The Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) annual conference is a national event for housing associations, local authorities, and associated organisations. It brings the housing sector together to look at key issues, build partnerships and share good practice.

One of our resident scrutiny panel members, Teresa Godden-O’Callaghan was invited to speak at the conference this year, alongside Helen Charles, TCH’s Head of Tenancy Sustainment and Consumer Regulation. The pair sat on a panel discussion entitled:  ‘Tackling Stigma: Are we making progress?’

Helen explains: “I was contacted by CIH and asked to speak at the Housing conference as part of the panel discussion. More importantly they wanted to hear the resident perspective. Teresa kindly agreed to juggle her work commitments and come along.”

Teresa says:

“I really enjoyed the conference and was happy to be invited to talk, even though it was my first time public speaking, I felt at ease and welcome by everyone.

I think one of the things I achieved personally from the conference was I saw that people were interested in what we had to say and were in agreement that things are changing slowly but a lot more needs to be done. We started the ball rolling and I am looking forward to our next scrutiny project and being able to speak to TCH staff to hear their views and opinions.”

The best bit for me was that there were many like-minded people at the conference who wanted to listen to what I had to say as a resident. I’ve experienced stigma myself and hope I can help TCH effect change by talking about it openly and raising the profile of this important issue in future”.

Helen explained the background to the invite:

“Last year we contributed a case study to a CIH/See the Person publication- ‘It’s Not Ok’- a guide to tackling stigma in social housing’

We talked about how TCH is trying to make sure that residents’ views are always considered when we’re designing, reviewing, and delivering our services. We’re looking at the whole culture of the organisation to make sure that our communication with residents is always clear and respectful.

The panel at the conference was chaired by CIH, there were four panel members who each spoke about how they were involved in addressing stigma followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience.

Helen says:

“Teresa was a fantastic advocate for TCH, speaking really positively about the Scrutiny Panel and how they have real influence in shaping services. She got lots of positive feedback from conference delegates afterwards. Teresa spoke about the current Scrutiny Panel review of the resident voice and how it will be looking at training and induction of staff to make sure that residents’ views are used to improve those processes and see how residents can be more involved.

We want to work with the panel to make sure that all staff coming into TCH clearly understand their customers and demonstrate the TCH values from the start.”

Stuart Ilsley, TCH’s Head of Transformation, was part of another conference panel discussing ‘The workplace of the future’. This looked at what we have learnt from working differently through the pandemic and how this will be used to improve future ways of working.