Gavin Smart: The new standards of professionalism for housing

Gavin Smart

CIH’s role as the professional body is to champion the role that housing professionals play in making a difference to people’s lives every day and to unite housing professionals across the whole sector. Or as we put it formally in our mission statement “to support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home”.

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. At its heart our work is about creating the opportunity for everyone to have a proper home from which they can build the rest of their lives. And that’s why I want all of us who work in housing to be seen, and to see ourselves, as professionals deserving of the same recognition as some of the other more recognised “professions” with whom we work so closely. I want employers, the communities we serve and the UK at large to understand the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to be an effective housing professional.

That’s why for almost two years we’ve been working with CIH members, other housing professionals, housing organisations and employers, professional bodies from beyond housing and residents across the UK to develop a set of professional standards that underline our collective identity as a housing profession: an understanding of what’s important; what we stand for and what we’re trying to achieve.

It’s been a mammoth undertaking: to bring you 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 resulting professional standards will allow you to explore and understand where you are in your personal and professional develop and you what you’d like to work on next.

I believe they 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 their role, position or specialism.

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.

So, what’s in it for me?

That’s a vital question, because our work is about professionalism for a purpose.

As a housing professional the standards will enable you to take charge of your personal and professional development and of 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. 

And they’re good for employers’ reputation and bottom line – professional staff make good decisions, reduce the risk of things going wrong and provide a great service to residents and partners.    

I’m proud to be a housing professional. What these standards will do is 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.

  • Gavin Smart is chief executive at CIH

Tags: CIH

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