A day in the life of… a Neighbourhood Officer

Sam Wilson, November 18, 2014

Working as a Neighbourhood Officer is great, the company I work for in central Leeds is relatively small compared to many (we manage around 5,000 properties) and I like this as it allows us to do more for our tenants than most and add a genuinely personal touch.

To try and describe a typical day would be much too difficult as one of the things I really like about this job is that no 2 days are ever the same, one day I’ll be out inspecting properties, another I’ll be interviewing families who have applied for accommodation and others will just be an office day processing all the paperwork that comes with all my other duties.

The easiest way to break it down is by the 3 main components of my job:
• Lettings and Allocations
• Estate Management
• Community Development

As with any job, each component has it’s own individual challenges and rewards.

Lettings and Allocations really is what it says on the tin, we get hundreds of applications for the properties we have and so have to work to very clear criteria when deciding on who our properties are let to. I review applications for the properties that I manage and decide who amongst the applicants best fit the criteria. The criteria we work to will often be based around the number of people in the group (with so much demand for housing, the last thing we want is bedrooms going unused) but there are other factors as well.

I will then interview a select group and decide on who to allocate the property to. There is a great deal of satisfaction in helping a family who really need a new home find one, although it is obviously difficult when it comes to disappointing unsuccessful applicants. I also take a great amount of gratification in pointing people towards support and employment opportunities that will help them in the future.

Estate Management involves regular inspections of the properties that I manage as well as the area around it. My priority is always to ensure that our residents have the highest standard of living that is possible, or at least within our control. On my inspections I keep an eye out for graffiti or other forms of vandalism in the local area and then any issues with the properties whether they be structural, electrical, plumbing issues etc. In many situations it will be a case of referring any suspected issues to a specialist.

I also respond to any enquiries, complaints and grievances that arise whether they are raised by my residents or regarding my residents. These range from issues that they might find with the property to complaints regarding anti-social behaviour and everything in between. This is an essential part of my role as we take great pride in the accommodation that we provide and maintaining the high standards we have is a major priority.

I also work closely with our Community Development team to help organise events and projects specifically aimed at improving our neighbourhoods and building community cohesion. These events vary in size and target audience but are all based around the needs of the neighbourhood in question.

This part of the job is incredibly rewarding, as there is nothing quite like seeing all the members of a community that you work closely with all come together and enjoy an event. You can then see the positive effects as community spirit builds in that area.

There is no denying that this job is tough, there are incredibly stressful days and you can find yourself faced with challenging behaviour which requires you to be reactive and think quickly on your feet. The rewards, however, hugely outweigh the stress and there are plenty of them. I would recommend this profession to anyone who wants to make a real difference to the lives of those in need of help and don’t want to be stuck to a desk day after day.