P49 Social Paul Day2
Paul Day Involved resident at Southern Housing

We can be very quick to criticise in the UK.  Too often we take to social media about one problem or another, very quick to jump on the negative and far less likely to mention any positives. This is the situation I see housing associations have got themselves in to with their residents. There’s been a breakdown in trust somewhere along the line and whether it is fuelled by the reality of a poor service or some other factor, it needs repairing and fast. 

The first thing to say is I understand why some residents do moan.  The service we’ve received has always been poor and the communication we get from our landlord and contractors matches that – dreadful.  When I first moved in to my James Butcher housing association property it must have had over 100 hammer holes in the walls - left as a parting gift from the previous tenant.  There was no thought from the landlord to fix it before I moved in. Instead, I felt pressured to accept it as ‘favour’, however unfit for habitation it was. But take it I did and from there I started to do it up myself rather than wait, and wait, and wait on the ‘cowboys’ they would send – if they did ever actually turn up. 

It was from this starting point that I began to get involved. I wanted to help change things for residents and for my community in the short and long-term.  The only way I believe you can do that is by rolling up your sleeves, doing everything you can to get the resident voice heard, and helping to find practical solutions to problems rather than sniping from the sidelines.

That journey has taken many years and I’ve faced many frustrations in getting our views taken seriously. However, the other month I found myself sat around the same table as the CEO of Southern at one of several workshops I’ve attended since the creation of the new organisation through merger. There he was alongside members of his executive team, asking myself and other residents what our experience of their services were and how to shape them better in the future. I thought – finally, we’re being listened to.

Repairs has always been the main point of service failure for my landlords, so to work on the solution to this, which in-part involves the re-tendering of the London repairs contract, was a fascinating exercise to go through. Working alongside the Procurement team in evaluating the tenders, seeing where the complaints were coming from and how each organisation pitching for the contract would address these, and collaborating with other residents to ensure our lived-experience was written in to every line was heartening and reassuring.

One of the aspects I wanted embedded as part of any successful tender was the communications between the new contractor and residents. My view is that if we can improve communications as well as deliver a more effective repairs service we can begin to breakdown the stigma that has too often come attached with resident association tenants – which is we should just accept what we are given and be happy with it. That view has existed for too long and I’m extremely hopeful that it will disappear forever not just for our residents, but for everyone in a housing association property. The roadmap to achieving this change is clear at Southern – better tendered contracts, more inhouse delivery, greater accountability by the landlord themselves, and importantly far more scrutiny by residents on performance.

I’m beginning to see a change in Southern that I can get behind. The people I’ve met from there have been professional, organised, respectful and willing to treat us as equals in drawing up a vision for the future.

There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us but I feel we are already moving at pace to where we need to be. When we get there, residents may be a bit more willing to offer up praise rather than complaints across the various media channels…but let’s take things one step at a time!

Our news

All Articles
JR2 1
  • 18 July 2024

Blog: Free to be me

Karin Wildlife
  • 16 July 2024

Blog: We must all take responsibility for our local wildlife

P49 Social Karin Stockerl2
  • 27 June 2024

Blog: Investing in our homes - a call for collaborative action

Election Campaign 2
  • 12 June 2024

Blog: Housing associations are key partners in solving the housing crisis

Election Campaign 1B
  • 03 June 2024

Blog: More than 140,000 children are living in temporary accommodation

P49 Social Chris Middleton2
  • 28 May 2024

Blog: Transforming homes through strategic investment

P49 Social Lily Monk2
  • 22 May 2024

Blog: The journey towards a single contact centre

P49 Social Paul Hackett2 1
  • 14 May 2024

A response to the Ombudsman’s Paragraph 49 report

P49 Social Kara Tomas Meek2
  • 03 May 2024

Blog: Contributing to a sustainable world

P49 Social Tina Edwards2
  • 19 April 2024

Blog: Navigating cultural integration - Building a unified identity at Southern Housing

P49 Social Amy Singh2
  • 11 April 2024

Blog: Using data to improve customer services

P49 Social Jane Campbell2
  • 21 March 2024

Blog: Diversity in the Legal Services team

P49 Social Paul Hackett2 1
  • 19 March 2024

Blog: Improving services for residents

P49 Social Troy Francis2
  • 12 March 2024

Blog: A Simple Approach for Better Services

P49 Social William Miller2
  • 07 March 2024

Blog: Social Impact - a financial ally for our residents

P49 Social Vanessa Biddiss2
  • 04 March 2024

Blog: Helping residents to sustain their tenancies

1708966909647 7D18188f Db2a 48E4 8957 C386dbe81160 1
  • 29 February 2024

Blog: Investing in our homes

Douglas Silverstone
  • 16 February 2024

Technology: the engine of a merger

Puneet Rajput
  • 08 February 2024

Blog: Delivering effective resident governance

Helena Ingham
  • 06 February 2024

Blog: A merging opinion -  they work best when residents are at their heart

Jenny Poore
  • 28 January 2024

Blog: Reflecting on the successes and challenges of the merger journey

Brea Attrill
  • 26 January 2024

Blog: Hoping to achieve a balance in the relationship of equals

Colin Lydon (1)
  • 23 January 2024

Blog: Delivering an effective ASB handling service

Mij Rahman
  • 16 January 2024

Blog: Improving our data input

Dave Burton
  • 09 January 2024
  • Resident Involvement

Blog: The Resident Scrutiny Panel – our year one journey

Naomi Keyte
  • 09 January 2024

Blog: Listening to and acting upon residents’ feedback to shape our care services

Yvette Carter
  • 21 December 2023

Blog: Repairing trust

Image00009 Flipped
  • 18 December 2023
  • Sustainability

Our new Environmental Sustainability Strategy

P49 Social Paul Hackett2 1
  • 18 December 2023

Blog: The first 12 months of a merger

IMG 1168 (1)
  • 30 November 2023

Our annual review 2022-23

Featured in the photo (from left to right): Bunmi Atta (Director of Construction at Southern Housing), Mike Link (Chair of the ABE CLT), Cllr Michael Warden (Chair of Aldingbourne Parish Council) and Steve Underwood (Development Manager at Southern Housing).
  • 25 October 2023

New homes delivered at Wings Wood development in Chichester

  • 19 September 2023
  • New developments

Final brick laid at New Kent Road development

Milestone At Southwark Development
  • 15 September 2023
  • New developments

Milestone at our Southwark development

Rosemary House
  • 18 July 2023
  • Sustainability

Topping out at The Green Quarter

The Mannings
  • 11 July 2023
  • Sustainability

Topping out at new low carbon housing project