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The issue of power in housing was discussed a lot at HQN’s Housing Management Network annual conference.
First speaker to bring it up was Stephen Burns, Executive Director of Care and Communities at Peabody.
He said: “The more power we let go of, the better decisions we will make and better tenant engagement we will have.
“Giving power away will not lead to worse decisions, it will lead to better decisions.”
Jenny Osbourne, Chief Executive at Tpas, said that while tenants are not always looking for power, “if we get more landlords talking about giving up power, some of these changes (from the White Paper) can really happen”.
This was echoed by the Chair of the day, Alison Inman, who said she is always enthused about “having a grown up conversation about power”
She added that housing organisations acknowledging this power is a “positive step forward”.
Inman hoped that the White Paper would move this forward, with landlords being encouraged to “say that we are not all great at everything."
The former CIH President also spoke glowingly of housing management professionals in general, saying there “is no one better than frontline housing services at adapting quickly” and that “we have the seen the strength of good, old fashioned in some ways, effective housing management” during Covid-19.
Also speaking at the event was Nadhia Khan, Director of Customer and Community at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.
And while Rochdale Boroughwide Housing is a mutual housing association, she says there is still a need to ensure power is distributed effectively.
"There is a difference between having power for residents as part of the mutual body and having a relationship with those on the frontline".