Citizens have found their voice: A wake-up call to respect and advocate for those you represent.
One prominent housing leader when talking of our relationship with government, spoke of issues falling into three areas; those important to us but not to government, ones we can agree on, and ones important to government but not to us.
The problem is that we don’t see enough clarity of issues into these areas and particularly a robust stance over the areas we disagree on. Our focus now, more importantly than ever, after the clear voting by millions on the EU referendum, is to articulate the views of our customers and not, as the politicians have done, insert a ‘We know best’ approach, despite the strong public opinion. Since the outcome of the vote was announced and in the subsequent coverage, more and more people are realising that they can stand up and voice their concern over matters that have a direct impact on them and are not what they perceived they were voting for at the last election.
Successive governments have largely ignored the brewing discontent that has now consolidated into a grassroots revolt against the perceived establishment, and that this could easily be seen as a reflection of true feelings that cannot be articulated in a normal ‘first past the post’ election system.
We have unwittingly been complicit in this as a sector by complying with recent policy changes that have had not only a significant and negative impact on our customers, but also on registered providers across the board. Are we to compound this further with meagre acceptance of issues that are important to our customers such as mergers, where the power and influence of the local community is lost in the commercial corporate world?
If we don’t rise to the challenge and get some backbone, accepting that there may be some personal exposure, we are no better than the politicians who our public are turning on.