4: The Bromford Group
The Bromford Group operates a Bromford Deal, in which tenancy is dependent on individuals taking part in some form of work, training or volunteering. As part of this deal individuals sign up to both a tenancy and a package of support designed around their own specific skills needs. These needs are assessed by the housing association’s Tenancy Ready programme, which requests information on a prospective tenant’s employment status, income and work history. Potential tenants also complete a self-assessment questionnaire covering a wide range of life skills, from cooking to setting up direct debits. Tenants are then placed onto one of three deals, each of which offers different levels of support. This assessment and tailoring is done to provide a more efficient use of resources but does have the issue of potentially missing vulnerable tenants if classified wrongly.
To give tenants the best chance of meeting their deal, a wide range of long-term support is offered. A skills coach works one-on-one with tenants to develop a plan setting out goals they must meet to be classed as fulfilling their deal. These goals can include training they need to undertake; volunteering to gain work experience and skills; or moving into paid work. All tenants are also automatically registered with Bromford connect, an online community that posts jobs, training and volunteering opportunities, including apprenticeships and six-month work placements with the Bromford Group. Jobs clubs and jobs fairs are also organised with the support of local employers, enabling residents to find out about local employment opportunities and the skills required for these jobs. The Bromford Group provides regular feedback and guidance to help those on the deal reach the agreed goals, and all are made aware at the time of signing up that if they don’t make sufficient effort to complete their Deal, their tenancy may not be renewed.
Initially the Deal was focused on new tenants, but is now being rolled out to existing tenants. Around 5,000 tenants are currently on the deal and so far 25 per cent have been helped into work, training or community volunteering in order to build up their skills levels.29