Our priorities and responsibilities right now
Wednesday 1st of April 2020
Tpas chief executive, Jenny Osbourne details what Tpas has been working on over the last week to ensure we continue to deliver our services to members and clients.
So how are you?
Not the easiest of questions to answer any time but even more so right now. So many conflicting emotions, priorities, responsibilities and fears amongst us today.
There is a myriad of blogs, articles and videos out there discussing what this all means and how people are feeling. I am not even going to try and pretend I can compete with them and say anything startlingly new or insightful.
So, for now, all I can say is once again, all of us at Tpas hope you are keeping safe and well and remind you that we are here to help in any way we can.
In these uncertain days though I am finding that focusing on what I do know, what I can control and have a positive attitude for the future is all I can do.
And at Tpas we know engagement, we know our members and clients, and we know that all the best things happen when landlords and tenants work together to overcome problems and find solutions together. And that principle of working together, pushing forward and redefining services holds true as much now even though our landscape has dramatically changed.
And don’t just take my word for it. Yes, we are hearing from many many members about how they are adapting to working at home, grappling with IT systems that aren’t coping, learning new digital platforms at pace, being seconded into different roles to support the more vulnerable in their communities. All this is still happening, but for many organisations, this is also starting to settle. New ways of working are emerging, and new business as usual for these next few months is being established.
From an engagement perspective, we have been so encouraged by how quickly landlord staff and tenants are adapting. Digital is obviously key now, no doubt about that. I am hearing how important established Whatsapp groups have been over these last few days just to keep that very human and informal contact amongst groups. We knew Facebook was one of the most used social channels and organisation are using this effectively to reach into communities and connect with what’s happening in neighbourhoods. Social media is truly claiming its crown as social!
And for those landlords and involved tenants already using digital platforms to communicate – well it’s a lot of business as normal.
Whether it be Zoom, GoTo Meetings, Skype, MS Teams or any other, they are all designed to be social, to be used easily and to be responsive.
And so many organisations are carrying on with work as planned but just in a new digital way and Tpas are too.
Here are just a few of the things we have been part of this past week working with clients digitally (not forgetting the still vitally important phone calls too!):
- Conducting reality checks with involved tenants and staff for our accreditation process at a large national Housing Association.
- Talking clients through our new self-assessment framework set against the new Tpas Engagement standards so that people can be undertaking desktop reviews to submit to us.
- Scoping a piece of work about a HA board can be truly accountable to hearing the voices of tenants in decision making.
- Moving regular tenants meetings on our clients' engagement reviews, community involvement and scrutiny projects to online forums and carrying on with the work
- Contact from Heads of Services across different organisations as they look ahead to how to use some of the time capacity they have to really think about, and plan, how they will involve tenants in the future in-service review and design; notably from Asset Managers and Development teams
You will be going at your own speed over these new few months, and that’s fine. I am very conscious that now is such a testing time for people that getting involved with your landlord might feel the last thing people want to do. We all need to be sensitive to that.
But there will be others that will want to stay engaged, will want to keep contributing and scrutinising. Who knows as the weeks unfold many of you may finally reach those previously uninvolved tenants that you have wanted to reach for so long.
Whatever your engagement path over the coming weeks and months can I just urge you to make sure you keep going. We have waited far too long for the White Paper on social housing as it is, and now obviously there will be more delay.
So let’s do all we can together to keep the momentum going for the change we all want to see – in person and online!
Stay safe, everyone.