Our new standards will help us be prouder housing professionals

The CIH's new standards will allow the sector to show why being a housing professional is important, writes CIH chief executive Gavin Smart.
Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

For almost two years CIH has been working with its members, other housing professionals, tenants and residents, housing organisations and employers and professional bodies from beyond housing to develop a set of professional standards that encapsulate our collective identity as a housing profession: an understanding of what’s important, what we stand for, and what we’re trying to achieve.

We introduced these standards in March. What’s been the reaction?

“These look great. Practical, doable as you go, and will help housing providers explore how to support their staff to demonstrate professionalism – they make sense.”

Karen Anderson, Homes England

“Delighted to see this work land. Critical that housing professionals are clear what we stand for and that we keep pace with the world around us. Proud to be professional – whatever role you do in the sector.”

Gary Orr, Abri

CIH’s role as the professional body is to champion the brilliant work that housing professionals do; the difference they make to people’s lives every day. And that’s why I want all of us who work in housing to be seen, and to see ourselves, as professionals deserving the same recognition as some of the other “professions” with whom we work so closely. I want employers, those we work with and those we work for to understand and appreciate the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to be an effective housing professional.

It’s certainly been a mammoth undertaking: to develop a set of seven characteristics which comprehensively reflect the make-up of the modern-day housing professional. At each step we’ve debated, scrutinised and tested what we’re doing. The result will help you explore and understand where you are in your personal and professional develop and you what you’d like to work on next.

I think our new standards really reflect the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that residents and customers expect and deserve. That they fit the breadth and diversity of people who work in housing and can be tailored and relevant to everyone across the profession – whatever your role, position or specialism.

“Professional standards for housing, set out in a really easy-to-use tool, will help us self-reflect and can guide us on our professional journeys.”

Faye Greaves, Centre for Homelessness Impact

We’ve worked hard to make the standards easy to use, relevant for the environment we live and work in now and flexible enough to meet the challenges of the future. And by reinforcing the ethical foundation of what we do, I also believe they’ll inspire people to want to work in housing and to celebrate the value of our profession.

Professionalism with a purpose

As a housing professional the CIH standards will support your personal and professional development and your career. They provide you with a framework for making better decisions about your professional development, for learning how to implement innovative ways of working and for performing with increased confidence. They’ll also support you to challenge unprofessional behaviour including bias and discrimination and to act in line with your personal and professional values.

“So excited to see these land. So much hard work has gone into this. Looking forward to supporting the adoption of these through CIH in the North East and WISH North East.”

Crystal Hicks, Your Homes Newcastle

And they’re good for employers too – both for their reputation and their bottom line. Professional staff make good decisions, reduce the risk of things going wrong and provide a great service to residents and partners, cutting down on complaints and repeat/remedial jobs.   

“Looking forward to integrating the standards into everything we do.”

Vicky Beckwith, Abri

The last 12 months have shown that the work housing professionals do and the way we do it has never been more needed or more appreciated by those we serve. Essentially our work is about creating the opportunity for everyone to have a proper home from which they can build the rest of their lives. It’s a vitally important job: having a secure and safe place to call home provides the foundation for vibrant communities, happy families and development in education and careers.

I’m proud to be a housing professional. These standards will allow us all to show what being a housing professional means, why that’s important and the transformational impact that housing professionals have for people and communities across the UK.

Please take a look at the new standards and find out how they can help you be even prouder to be a housing professional and to play your full part in creating a future in which everyone has a place to call home.

Gavin Smart is chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

Image: Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). Credit: CIH

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