, regional forums and discussion forums provide you with the chance to learn and network. Our National Engagement Standards give you a measure to assess your engagement and focus on the key issues. Our consultancy managers have created a whole new range of packages to help you review and refocus on what’s important.

There’s going to be lots to do and lots to talk about in 2017 so let’s stick together and help each other through it. Up coming Tpas events and Members Regional Forums that will help you focus for 2017.

For staff at all levels Tpas members and non members  Engaging Communities Conference 2017 13/14 March, Nottingham

For Tpas members

North West Regional Forum, 6 Jan Manchester

North East Regional Forum, 23 Jan York

Eastern Regional Forum, 1 Feb, Kettering

London and South East Regional Forum, 7 Feb London

South West Regional Forum, 21 Feb Weston-super-Mare

Midlands Regional Forum, 1 March Birmingham