When I first joined One Housing as its new chief executive, I know I was joining an organisation with employees who care deeply about residents and the communities they serve.
As any chief executives do, I spent the first few months of my tenure meeting and speaking with as many residents and employees as possible. But after listening, I was left with a strong sense that the passion and engagement of our residents and employees was sometimes invisible in our strategy and in the way we talked to key partners. I felt we over-emphasised new development at the expense of our core social purpose of being a force for good in our communities. Our new plan makes it clear we are committed to improving our services to residents and investing in our communities.
But for me, it’s more than committing to these new objectives on paper. We need to share our story to highlight the commitments to our residents, customers, local authority partners and government. Over the past year we found three new opportunities to make our case. We were really pleased to be asked to join the G15 earlier this year, which gives us a great opportunity to make the case for social housing in London.
It’s also why joining PlaceShapers makes so much sense. The network offers us a platform to reaffirm our focus as a social landlord and to highlight the support we provide for residents and share the stories that change lives. The PlaceShapers’ #WeCare campaign highlights just one of the ways our renewed ethos and objectives match up with PlaceShapers and its members. As a new PlaceShaper, one of the first requests was to organise one of three consultation events for the Social Housing Green Paper.
As organisations closely connected to communities, we are well placed to do this.The Green Paper and consultation provides an opportunity for housing associations to demonstrate they are committed to transparency and engagement with residents and to prove to our stakeholders that we haven’t lost our social purpose.
There’s no doubt the next several years will present big challenges, but I feel so inspired by the work going on across the sector. It’s important we provide essential services, but it’s also important we work with other associations and industry networks so we can shout about what we do well. Our social purpose is important to what we do. All that has changed is that our new vision and plan makes sure we put it front and centre.