Search This Blog


Welcome to the learning4housing blog. I will be posting my thoughts and opinions on a range of issues facing the social housing sector. You are more than welcome to post your comments, whether you agree or disagree on the points. The aim here is to stimulate some debate on these issues, whether they are about current government policy or about best practice in housing management or strategy.

is an independent training provider for the social housing sector. We cover a wide range of subject areas, including anti-social behaviour, homelessness, resident involvement, void control, choice-based lettings, and complaints management, as well as personal skills development around communication, negotiation, assertiveness, influencing, managing people, etc. Please visit the main website for more information at

Please call David on 07986 246406 to discuss your training needs and how we can help, or email at

Friday, June 17

More on Blended Learning programmes

Many thanks to those who responded to my blogpost yesterday about our new blended learning programmes. We already have one concrete bookings and a number of enquires. Some have asked for more detailed information on the programmes, particularly in relation to the content of the workshops. There are initially two separate programmes that have been designed - Anti-Social Behaviour and Resident Involvement. Here are the broad headings of issues to be covered in the workshops. Do remember however, that these can be amended and tailored to your specific requirements.

Workshop 1:
  • What is Anti-Social Behaviour?
  • Policy context - current and future
  • Responses to ASB 
    • Prevention
    • Enforcement
    • Rehabilitation
  • Non-Legal Remedies for ASB
  • Legal Remedies for ASB
  • Case Studies 
Workshop 2:
  • Review of Workshop 1
  • Practical Issues
  • Effective case management
  • Gathering Evidence
  • Partnership working
  • Skills development
  • Barriers and challenges
  • Case studies


Workshop 1:
  • What is resident involvement?
  • Benefits of resident involvement
    • to residents
    • to landlords
    • to communities
  • Policy context 
  • Methods of involvement
  • From involvement to empowerment
  • Skills development
  • Tenant panels & scrutiny (1)
  • Governance issues
Workshop 2:
  • Review of workshop 1
  • Practical issues
  • Barriers and challenges
  • Ensuring representation
  • Equality & diversity issues
  • Tenant panels and scrutiny (2)
  • Good practice examples
  • Case studies

In addition to the workshops, practical exercises and tasks, with supporting on-line material, will be set for completion away from the training room setting.  These are aimed at embedding learning, ensuring learning is linked to changes at the workplace, and to cater for different learning styles. Constructive and supportive feedback will be provided by an experienced assessor on these exercises. In addition, participants will be encouraged to reflect on their learning and to visualise how their new knowledge and skills can be put into practice. If required, follow up tasks can be set to review how effective the learning has been in improving performance.

The all-in cost for each programme (including two one-day workshops, plus assessment and feedback on exercises and tasks, plus access to a tutor for the duration of the programme) is only £995 + VAT.

If you are a small organisation, why not get together with neighbouring councils or RSLs to make up a viable number of learners?

For more information or an informal chat about these programmes, please ring David on 07986 246406 or email For more information about learning4housing, please visit the main website at

David Wardle

Thursday, June 16

New Blended Learning Programmes now Available

Blended learning - that is learning that includes face-to-face 'training' as well as e-learning - has been around for some time. The benefits of combining these two approaches to learning are clear - many people still learn more effectively when in a classroom setting, with a facilitator and other learners. This gives an opportunity to discuss experiences, to engage with others in practical learning exercises, and to make the best use of a trained trainer who is able to guide and faciliate a session towards acheiving agreed learning outcomes. There are of course some limitations to using this approach, mainly around the need to embed any learning to ensure the necessary changes in working practices and behaviour actually take place after the training day. I always discuss this with participants at various stages of the day, and emphasise that 'training changes nothing - it's what you do differently that matters'.  There are also advantages and disadvantages to a pure e-learning approach, which many learners have difficulties with, particularly those who have a more activist learning style. 

The blended learning approach can therefore be very effective. To link face-to-face workshop sessions with activities and exercises that are undertaken outside the classroom setting, and that are aimed at embedding learning and changing behaviours, can get the best of both worlds.

For these reasons, learning4housing have developed two new blended learning programmes on Anti-Social Behaviour and Resident Involvement. As always, all programmes are suitable for staff, tenants and board members (and there are particular benefits in including all three!), and are initially available on an in-house basis, although plans are in hand to provide open access programmes in the future. An in-house programme also enables you to have the programme tailored to your specific needs and to address your particular training needs.

Each programme will include two face-to-face workshops, the first one being an introductory session on the principles of the subject concerned and discussions/excersises on the general context and background. The second workshop will concentrate on developing practical skills and knowledge around implementing new working practices. Workshops will include a wide range of learning tools, including open and group discussion, problem-solving excersises, quizes, video, and case studies. Following each workshop, a series of exercises will be set, with supporting on-line resources, to assist in linking the learning to actual work-based issues and problems. Exercises will be assessed and practical, supportive feedback provided, as well as access to a tutor throughout the duration of the programme who is able to offer practical advice when needed.

But, I hear you saying, in these days of austerity, can we afford such a luxury? Well, I believe that training and learning programmes have to be affordable yet realistic in order to be sustainable. An introductory all-in price of £995 + VAT is therefore available for any bookings made before the end of September 2011.  This means that if you have 16 learners on a programme, the cost is just over £62 per person, which has to be good value for money!

Please feel free to contact me on 07986 246406 or for more information or to discuss your specific training needs.

David Wardle

More on Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions...

I have written here previously about how effective anti-social behaviour injunctions can be in dealing with individuals who make their neighbour's lives a misery. The example in the link shows that people can even be excluded from their own homes if their behaviour is serious enough to present a danger to people living nearby. This will come as no surprise to many people working for social landlords - many have discovered the effectiveness of this remedy - but I still discover too many organisations that seem to shy away from using injunctions for dealing with ASB. I am not too sure about the reasons for this - sometimes it appears to be reluctance of legal departments and a lack of knowledge about their use. Of course possession may still be appropriate for very serious cases, but do not offer protection to the community while cases are waiting to get to court. Injunctions can be used to provide this protection. So injunctions can be used either as a 'stand alone' remedy, and also in tandem with possession claims. For more information, advice etc, please feel free to contact me.

David Wardle

Tuesday, June 14

Mr Shapps and Tenant Panels

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today announced some (limited) government funding to train tenant panels to hold their respective housing landlords to account. On the face of it this is good news, but as ever, we need to delve a little deeper in order to gauge the true merits of this announcement. Clearly, any government funding towartds the training and development of tenants has to be welcomed. As someone who has spent many years working with tenants in raising their skills and knowledge so that they can take more of an active part in how services are provided, I believe that any money to develop this further has to be a good thing. Now I have to admit that I haven't yet seen the small print, but it may be that the devil will be in the detail. I hope that Mr Shapps will adhere to the governments mantra of localism and allow social landlords to deliver the training for their tenants in the way that fits their local needs. Any attempt to overly prescribe how the money is spent should be resisted. 

Other concerns have been raised about how tenant panels will be constituted. How will they be selected? What powers will they have? Will there be any legal basis for their power? Since Mr Shapps announced that the TSA was 'toast' there has been speculation about what would replace it as an effective regulator. Whilst we should not dismiss the idea of tenant scrutiny - in fact there are many advantages to this - we must also be sure that the scrutiny is genuine and does not let the poor performers off the hook. The TSA was becoming a sound regulator - let's not lose the good work that has been done by landlords and the TSA by jumping onto the tenant panel bandwagon without proper thought and careful planning for specific and tangible outcomes.

David Wardle