My journey to getting involved

Chris Blackburn tells us about his experience as an involved customer:

“I’ve been asked to write a little on my journey as an involved customer through to my current position on the Board of NCHA.

“How – pure chance! Initially, I got asked to attend a local NCHA event. I said yes, and went to a few customer panel meetings and was hooked. It was surprising, to me at least, how much lived experience and common sense qualified me to take part, although I took every training opportunity I could lay my hands on to expand my knowledge and understanding of the issues being discussed.

“After a few years I was sitting as Chair of the Collective Panel. From there I was encouraged to apply when a Board vacancy came up, and I’ve been on the Board for four years now.

“Why? Well why wouldn’t you? It’s about your home and the services the landlord provides. Having lived for much of my life in private rented accommodation it was a bit of a culture shock having a landlord who cared about more than taking my money, and welcomed my input.

“Obviously, not everyone has the time to get as deep as I have into the customer involvement scene, but there are so many opportunities to get involved, from just providing feedback, suggestions and complaints (all very useful!), to keeping an eye on things in your area, to more formal involvement at the operational level with the customer panels.

“Now there are really exciting opportunities at the strategic level with the new Customer Committee, which will have a major say in how customer facing services are delivered going forward.”