By Jane Pightling, Leadership Development Manager, LiveWest.

I started thinking about this event over the summer against the backdrop of government changes and ministerial resignations. It made me reflect on the prestigious schools and universities that are attended by many ministers and MPs.

But being well educated and well qualified isn’t enough. What matters is that people see that decisions and actions are taken with integrity and competence. I think these are the things people are looking for from anyone in a public or professional role and this includes all of us working in LiveWest and in housing. For me this is what professionalisation is all about: competence and integrity.

Our roles in housing demand that we’re competent. Our roles are about us doing a specialised job which requires particular knowledge, skills, experience and understanding. As such we might be required to undertake specific training or hold certain qualifications. But this, alone, isn’t enough.

Our roles also demand that we practice with integrity. Professionalism describes the manner in which a person conducts themselves to do the job. It’s often understood as an adherence to a set of standards, a code of conduct or behaviours.

Most professional bodies have a code of conduct or set of standards that define the behaviour expected by anyone in a profession. Professionalism provides the foundation stone for professional identity.

It defines the beliefs and values that determine how every professional describes themselves and provides the moral compass that enables ethical decision-making and confident practice.

It enables us to act consciously and to do the right thing in the most complex and challenging of circumstances. LiveWest’s Our Behaviours – which describe what it looks like when LiveWest colleagues live our values in their day-to-day work – provides this code.

Both aspects, being a professional and professionalism, are important and combine to create our approach to professionalisation in LiveWest. Developing the skills and knowledge needed by each professional and nurturing the professionalism and integrity with which every colleague undertakes their day-to-day work is essential.

Housing organisations need to pay attention to these and create the culture and leadership which enable professionalisation. Qualifications have an important part to play but professionalism involves much more.


If you’re interested in hearing more on this topic, our professionalism event is coming up on 13 September. Book your place here.