Fit for the future – My Tpas professional conference experience

Friday 18th of March 2016

We invited our delegate, Sandra Crosby, Housing Director from Greenfields Community Housing to share her experience of joining us at the The National Tpas Professional Conference.

This was a first for me despite having worked in housing for more than 20 years. I came away impressed with lots of ideas about how we should continue to ‘swim against the tide’ albeit I felt like a fish out of water on occasion.

It was great to see that despite challenging times, a variety of organisations from across the Country had supported their staff to attend. I was however a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a wider variety of staff there. Was this due to Tpas marketing to a particular target audience? Or the sad reality that many organisations (and some individuals) expect  (and like the idea that) involving residents is the job of a few specialists rather than everybody’s business?

Jenny Osbourne introduced the conference and launched the new brand which is modern and refreshing, something I didn’t expect! Words like ‘working together, saving money, finding solutions and building lasting change in communities’ really resonated with me.

Over the course of the next 24 hours I sat in on a number of workshops as did my colleagues. When we met up afterwards we were all buzzing with ideas about how we can and will do things differently going forward.

The ‘Worth’ Workout certainly made me reflect on how we often allow colleagues to play down the value of involving our residents, putting the power in their hands and trusting them to make the right decisions with our support.

The next time I hear conversations about what’s ‘core & non core’ business or hearing the word ‘fluffy’ I’ll be reminding them of the fact that private organisations work hard to capture view & opinions of their customers keeping them close & investing in them. Barclays and Tescos being examples used at the workshop.

This doesn’t mean that it’s the ‘be all & end all’. Let’s not kid ourselves that  in this new world asset management & repairs, building & selling more homes, being more efficient and really demonstrating our worth are the most important things we do. As well as being crucial for our survival.

But in this new world tenants can help us do what we do better as long as we are also willing to change. 

We need to be smarter about how use our residents to bring about change, challenge ourselves to up our game, start with the outcome in mind and have measures in place before we commit time, money and energy to projects that add little or no value. YES that might mean saying no, on occasion but we will be doing for the right reasons.

I left invigorated about the difference we can make despite the challenges and change ahead. Looking forward with optimism (something I haven’t felt for a while).