We have been commissioned by Wheatley Group, a major provider of social housing, care and other services in Scotland*, to explore how they can engage better with their customers – facilitating customers to shape the services they receive. The Chartered Institute of Housing are also working with us on this project to ensure our learnings are spread into the wider housing sector.

We started by carrying out research with staff and customers to investigate the state of current practice. We coupled this with research into international examples of good engagement that could inspire new practices within Wheatley. From this we put forward some broad avenues that Wheatley might want to explore.

Working with participants at the international conference in Edinburgh

Working with participants at the international conference in Edinburgh.

We then presented this research at an international conference in Edinburgh which we designed and helped run. This event brought together Wheatley staff and customers to work with engagement experts from around the world. The format used allowedWheatley staff and customers to learn from our experts and explore in workshops how new approaches could be used.

The findings from this will be taken to the next stages of the project: reflected on at a synthesis day with our partners within Wheatley to decide what approaches Wheatley should explore further. These will then be taken forward through a test and learn phase that we will run. The findings from this whole project will then be presented in a final public report, which we hope to be of relevance beyond Wheatley to the housing sector in general. We hope this project will also lead to lasting improvements in engagement within Wheatley.

For more information about this project contact Niamh on: Niamh@demsoc.org  You can also see a press release from Wheatley Group about this project.

*Wheatley Group are made up of social housing providers, a care agency, a property management service, private rentals, and foundation that invests in improving life opportunities within disadvantaged communities. They provide homes and service to over 200,000 people across Central Scotland.

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