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Housing and Care 21

Case study: Housing & Care 21

Driving culture change at Housing & Care 21

Housing & Care 21 are the UK’s largest non-profit care provider and a national leader in providing innovative, affordable housing for older people. Their strong belief that later life should be happy and fulfilling, has lead to them supporting over 28,000 people across the UK with essential care and housing services.


In an increasingly commercial environment, and facing fierce competition for commissioner support, Housing & Care 21 needed more than ever to demonstrate their expertise and value, in order to remain a market leader. With a change in leadership at the top in 2013, the organisation embarked upon a step change in how they wanted to manage their services. Central to this was the desire to empower their managers and leaders to drive and manage the change.

It was against this backdrop, that South East Regional Director Mikkel Togsverd approached The Management Centre (=mc) to support a change of management culture within his region – to become regional leaders of this national ambition.

He saw there were three key challenges that needed to be addressed if his region was to move forward and spearhead this new organisational vision.

First, decision-making. Housing & Care 21’s culture was historically top down, command and control. This meant even quite straightforward decision-making tended to be escalated to the leadership team when it could – and should – have been dealt with at manager level. With many long-standing managers, who had always done things a certain way, Housing & Care 21 needed to introduce a more empowered approach and provide clarity among managers on what was ‘permissible’ in this new culture.

The second challenge, was the lack of proactivity from managers when dealing with customers and external stakeholders. The third was an inconsistency in how poor performance was being managed.

Tied with a general lack of confidence across the management group in the region, these challenges were limiting how far they could maintain an effective customer focus.

=mc’s Brief

The brief was to develop a programme which would both help combat these challenges, and empower and develop managers across the South East region.

Specifically the programme needed to help the development of:

  • effective communication skills
  • increased customer focus
  • ability to challenge and manage upwards
  • increased self awareness
  • increased confidence

What we did

Based on this brief, we identified some core elements the development programme would need to be successful and meet the challenges Housing & Care 21 were facing. These elements included:

  • Leadership and management skills
  • Influencing & negotiating skills
  • Increased emotional intelligence
  • The ability to develop people through coaching
  • Effective business planning
  • Managing priorities

=mc designed a nine-module programme including:

  • The Role of a Manager
  • Objective Setting & Prioritising
  • Influencing & Negotiating
  • Business Planning

Some training was open to all managers and some targeted at key levels and needs across the South East. So Influencing & Negotiating skills was open to all levels, whereas Business Planning was targeted to more senior managers.


Between March and December 2014, 138 managers from across the South East region took part in the programme.

All participants were given special support materials for each course they attended, designed to help them embed the learning following the programme. They were also all awarded with a certificate at the end of each module.

Feedback across the group has been hugely positive. With over 90% of attendees rating the programme as good or excellent.

Key themes of the feedback have been:

  • Managers felt more confident in their roles, with a greater understanding of best practice and what is expected of them
  • Managers felt they had learnt useful tools, techniques and theories they could now actively apply in their roles
  • Managers felt a much greater sense of self awareness – with many referencing how they were going to personally adapt their approach to be more effective
  • Managers felt it helped to create a sense of team across the region, with many feeding back that the links made with other managers had been hugely beneficial to supporting them in their roles as managers

“Already both the organisation and our residents are benefitting from a more positive, ‘can do’ approach, and we’re seeing a much higher level of engagement at all levels. I spoke to one of our residents, who was saying ‘I don’t know what you’ve done to my court manager, they are so much more sympathetic and communicative than ever before’. This just shows the impact the programme has made, not just on our managers, but also on our customers.”

Mikkel Togsverd, Regional Director

How to find out more

Several of the programmes that were tailored for Housing & Care 21 are also available as Public Training programmes throughout the year.

These include:

Or if you’d like to speak to us in more detail about your specific needs, email Yvette Gyles, Director or call +44(0)20 7978 1516.

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