Phoney ‘resident involvement.’ And hypocritical ‘customer experience.’
HARA members picketed two housing associations conferences on ‘customer experience’ on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th February. One was in Islington, the other in the City. Both in plush venues paid for by residents.
The company which owns Inside Housing (the industry’s trade magazine) put on one conference and the National Housing Federation put on the other; it was a grubby turf war to hoover up resident’s money for useless – but profitable – conferences. Tickets were from £350 up to £580.
Out of the 69 or so speakers on the websites of the organisers of the two conferences we counted only four resident speakers. None of these ‘resident speakers’ actually took the time to come to speak to us outside the conferences!
While housing association officers walked into the conferences – some trying to avoid us – we gave out leaflets and discussed the issues with those who would speak to us.
Many were privately sympathetic. But not one said they would stand up at the conference and demand directly elected residents on boards and committee of governance.
Housing Associations are wedded to the the whole bogus system for pretending that residents ‘have a voice’ in housing associations. They don’t – and these conferences with senior executives talking about ‘customer experience’ and ‘resident involvement’ really showed up the housing association movement for the morally bankrupt movement that it has become.
This is key issue for housing association residents it is about democracy and accountability. We don’t want any more ‘residents representatives’ selected by the management.
No matter who much HAs tweak it, this is no an accountable system. Major issues that affect all housing associations residents – tenants, shared owners and leaseholders – are ignored.
As we said to housing associations staff going into the conference: sorting out ‘customer experience’ is really simple:
Stop phoney ‘resident involvement’ schemes. We want directly elected residents on Boards and Committees – not ‘residents representatives’ who are ‘selected’ by management!
Stop exploiting residents by impossible – and rapidly rising – ‘affordable’ and ‘market’ rents and soaring service charges which are destroying people’s lives!
Provide decent repairs/maintenance services. Centralised private contractors and call centres create misery for thousands of residents!
Stop selling social rent homes and start building them – not out-of-reach homes which don’t solve the housing crisis!
That is how you improve ‘customer experience.’