Tpas back on the road!

Thursday 23rd of June 2022

It’s been over 2 years since our last in person member events took place and Team Tpas (Louise and Lisa) were both really looking forward to getting out and seeing our members in real life again!

On 15th June we held our Midland members event, very kindly hosted by Solihull Community Housing at their offices in Birmingham.

We were joined by 21 members from 14 different organisations, a mix of housing associations, local authorities and 2 of our commercial members also joined us.

Tpas intro session

Louise kicked off the session with a Tpas update and highlighted some of the benefits you can access as members.

Louise then talked about the white paper and what progress has been made. It has been encouraging to see the new beefed up Housing Ombudsman and the work they are doing with their new complaints code, publishing complaint handling failures and their new resident panel – it has also been interesting to hear their new advertising campaign on the radio to promote their services – something that we haven’t seen before!

Louise also talked about the new Social Housing Regulation bill which was introduced on 8th June 2022. This will see new powers such as Ofsted type inspections, fines for failing landlords, TSM’s and a new 250 resident panel.

Solihull Community Housing (SCH) Member spotlight

Becci Youlden and Sophie Ashford gave us some background information on SCH who are an ALMO with over 10,000 properties in Birmingham, they talked about their 5 year strategic vision and their aims, commitments and values. They have a customer experience team which is responsible for customer engagement, communications and insight and data and every staff member in the organisation is responsible for engaging with customers – this is truly embedded throughout SCH.

Becci and Sophie talked to us in more detail about their approach to Building Safety. SCH have 37 high rise blocks of flats and have an overarching plan to support the building safety function, supported by a dedicated Building Safety officer. It was interesting hear about their BSA’s (Building Safety advocates) who are volunteers in each block who carry our safety checks and liaise with other residents in the blocks.

Becci and Sophie answered lots of questions that our attendees had on the culture of the organisation and their building safety work.

They shared with us their Engagement Toolkit and their Engagement Framework – both these can be found in the resource hub.

Networking session

After a fabulous buffet lunch (we have missed them!) our members discussed in groups how to embed engagement in the culture of an organisation and highlighted to the group anything they are proud of in their organisation – it was great to hear the following

  • A ‘no voice, no approval’ process – if the residents voice has been not heard, a policy will not get full approval.
  • Language – this came up several times, getting the language right for your audience, avoid jargon and remember a void is somebodies’ home! Avoid stigmatisation.
  • Utilise everyday engagement – listen and act upon – phone calls – we are engaging with customers all day every day!
  • Need to have the strategy linked to engagement framework – the golden thread.
  • Communities connected event – involving all staff from the business in litter picks, digital events, employment events.
  • Getting leaders out meeting tenants and residents or a meet your officer’s event.
  • Including engagement in staff appraisals / objectives – make it everyone’s responsibility.

We then had a quick roundtable chat about the main challenges our members are facing in engagement.

  • Recruiting new tenants
  • Communication
  • Youth engagement
  • Diversity of engagement and understanding our diverse communities
  • Buy in from other teams in the organisation
  • Getting the data that shows the difference that engagement makes
  • Improving ways that people can get involved digitally but also including everyone who isn’t online.
  • Building trust

A big thank you to everyone who joined the event and for Solihull Community Housing for hosting us.

You can join us at another regional event later in the year – book your places here

The slides from the event can be found in the online member resource hub.