In the summer of 2017, Boris Worrall, the Rooftop Group Chief Executive, sat across a table at St. Mary's in Gloucester, to meet a handful of our customers in Young People's Services.

The plan was to listen to their stories; giving them an opportunity to share openly about their experiences and the circumstances that led to them living in supported housing.

Boris listened actively, questioned empathetically, and allowed time for our customers to express something of what it’s like to be a young person living apart from family.

One thing that we discussed was our resident 'House Rules'. Our young customers had some strong views… which they communicated very “diplomatically”.

Some felt the rules were too rigid, too complicated, and there were just too many of them. We agreed that we'd look at how we could make changes, for them, and for us.

It wasn’t easy.

We held discussions with customers from across the different schemes, inviting them to contribute towards the changes that were needed. We then involved colleagues in the process, asking them to make suggestions, to make improvements.

The great thing was that we didn’t just get a list of House Rules, we got something much more useful; a list of what our customers considered as appropriate behaviour from us!

We now have the Good Team Manners Guide.

The process took time - our efforts weren’t completed until just before Christmas - but sometimes it takes time to do the important work of building trust and empowering customers; especially our young people.

Because we have guides for our behaviour and the behaviour of our customers we can have adult conversations. Because it’s transparent we don’t move the goal posts and act in an inconsistent way. The customers for our Young People's Service need consistency, they need agency, they need to have a degree of control in their lives because that is something terribly lacking for a lot of them.

Our Customer Responsibilities, and Good Team Manners Guide is a way of proving to our younger customers and ourselves that we stick to our values…

“We work together. We make things better. We do the right thing”.

Good Team Manners Guide