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Thursday, 19 December 2019

I have spent most of my career working in and around public health in some form; whether in housing, health or social care; and almost all of that time I have worked specifically with marginalised groups. With people who find it harder than most to get their voice heard or the services they need.

This week in Reside I ran a quick learning session on partnership working. We talked about listening, finding win:win solutions, relationship building and the absolutely fundamental issue of communication, and clarity of expectations and processes. Good partnerships happen, not when we pretend we all have exactly the same goals, but when we understand what everyone needs and wants from working together and agree to share goals.

As I come to the end of 2019 and reflect on the year that has passed, communication is a theme at every level:

  • Disagreement has been a big theme within our political system, with an election fought, in part, on what it means to listen to the voices of the people. Whatever our personal positions, there is a clear message about communication, listening and feeling heard.
  •  Communication was a theme in our staff survey results, and we are thinking about how we communicate better between teams, with staff that are out of the office base most of the time, and how we share information as managers.
  • We have been an early adopter of ‘Together with Tenants’ and done a lot of work on how we communicate with tenants collectively and as individuals, and how we create opportunities to listen to tenants and elicit their voices. We have thought a lot about how we translate messages into Easy Read and Makaton without alienating those of our tenants that don’t need this.

It is easy these days to disseminate information – we are all bombarded, all day long – via social media and electronic means. It is a much higher standard to really communicate. Communication is about creating a shared understanding of meaning. I’m glad therefore to reinforce our value statements in Reside – they are all about communication, Be collaborative, Focus on the Person, Be Responsive, and I hope they will keep informing all that we do to constantly improve Reside in 2020.

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