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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

Thursday, July 4

Developing Skills for Housing Officers

As a trainer, I am often asked to deliver courses for front-line staff who deal with tenants and other customers on a daily basis. Whether these are called housing officers, neighbourhood officers, or tenancy officers, or something else is immaterial. They all do a very difficult job in an increasingly difficult environment. Social housing is changing and all front-line staff need to be equipped with the skills necessary to enable them to do their job. These are sometimes call inter-personal skills or 'soft skills'. This does not mean that they are not important. Housing officers often need to deal with tenants who are distressed, angry, upset, confused, and aggressive. These situations require an ability to maintain a calm and confident manner, which does not lead to escalation of problems. I know from experience that this can easier said than done, but taking positive steps to develop these skills is clearly a step in the right direction.

In the not too distant past, being a housing officer was a relatively simple task of making sure the rent arrears was controlled, vacant properties were turned around quickly, and estates were well maintained. I recall from my days as a housing officer that although the job did have its difficulties, in the main these were simpler times. Today, the environment is very different. Welfare reform is certainly having an effect on the roles and responsibilities of the majority of housing officers. Often pushed into a role which is more enforcement based, housing officers have to use a wide range of skills in order to achieve results that are required by their organisations and also by their tenants.

Learning4Housing is responding to this changing environment by offering a new suite of training courses aimed at front-line housing staff - and this will include those who deal with the public by telephone as well as face-to-face. This training is designed to address those skills which have been identified as being particularly important in today's housing world. Skills around effective communication, especially active listening and questioning skills, as well as developing interviewing skills, negotiation skills, and the area around dealing with 'difficult situations' using assertiveness and effective non-verbal communication.

Courses are available for you to choose in a flexible way. Only you know the priorities for your organisations and for your staff. Learning4Housing is able to fit with your requirements and your needs. This might be arranging full day training sessions on one or two of the above subject areas, or providing refresher courses which cover three or four of the topics over one day. The choice is yours. Learning4Housing's unique 'pick and mix' approach is a tried and tested way of delivering training. With training budgets under pressure, you are able to select appropriate training to match your resources. We are happy to talk to you about your specific needs and to design a programme which meets your needs.

All my training is designed with the learner in mind. Practical exercises and group discussions, along with case studies and actual examples are used to give variety and interest to the training. Visual aids, including video, are used where appropriate, together with that all-important injection of fun into the proceedings!

If you find any of the above interesting and would like to find out more, please call David on 07986 246406 or email at to discuss how we can help your housing officers to help your tenants! 

Remember, a skilled housing officer is an effective housing officer!

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