Back in September 2018, following the publication of the Housing Green Paper, the Lab hosted a Trust and Accountability workshop based on the provocation: Are satisfaction league tables the answer or do we need a Tripadvisor or Glassdoor equivalent for housing across all tenures?
We were joined in the workshop by some Bromford colleagues and tenants, some non-Bromford colleagues and tenants and a representative from the NHF. The session provided us with some great insight and together we were able to identify some important principles for helping to shape this work moving forward: redistribution of power, transparency, collaboration, participation, accountability and culture.
Both the workshop and the twitter chat we hosted on the same topic gave us lots of food for thought which has helped us further develop our thinking over the intervening months.
We recently hosted a second workshop with key internal stakeholders in order to start to map out how best to progress this work and build upon what we have learned so far. Whilst the TripAdvisor scenario was useful as an initial provocation, what we have come to believe is that platforms of this type are arguably most effective when instigated and managed by customers themselves. Whilst we are happy to support and encourage this where we can, we think a better focus for us would be to think about this work less in terms of a ratings platform and more in the broader terms of changing the relationship between us and and our customers, focusing on how we might create a culture of equal partnerships.
TripAdvisor and Glass Door already exist. We shouldn’t get involved in developing/running these types of group/platform directly. However, we should be supportive of tenant lead groups/networks who do;
We should focus more on developing the relationship between citizens and their community than ‘pumping up’ a binary relationship between the tenant and HA;
We should focus more on connecting people than obtaining ‘feedback’ from them. Connecting is ultimately more powerful;
Power is about flattening hierarchy, it's about people and relationships. Developing our coaching culture is important.
We should look at ways to gather insights from colleagues in the field by developing informal qualitative feedback tools.
One of the best opportunities for us to do this is in starting to join up some of the work we already do at Bromford.
Over the coming months we want to work with colleagues and customers to explore how we might join up existing networks such as our customer communities influence network, locality influence networks, Facebook groups, feedback service and external influence networks whilst at the same time developing our coaching culture and approach to co-design and innovation. We hope that by doing this we can start to unlock the tacit knowledge held within our communities to uncover rich insights which will ultimately lead to better designed policy, products and services and build trust and accountability between Bromford and our customers. Changing the way we involve customers by giving them a new type of role in how we design policy, products and services will be key to achieving these aims, so we’re starting to scope out a concept for ‘living labs’ which will provide us with a space for learning in which customers play a central role.
We’ll be sharing more as our work progresses, so keep an eye on the blog for updates. You can also follow progress against this work by checking in on the ‘building trust between Bromford and our customers’ card on our Exploration Pipeline.