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Goodbye from Diane French

Friday, 10 September 2021

On 17 September I will be leaving my role as CEO of Reside and wishing all our staff, tenants and partners well as the organisation merges with Progress Housing Group. A merger I was instrumental in initiating because I believe good supported housing providers need strength and scale to stand up to the pressures of the time; not least a crisis of confidence as financially motivated players enter the market.

I have spent my career working in the public and not-for-profit arena often with groups of people marginalised by society. I have often straddled the social care and housing sectors and still feel frustrated by how difficult it sometimes is to join things up. Over 20 years ago I led a multi-agency commissioning team in the area of drug misuse and we were all talking about partnerships as an innovative solution; now 20 years on integrated care systems have the same badge. Joined-up working is important so we should keep working at it, whether top down structural reform is the way to make it happen I remain to be convinced.

In my years of experience the times when we have had breakthroughs is when people on the ground are empowered to make decisions in response to person-centred needs assessment and have adapted the system to meet these needs. If we could really embed a culture where those working on the ground are empowered to make a difference and for money to follow – I don’t believe we would have an unmanageable financial burden – people are often brilliant at making money stretch – they do understand the value of scarce resources – and just maybe we would also avert a staffing crisis where people end up exhausted and frustrated by a system which so often undervalues their contributions.

One of the things I have loved about working for Reside is that so much of what we do starts with the person and their needs and works forward from that. Long may that continue!

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