England: Social housing staff to face training and qualifications review
Social housing residents in England will be better protected as part of a review to ensure they are listened to, according to Eddie Hughes, minister for rough sleeping and housing in England.
The review on qualifications and professional training will drive up standards by making sure social housing staff are better equipped to support tenants, deal effectively with complaints, and make sure homes are of good quality.
The Social Housing White Paper Professionalisation Review will explore the qualifications currently available for staff, with landlords, residents and trade bodies putting forward recommendations to the government. It will also consider if additional training is required to improve the service to residents.
The government is now urging social housing residents to come forward and have their say in the review and talk about their experience dealing with social housing staff. They can also suggest what changes they would like to see.
The Social Housing White Paper set out how the government will ensure residents in social housing are safe, listened to, live in good quality homes, and have access to redress when things go wrong. This review is a crucial step in ensuring staff and trained to support residents and listen to their concerns.
This comes after thousands of social housing residents told the government following the Grenfell tragedy that they felt their landlords were failing to treat them with courtesy and respect.
It also follows the latest English Housing Survey report, which shows that more than 59% of social housing residents who complained were not happy with the response to their complaints. At the same time, the Housing Ombudsman has seen a 139% increase in complaints in the past year.
Eddie Hughes MP said: “Too many social housing residents have told me they feel like they are not listened to or treated with respect – raising complaints time and time again only for the problems not to be fixed.”
“This needs to stop. This review announced today will drive up the standard of services received by residents, making sure their concerns are taken seriously and they have somewhere safe to live.”
“The review is a key element of our Social Housing White Paper, which is bringing forward wide-ranging improvements for tenants.”
Gavin Smart, Chartered Institute for Housing CEO, added: “As the professional body for housing, CIH is delighted to be involved with DLUHC’s Professionalisation Review. Home is the foundation on which we all build our lives, our experience during the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced just how important home is.”
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to take part in the review to help make sure that housing professionals have the right tools to deliver good quality homes and services with people at the heart.”
Responding to the announcement, Councillor David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: “Councils support measures that help social housing staff to better support residents and ensure any issues are dealt with quickly and satisfactorily.
“Tenants of all housing tenures should expect that their landlords will consistently work towards improving living conditions.
“What we now need to see are ambitious long-term plans to reverse the chronic shortage of social housing, including giving councils powers to build 100,000 high-quality, climate-friendly social homes a year.”