Once you have identified those housing organisations that are keen to develop their work relating to health and wellbeing, you will need to start a conversation with them. There are many ways into conversations about the potential for working more closely and many ways to structure the discussions. Here are some ideas for things to do and things to avoid doing.
Things you could do to start the conversation
- Do use this website to get a better understanding of housing organisations and ways in which they might be able to work with you on health and wellbeing
- Do look at what others have done and then ask your local housing organisations if they can do something similar
- Do read up one the latest directives relating to housing in the Care Act 2014, NICE guidance on cold homes and the Memorandum of Understanding to support joint action on improving health through the home
- Do focus the initial conversations and tell them in advance what it is you would like to focus on.
- Do explain your top 3 priorities and ask whether and how they think they can help
- Do pose specific questions but don’t expect an answer straight away
- Do be open to exploring ideas from them that you hadn’t thought of and that might take a different approach from how you have been thinking
- Do be prepared to co-create solutions with them over a period of time
- Do be prepared to work with them to generate robust evidence that you will be persuaded by and to collect meaningful data to evidence the success (or otherwise) of what they do
- Do respect the fact that there will be limitations to what they can do
- Do ask NHS Alliance to facilitate a workshop with health and housing partners to explore common ground and develop some solutions together
Things you should avoid
- Don’t expect housing organisations to have ready-made solutions to your problems
- Don’t be put off if they use unfamiliar language or if they start talking about things in ways that you don’t immediately understand
- Don’t expect them to provide a robust evidence base to persuade you
- Don’t close down the conversation just because things are left open-ended – arrange another meeting with more specific goals
- Don’t describe your priorities in terms of specific morbidities. If you do, then explain the significance and background of that particular illness. For example, describe the reasons for the high incidence of diabetes in your locality and open up a discussion about measures that might be taken to prevent people from developing the disorder.