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Reaction to Dispatches shows the sector is divided and losing focus



This blog post first appeared as a comment piece in Inside Housing.

Have you ever seen a football team concede a goal then drop their heads and begin to argue amongst themselves? It normally never turns out well does it?

If a team allows itself to go down that path, it’s generally the end of the game.

Well motivated, focused and driven teams not only absorb a robust challenge but also – the really great ones anyway – come back reinvigorated.

They have a united purpose and that’s more important than what might have gone wrong momentarily.

The recent Dispatches programme is, in my opinion, yet another goal suffered against team housing association.

We’re not perfect as a sector, of course we’re not, fair criticism of issues like excessive executive pay-offs have to be accepted as damaging and wrong.

But from what I saw on social media straight afterwards, team housing association is now well and truly losing focus; with as many commentators joining in with the bashing of the sector as those calling for a more nuanced thoughtful assessment.

Sadly, we did not rise above Channel 4’s bad line call to focus on the bigger challenge – on our common purpose.

At a time where the sector has never been more important to society, divisions are becoming apparent.

There are tensions split broadly along the lines of those who liked the simplicity of the old model and hark back to the good old days – including voices interviewed by Dispatches – against those actually doing the work, pragmatically trying to keep the show on the road and still delivering within the new rules and constraints.

I’ve always been incredibly impressed by the diversity of the sector and the various ways we all go about trying to fulfil our social purpose.

Never have I doubted the authenticity of the vast majority of those who work within it, 99.9% of our sector knows our social purpose, are here because of it and are driven by it.

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