Last Updated on July 1, 2015
Category: All, Community Support, Customer Engagement, Events, Social Housing

The annual Chartered Institute of Housing Conference was held in Manchester this year, and saw hundreds of delegates from across the country networking and taking part in discussions, ‘think tanks’ and fringe events.

One of the main themes of this year’s conference was ‘Health & Social Care’. Three days of keynote speeches and discussions proved popular with delegates and sought to destroy myths around social housing, as well as addressing new government policy and current best practice techniques for ensuring high quality health and social care for tenants.

Scrutiny Live, a national panel of tenant scrutineers, held a fringe event which resulted in standing room only due to its popularity. Scrutiny Live are one of the foremost tenant engagement groups who consistently demonstrate the excellent results that can be achieved with active resident involvement. The discussion examined the impact of new government policy upon social housing and its tenants. The group said,

“We tenants need to be part of the debate about the future of social housing and we want to get to grips with what’s being said.”

Here at Arena Partnership we followed the event closely, interacting throughout via social media; a great way to take part in the conference on a virtual platform. Many of the participants created their own evaluation of the conference – click on the links below to read a selection of Storifys that were created both during and after the event, along with some interesting photos:

Social Value

A well-attended Think Tank was held by Big Society Capital exploring social value; namely the best ways to deliver and measure its impact.

We have created our own ‘5 Minute Guide to Social Value’, available to download here .

Please also take a look at our infographic (below) for a quick and easy way to see how important social value is in today’s society.

Social Value Infographic


Myth Busting

Another key theme of the fringe was ‘myth busting’, currently being addressed by Inside Housing’s ‘Housing Benefits’ campaign . The campaign’s three-pronged approach is working to:

  • Deliver a series of housing prospectuses to government departments detailing the impact the sector has on health, crime, employment and the wider economy
  • Produce a myth-busting toolkit that providers can use to challenge misconceptions about their work and their tenants
  • Create an online resource to help readers showcase the work they are delivering locally in order to influence local authorities and MPs after the 2015 election campaign.

The campaign aims to tackle social housing’s image problem, promoting the largely unknown positive work of social landlords and the prevalence of tenant engagement, in conjunction with busting myths about social housing and its tenants. Inside Housing held an interactive session at the conference with a series of activities where delegates learnt what they could do to challenge stereotypes.

Ten common myths portrayed by the media include:

  1. Housing associations are unaccountable.
  2. Social tenants are subsidised by the taxpayer.
  3. All homeless people sleep on the streets.
  4. Lots of rich people are living in social housing.
  5. Social housing goes to single mums.
  6. Housing Chief Executives are hypocritical fat cats.
  7. House builders are concreting over the countryside.
  8. Benefit fraud takes up a large chunk of the welfare bill.
  9. Immigrants are taking social housing.
  10. Everyone receiving housing benefit is unemployed.

Each of these myths can be explored at a deeper level, and successfully ‘busted’. The majority are lazy shorthand stereotypes that are sadly becoming increasingly common across all types of media. Many people are unaware of the drive toward resident involvement and the Social Value Act (2012), and the desire for sensationalist headlines has led to the phenomenon of ‘poverty porn’. The conference highlighted just how important it is that this situation is addressed, challenged and reversed.

To find out how Arena Partnership’s TP Tracker can help you to ensure you are achieving the best possible social value for your customers, please call us on 01603 813932 or e-mail us at where we will be able to discuss a software package tailor-made to your needs.

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*Source: (June 2015)