Friday, 13 March 2015

Welcome To The North

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I spent a few interesting days this week up at the CIH Scotland conference at the SECC Glasgow. It always amazes me how similar the housing landscape is from both north and south, although there is limited cross-fertilisation. It surprised me too, how many Twitter followers buttonholed me and stopped for a chat about satisfaction with their housing suppliers and also where to look for quality real ales in town. So a cosmopolitan bunch then. Stephen Cook deserves special mention, the furthest anyone has travelled to canvas my vote for his CIH vice chair, & a chap with whom I have about 5 organisations and about 15 people in common.

As mentioned, similar constraints seem to be affecting Scotland as in the south, although in some areas, there’s some interesting things going on the north, that are only starting to be talked about seriously in England & Wales.

I sat in a very interesting session with Janine Barrett and Marion Gibbs, all about what's described in Scotland, as 'Housing Options'. Elements of this, could be loosely described as ‘Homelessness’, although the magic that hubs all over the north have added, under direction to do so from the regulator , is to consider the whole social/health care/well-being aspect too. Much is talked about in this area in England recently, but we seem slow to join the dots, moving to aggregate the two areas.

The new Scottish approach is refreshing as it puts the person presenting at the centre of the process, in terms of all their needs. I.E. Homelessness, mental health etc. Key to this is a ‘toolbox’ type method, not a process based one. It’s one that seeks also to change the hearts & minds of the housing staff involved and clearly needs to take root from the top of the housing organisations involved. The approach is very much a journey, not a simple destination.

Being a professional 'Mancunian', I am very interested how the proposals for DevoManc will play out, particularly if within the conurbation, health can be better & more aligned with (social & other) housing provision. I would like to see initiatives similar to the ones being constructed in Scotland via the hubs, to place the 'patient' / 'homeless person' presenting for any of those reasons, to be assessed for both. That way, we are more likely to see individuals getting the right care and being helped into a sustainable tenancy/home too.

I am pleased and a little excited to be frank, to be doing some work in the spring around the Housing Option Hubs north of the border, looking at how the toolbox method can be supported by IT & systems. I am very much looking forward to it and I think it’s a trick that we can pull off in the south, learning something very crucial from our more enlightened tartan clad neighbours in housing, in Scotland

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The Music - Welcome To The NorthThe Music - Welcome To The North.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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