Competence and Conduct Standard for Social Housing: Open Consultation.

Original Article
March 21st, 2024


A government consultation on qualifications for Senior Executives and Managers in social housing is currently open and due to close on Tuesday 2nd April.

Have you seen the consultation? Are you participating and, like us, do you consider it a potentially wasted opportunity to facilitate real change?

The consultation offers a pivotal moment to raise standards and enrich outcomes for housing residents. However, it misses a vital point: the practical skills and knowledge essential for maintaining housing assets.

Annex E accompanying the consultation, “The summary of the Social Housing Professionalisation Review,” outlines professionalism through four key outcomes, one of which is that front-line staff should possess ‘practical expertise’. Yet, disappointingly, the consultation fails to mention this critical aspect.

Sava believes managing housing effectively requires a comprehensive understanding of construction, building materials performance, and how external influences impact properties and residents. Without this core knowledge, how can we hope to keep residents warm, dry and safe? Yet the consultation predominantly focuses on generic professional practice skills like collaborative working and understanding housing law, not the critical skills of understanding ‘bricks and mortar’. This is intrinsic to tenant-focused services. Interpersonal skills are undoubtedly important, but empathy is not going to stop condensation running down the walls or enable you to spot inadequate fire protection measures.

By side-lining practical skills and knowledge, the consultation risks creating disparities within the sector by disregarding the opportunity for technical expertise in the workforce. This approach not only undermines efforts toward diversity and inclusion but also neglects residents’ basic rights to safe and habitable homes and will have a continuous drain on financial resources.

In conclusion, Sava believes that the consultation fails to address the fundamental need for front-line staff to possess practical property skills. Only then can social housing providers meet the essential rights of residents to a dry, safe, and warm home.

Hit the link to read and respond online to the full consultation: Competence and Conduct Standard for social housing.