We’re working with our members to build trust with tenants, partners, the public, policymakers and regulators. Here are some of our recent achievements.
We build trust and improve the understanding of our sector among politicians and civil servants, strengthening our sector’s reputation and shaping a political environment that delivers for our members and their residents.
Over the past year, we have met regularly with the ministerial team at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, including the Secretary of State, Minister for Housing, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping.
We’ve held several roundtables with the ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, including Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP and Paul Scully MP. And have met regularly with the Minister for Welfare Delivery, the Prime Minister’s Housing Special Adviser, the Shadow Housing team, members of the House of Lords and regional political figures.
We regularly give evidence to high profile select committees on issues ranging from building safety, the supply of social housing and universal credit. Alongside this, continue to meet with the Director General for Housing, Communities and Local Government and numerous officials across government.
In 2020, we created #HomesAtTheHeart, a national campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing. Alongside our campaign partners, and over 60 supporter organisations, we reached over seven million people. Our campaign call was backed by politicians from across the political spectrum, from Jeremy Corbyn to Jacob Rees-Mogg. Recent polling has shown that over a quarter of MPs were familiar with the campaign.
In 2020 we continued to raise the profile of social housing and the positive role it plays in society against the backdrop of one of the most crowded and challenging media contexts ever seen.
We positioned social housing as a vital part of the country’s short- and long-term recovery, launching the Homes at the Heart campaign that was covered extensively across national media including Channel 4, The Sun, LBC and more.
Our People in Housing Need report, which showed that the real social housing waiting list reached 3.8 million people, was published as a broadcast exclusive on BBC Radio 4, BBC News at 10 and the Today programme. The accompanying BBC Online article was the most viewed story that day.
We also ensured that our sector had visibility on a flurry of policy announcements – our responses to the Planning White Paper, the Affordable Homes Programme, the Social Housing White Paper and the spending review appeared everywhere from the Financial Times and Channel 4, to the Times and the Guardian.
Through our Together with Tenants initiative, we’ve worked to build stronger relationships between residents and housing association landlords through a four-point plan for change. A key component of the plan involves housing associations adopting a charter, which sets out in clear terms what residents can and should expect from their landlord, including increased board accountability to residents.
Following a national rollout in 2021, the Together with Tenants plan has now been formally adopted by 165 housing associations, covering more than two million homes.
Through this work we’ve supported our members to deliver many of the commitments set out in the Social Housing White Paper in advance of any legislation or new regulation being brought forward.
This work is being guided by our Member Steering Group and Tenant Advisory Panel, which we convened in 2019 to critique and shape Together with Tenants.
In 2019 we established our first ever diversity, equality and inclusion member group. The group is working with us to take forward our diversity agenda, including promoting a shift in culture and delivering more inclusive workplaces.
As a starting point, in 2020 we launched a comprehensive report on equality, diversity and inclusion in housing association staff in England. This report will help housing providers understand where we currently are as a sector, and start a conversation on where we’d like to get to. Alongside this, we have published more than ten case studies of good practice for housing associations to be able to learn from one another
Following the launch of the report, we ran seven meetings around the country, bringing together over 120 sector leaders who are committed to making change happen to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in our workplaces. This is shaping an exciting programme of work to come.