Laying foundations in social housing


25 Oct 2017

Laying foundations in social housing

As a new consultant specialising in social housing, it’s important I try and understand a little bit more about the roles I recruit to. Or, at least, the inside of a housing association. So I thought, what better way than to actually visit one?

I contacted Ian Wardle, CEO of Thirteen Group, who kindly agreed to let me shadow his team for a couple of days. Paul Jenkins, Director of Asset Management and Sustainability, took me under his wing, and showed me around their Quayside offices. I even got to ‘meet’ the pack of pinnipeds that have taken up residency in the Quay - there aren’t many offices where you can see seals from your desk.

It was great to actually see the buildings and rooms at the initial design stage. I don’t think I fully appreciated just how much is done internally in that respect. The team at Thirteen were also kind enough to let me attend a procurement meeting – which has helped me see how much goes into ensuring the delivery of materials for a house build, as well as the actual builds themselves. We all know that things have timescales that need to be met, but – sometimes - I don’t think you truly comprehend what’s involved until you see it for yourself.

However, probably the bit that intrigued me the most – and primarily because it was 100% new to me - was the GIS system. I had the pleasure of sitting with their GIS Officer, Rebecca, who explained how it all works and what it highlights. I have to say, it really is a fantastic bit of software.

Now, I’m not claiming to suddenly be a pro. But I do have a better understanding of how things work. I’m very grateful to Ian and Paul for giving up their time, and also for allowing me to shadow their teams. It was great to get an insight into how Paul’s team works so well together – from the Asset Managers and Designers to the Compliance Manager and others across the wider business. It really was brilliant to see such a joined up approach in fantastic offices.

Being able to go on a client’s site for a couple days also shows that Penna understands how vital it is that recruiters get to grips with their markets. And it isn’t just me who really wants to understand their sector – it’s everyone at Penna. We know the importance of company values, and ensuring the right people are chosen for your organisation.

That’s why Penna truly partners with clients to offer all recruitment solutions. Not only can we help you recruit at every level, we also have a dedicated interim team to help fill the gaps for more senior roles. But that’s not all. We can work very closely with organisations to get their employee value propositions (EVPs) where they should be – utilising website design and internal branding to attract the right people.

To us, no recruitment problem is too big or too small.

For more information, please contact Ruth Lane on 0203 751 3390 or