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Lessons Learned Lectures - PSL Homes Transfer Recording

04 May 2021

Network’s new initiative – Lessons Learned Lectures kicked off with our first session last month. These are a monthly set-piece presentation and open discussion on a specific experience or piece of work that is felt to offer wider lessons to the organisation.

In line with our commitment to being transparent by default, we are looking to maximise the openness in which we carry out this learning and will invite colleagues from across the organisation, board and committee members, and Resident Panel members to attend. Over time attendance will be open to all residents.

We’ll also post a recording of each lecture, the presentation slides, and key learning points on our website.

The theme of the first session was the transfer of our Private Sector Leased (PSL) Homes and it was hosted by Jamie Ratcliff, Executive Director of People & Partnership. You can now watch the video recording below!

Outline of what happened

Network Homes had a significant portfolio of Private Sector Leased (PSL) homes. These were homes leased from private landlords (usually for between three and seven years) to provide temporary (or not-so-temporary) homes for families who had experienced homelessness. The families were nominated by London Borough partners. In January 2018 the Network Homes Board decided to exit PSL business primarily due to complexity of operation, risk, and impact on margin.

Over the next two years, there were abortive transfers to a number of different organisations before transfers were finally pursued with London Boroughs. This caused significant disruption to the colleagues working in this area, many of whom would transfer to the organisation that took over the majority of the homes through a transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) transfer.

In January 2020 there was a technical breach of Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard due to incomplete wording in a consultation letter to 16 tenants.  We provided an effective remedy and notified the Regulator of Social Housing, who suggested no additional action. The final transfer was completed in August 2020 and in the end, the homes were protected for use by the families living in them for a longer period and the employment of colleagues was also protected. Transferring colleagues did not have a smooth or happy experience and this should be something we learn from to try and do better in the future.

Lessons learned

There were lessons learned from the process in terms of how we maintain a clear focus on people (resident and our colleagues), the importance of clear, consistent, and repeated communication, project management and focus on regulatory standards.

Next steps

We're placing a significant effort this year on connecting the work of all colleagues to our residents, which is a key part of our ‘immediate response’ project (which aims to improve responsiveness to all communication and training activity). We'll also apply these lessons to future consultations.

With much less face-to-face contact in the last year, Network is focusing colleague activity on reconnection, recognising that our internal relationships are really important. Where there are business changes, we will ensure Information and Consultation Committee representatives are fully informed.

We are bringing in a new corporate approach to project management which ensures proper process and oversight but not too much bureaucracy. This recognises that communication can never be too good, the need to fully scope requirements early on, and the importance of handovers. We will consider a skills and experience database within the organisation to support.

We've held Social Housing White paper briefings with all colleagues and we will build on these as regulatory standards and the way in which they are applied.

We'll review our contracts of employment and HR policies for consistency, clarity, and certainty.

Recording

You can watch our first session recording below and access the presentation slides here!

Check out our other Lessons Learned Lecture sessions below!

Lessons Learned Lectures - ASB 

Lessons Learned Lectures - Scrutiny Reviews