Training suggestions for a new housing officer
16/05/2011 8:53 pm
Forgive me if this is an oft repeated thread, but I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of some good training material for a housing manager?
Specifically some books/text books rather than courses (as I can't afford to fund them right now!). If someone can suggest titles or ISBNs that 'd be even better.
I am new to the role of a housing officer and a career in housing as a whole. Thoroughly enjoying it at the moment, haven't been here long enough for the cynicism to creep in yet!
Any advice would be gratefully received but I'm after books/text books/websites relating to housing law, housing policy, development policy/strategy, anti-social behaviour laws and policies, E & D policies and any thing else relevant.
I know that housing policy is being remade every fortnight in response to the Government's ongoing wholesale butchery, sorry I mean re-imagining, of the public sector, but if someone can suggest material as new and relevant as possible that'd be a great help to a (reasonably) young man with a sparkle in his eye, a spring in his step and passion and energy for his new career!
For those set in their ways and swimming in cynicism, please have this cyber bucket \_/ in which to respond to my cringeworthy and nauseating enthusiasm!
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20/05/2011 10:38 pm
hi, sorry I cant help you with what your looking for, but I was wondering how to get into working for the housing? ive been doing a career which is completly different, i need to be working while training if this is possible??? sorry i cant help you would be gratful if you could help me though?:)
23/05/2011 8:59 am
you wont find text books and reading much use in terms of "stepping up" the ladder, they will hep with your own understanding of the field and knowledge though so are still worth a read - specific titles escape me at the moment but you could try looking on the CIH website for reccomended reading.
experience is normally the best way to learn and progress in the housing world, plug away at HO level to gain practical experience of dealing with varied situations, volunteer to act up if / when the opportunity arrises, ask to shadow senior staff or indeed other teams (such as ASB if seperate) all this will expand your experience base.
many employers will support staff to progress, many offer courses supported by CIH, ask your line manager HR if there are any such schemes in place - you may have to serve 12 months service first so they know you can hack it.
above all, try to avoid the cynics! and good luck.
24/05/2011 11:53 am
Some of Shelter's products may be of interest, specifically 'Shelter's Housing Law Update' which is a case-law update sent 11 times a year in pdf format (£99/yr subscription) and/or 'Shelter Legal' our online housing law guide http://england.shelter.org.uk/shop/subscriptions.
We also run training courses and seminars all of which can be viewed at www.shelter.org.uk/training
Our 4-day 'Foundation in Housing Law and Advice' course is considered an essential induction course by many housing organisations so perhaps your employer would be willing to fund that? http://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/training_and_conferences/all_courses/foundation_in_housing_law_and_advice_part_a
Hope thats useful, sorry its a bit of a shameless plug;
24/05/2011 1:15 pm
Hi, I worked in housing with Manchester and Salford years ago and found that there was a shortage of good training materials, but an abundance of the attitude that you can only "learn on the job". Obviously there is no substitute for experience but good training, qualifications and up to date knowledge of policy, law and practice are crucial to providing a good service and running an effective organisation so I applaud your enthusiasm. Can I suggest the HCA who are tasked with helping to improve skills in the housing industry (they have a skills hub); the CIH; and this website (obviously!). I recall being frustrated that I could find copies of the various Housing Acts quite easily, but no one could advise me how to decide if a crying tenant was faking a sob story; or how to write a statement; or where to get help for an alcoholic tenant; or what to do if social services were reluctant to sort out an obviously vulnerable old man. I really hope you will find other good practical sources of info too. I once wrote a list of questions, based on real scenarios that had stumped me, and gave it to a manager for advice - he used it to develop a training tool, and asked colleagues about their best practice. I've not been in housing for a very long time now so hopefully things are a lot better. Good luck.
24/05/2011 2:35 pm
LOL @ "So you've been in the game all of 5 minutes and already want to be a Housing Manager?"
My organisation doesn't use the term "housing officer" or "housing manager", but that is my job role - a housing manager.
I'm fine dealing with people or situations. My requirements for training are in the details really. Housing policies, laws etc; what different types of tenancies actually mean in technical and legal terms and what laws and procedures can be applied to them. Housing strategies and people's rights etc as well. In most situations I know exactly what should be done but I need to know how I go about doing it.
Dealing with people is not a problem, I have plenty of very relevant life and career experience. I also sense the "vibe" that this is very much a training "on the job" kind of career. I've (thankfully) fitted in nicely so far - but I think that a training program is something many organisations should consider, not as a formal qualification but as an induction program particular to that role. I don't feel that it must be learnt solely "on the job".
While it is good to gain experience on the hoof, I don't think it would be that difficult to construct a "training program" for new housing officers/managers; but the benefits would be worth it. Even as simple as sitting down and saying you can do this but you can't do that, this means this and that means that etc. In this situation do this, you get the idea.
26/05/2011 6:00 pm
I'll start possibly a bit back to front.
In relation to training I note that the poster says that they cannot fund any training right now, but it maybe worth them investigating to undertake an NVQ in Housing which enables them to study whilst working on the job and assesses both their compentcies on the job as well as their technical abilities. The reason I raise this is that often the NVQs are part or fully funded so wouldn't necessarily cost them money. It may also give a structure to the undoubted appetite that they have for learning.
In terms of websites and links and keeping up to date with issues I would suggest linking to CIH, NHF, CLG and HCA as well as Inside Housing of course!!
In terms of books and text these are often a personal choice and the topics are so wide ranging that I am going to suggest a slightly different tac.
In relation to E&D the organisation the person works for should have an E&D policy which would be a good starting point.
I think they also might find it beneficial to read some material that traces the history of social housing from its genisis to the current day. I remember reading a text book by Malpass & Murie which tracked housing policy to practice over a period of decades and it helped me understand the whole sector much better and much quicker.
In terms of the other areas mention and in particular policy, I would suggest that rather than entering straight into a text book I would undertake some research via the Internet and delve into particular topic areas. There will also be lots of opportunities here to gather a variety of information as well differing views and opinions as well as the potential to purchase text books if desired.
26/05/2011 6:22 pm
I have just the thing you are looking for in regards to Equality and Diversity. It is a training manual based on the questions and issues raised by staff both in terms of working with in a diverse workforce and providing services to a diverse community. The material covers race ,faith.gender ,disability,sexuality and age.
The book is in the form of short (500 word) chapters or articleson topical and often contentious issues which are followed by discussion questions.The material works just as well in individual study as group discussion. It is designed to be photocopied so individual articles can be shared when a topic is hot at work. A number of organisation have purchased the PDFrights and posted the material on their intranet so all staff with access to a computer can view it.
Mangers use the material in team meetings and one to one sessions as a way of increasing awareness or tackling an E&D issue that has arisen with in the team and needs to be got out into the open in a non threatening way. The title is An Elephant in the room-an equality and diversity training manual published by www.russellhouse.co.uk Before you spend your money you can read sections of the book and find reference to other article on Equality and Diversity at www.blairmcpherson.co.uk.
I confess I am bias as I am the author but visit the web site and decide for yourself whether this is what you are looking for.
26/05/2011 6:29 pm
I suggest to go to the CIH website. They have lots of courses, many accredited, all of which presumably have designated reading lists. I think you should try to start from those reading lists, even if you then branch out to other things.
If you want a 'tenant view', I'd start with 'Estates' by Lynsey Hanley.