It’s been a busy quarter, with a flurry of movement across the sector, and the CIH Brighton Housing Conference taking centre stage in May. The conference brought together housing professionals from across the UK to discuss some of the hottest topics currently affecting the industry. Fluctuating market demands, combined with continuous challenges across our workspaces and living environments, will play a pivotal role in how we shape housing vision, strategy and policy throughout 2023.
As a national housing recruiter, we’ve been busier than ever. As well as the relentless appetite for asset management, data, building safety and compliance roles, we are currently experiencing a high demand for roles relating to responsive repairs and surveyance.
Workplace wellbeing continues to be a top priority this quarter, as record numbers of people are reportedly signed off work due to covid-related conditions and poor mental health.
A timely wakeup call
The fallout from the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in 2020, linked to damp and mould issues inside his Rochdale council home, triggered a call for more effective legislation and guidance on property maintenance and responsive repairs. This has led to a surge in repairs-related roles, alongside the traditional Housing Services and Development roles which are still in continuous demand. The Social Housing Bill passed an important milestone in March, as it completed the Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Commons.The Bill will now include Awaab’s Law, which will require all social landlords to fix hazards like damp and mould in their homes within a set time frame.
Although this is a welcome move, analysis by Citizens Advice suggests that more than half of private renters in England (including 1.6 million children) are also struggling with damp, mould, excessive cold or a combination of these factors. A campaign by the charity has called for private landlords to also be held accountable, so that the legislation reaches across the entire sector.
Understanding the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on damp and mould issues, particularly in situations where tenants are unable to afford to heat their homes enough to stave off worsening conditions, will be key to preventing another tragedy like this from taking place in future. It will take the right skills, leadership and funding to tackle these important issues head on, and this will be key in ensuring the new policies and guidelines are effectively adhered to.
Workplace wellbeing – no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must include’
We know from recent data such as CIPD’s Wellbeing at Work Survey that organisations without a strategy for wellbeing in place are becoming adversely affected in terms of attraction, retention and productivity. A fast-growing transient workforce are voting with their feet within the first six-twelve months of employment if they are not offered a healthy work-life balance, alongside clear career progression and a competitive salary. With the housing industry already struggling to compete with the private sector over pay and talent, it’s never been more important to have an effective wellbeing strategy in place.
Our Finance Director Sarah Crone recently set up Greenacre’s Wellbeing Committee. The aim is to provide practical support and advice on positive mental and physical health, both inside and outside of work. Sarah was recently diagnosed with a rare form of Thymic Cancer, and realised the wellbeing techniques and support she received to help her through one of the most difficult periods of her life had the potential to help others. Sarah shared her moving journey, along with some wellbeing strategies she found effective, in our recent Sofa Sessions Podcast. The podcast shares what Sarah has learned to help maintain a positive mindset and build resilience, through mental health support strategies, diet and complimentary therapies. If you missed the live podcast you can watch it here!
Learning to lead, leading to succeed
We were delighted to showcase the outcomes of our Leading for Tomorrow and Learning to Lead classes of 22/23 this April! Both programmes were highly successful in bringing together collaborative housing organisations from across the country to learn, apply and find solutions to some of the biggest leadership challenges the sector is currently facing. Click here to read their stories!
A warm welcome (back!)
We’ve also sprouted some new shoots of our own this spring, welcoming newcomer Zara Kelly to the growing Greenacre Garden, and were delighted to welcome back a familiar face in James Dann, as he made a return to our Technical Team. We look forward to the new additions settling into their respective patches and spreading their friendly branches out to our wider network. Our team are always happy to connect, either on the move or over the wire. We have consultants operating across the South East, London, the Midlands, Manchester, and beyond – so feel free reach out for a coffee with a member of one of our teams if you’re in the vicinity, or a virtual chat if you happen to be somewhere in the Outer Hebrides…