Bonus episode Tackling climate change together: The importance of customer engagement
In this episode of Raising the roof, we look at how we get customers on board with retrofitting and take them with us on the journey to net-zero.
Our CEO and host Nick Atkin is joined by Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), Andy Paice, Tenants’ Climate Jury Lead at Shared Future CIC, and Terry Tasker, Yorkshire Housing customer and NHC Tenants’ Climate Jury member.
Commenting on the wider learning to come out of the Tenants’ Climate Jury, Andy says: “I think maybe it’s sort of a recognition that it is really worthwhile to invest in a [thorough consultation]. Quite often consultations are done in one or two meetings, they last a couple of hours and a few comments are bandied about. But, are those consultations taking place in an environment where, [firstly] tenants/customers are being listened to properly? Secondly, is there enough information?” He goes on to say: “This [the Tenants’ Climate Jury] is about making sure people are really well informed … and I think this reflects in the quality of understanding that comes out of it [and] the quality of recommendations … I think it’s been a learning curve for the housing sector in that respect.”
Nick asks Terry about the messaging landlords and suppliers should share with customers ahead of retrofitting. Terry replies: “It’s back to education and communication. I will honestly admit that [the jury] is the first time I’d heard the term ‘retrofit’ … I think having [it] explained to us and the consequences of housing being retrofitted and the impact it would have on our homes – I keep specifying that it is our homes – was very, very interesting.”
Tracy thinks we should be ambitious when it comes to supporting customers to adapt to retrofitting: “I feel as a sector we should maybe be more ambitious about what our sector spend could influence the market to do.” She continues “I think maybe we need to be pushing the supply chain and manufacturers to be a bit more imaginative about the design of some of these products so that they are more intuitive and they are more customer-friendly … We’re going to be spending billions on this. So, I think we shouldn’t just accept what’s rolling off the production line at the moment necessarily. But we should be ambitious for the future and think [about] what it is that the customer’s needs and work around that.”
Links to resources mentioned in this episode:
About the host
Nick Atkin, CEO at Yorkshire Housing
Born and brought up in Doncaster he joined Yorkshire Housing in 2019. Since this time, he’s delivered transformational change throughout the business to meet the future opportunities and challenges.
About the guests
Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC)
Tracy has worked at the NHC for almost 16 years. She’s also an Independent Board Member of The Gateshead Housing Company and a Trustee of Age UK North Tyneside.
Tracy is passionate about connecting local authorities and social housing providers across the North of England. She’s been instrumental in ensuring that the NHC offers its members products and services which help improve their customer offer.
About the guests
Andy Paice, Tenants' Climate Jury Lead at Shared Future CIC
Andy works with UK participation organisations, including Shared Future CIC, which helped to facilitate the Tenants’ Climate Jury. In his role, he leads participatory forums to help with building community and making local and national democracy more inclusive and fair.
About the guests
Terry Tasker, Yorkshire Housing customer and NHC Tenants' Climate Jury member
Terry has been a Yorkshire Housing customer for several years. She’s always had a passion for influencing change and was involved in the year of the disabled in 1981, which led to the enactment of the Disability Act.
Earlier this year she joined the NHC Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury alongside 29 other social housing tenants from across the North of England (including five from Yorkshire Housing).
As part of the Jury, Terry worked over 30 hours, and ten weeks, to create a set of recommendations for the sector on “how can tenants, social housing providers, and others work together to tackle climate change in our homes and neighbourhoods?”