Respond's new approach to housing management

Respond's new approach to housing management

Design, Development, Implementation

Respond Housing Association


We worked with Respond Housing to co-design a new approach to housing management in line with the changing needs of the organisation and its tenants. This approach drew from international best practice, consultation with stakeholders and tailored service design tools.

"With a changing model of housing.... we recognised the urgent need to rethink our housing management delivery model."

Neil Bolton, Head of Housing at Respond

The Challenge

As Ireland’s leading housing association, Respond strives to create vibrant, socially integrated communities, delivering a range of support services for tenants. The organisation was concerned about the challenges that could emerge as they developed larger urban apartment blocks. They engaged CES to co-design a new approach to housing management that would be evidence-informed, recognise the unique characteristics of individual housing developments and meet the changing needs of tenants and their communities over time.

What we did

Understand the challenge

Our CES team, led by Project Specialist Andy Bray, began by reviewing tenancy management services in Ireland and internationally. Then, we carried out interviews and facilitated workshops with staff and tenants in Respond. We used tailored service design tools, including logic modelling and journey mapping, to understand their needs and concerns.

Co-design the new service

“It became clear that we needed to design our services to meet the individual and changing needs of each development over time and empowering our frontline teams to work with the local communities and stakeholders to support the development and maintenance of vibrant, thriving communities.”

Neil Bolton, Head of Housing at Respond

Based on our discovery phase, the team identified core components of Respond’s service delivery that worked well and proved challenging, as well as capturing staff and tenants’ vision for the new service design. Listening to the evidence allowed us to get to the heart of the problem. We began to think about prevention and how it could help Respond to engage with tenants across all services, from childcare to family homeless supports, in a more effective way.  

Together, we co-designed a new approach to service delivery - ‘A National Service with a Local Response’.

Respond’s new service design focuses on simplifying decision-making chains and supporting staff to tackle the root causes of issues in each individual community. Teams working on the ground are equipped to independently solve problems and adapt quickly to their own tenants’ needs.  At the same time, all staff work under an aligned national ethos - ‘The Respond Way’. In making better decisions, local teams receive guidance as part of a learning organisation where responsibility is shared and collaboration is encouraged.

Support progress

Throughout the whole process, we built and sustained a trusting relationship with the housing body. Andy and the team checked in regularly with project leaders from Respond and a diverse group of staff to advise progress. We continue to provide support as Respond implements the new service design.

The Impact

The partnership approach to this project meant that everyone impacted by change actively informed the process and the final service design from beginning to end. This helped Respond to prepare for implementation. There is ownership of the design across the organisation, while tenants are placed at the centre of service delivery.  

Project Resources

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The Team

Our team, led by Project Specialist Andy Bray, brought together a wide range of skills, including research, service design and development, implementation, and translating evidence into practice. Co-design and partnership were key to how the project team engaged with the Respond team.  

Andrew Bray

Senior Project Specialist - Implementation

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