Great Places Housing Group

Great Places Housing Group

Great Places Housing Group provides affordable social housing across the North West and Yorkshire. As one of the largest home building housing associations in the North, Great Places works in some of the region’s most diverse neighbourhoods; meeting the differing needs of the communities that it serves.

The Athena Programme | Great Places Housing Group

The Challenge

The team at Great Places Housing Group identified that there was a gap in their safeguarding across the business and wanted a transparent and independent view from Athena.

They needed a complete refresh on what they were currently doing and an experienced consultant that could help steer their strategy and organisational plans around safeguarding across the organisation, including a comprehensive training plan.

The Athena Solution

Athena offered a comprehensive consultancy and training programme including:

Safeguarding Consultancy

We recommended starting with a scoping session to gain a deep understanding and to map out the Governance, Reporting Pathway, Safeguarding Champion Model and the Terms of Reference for Safeguarding Group. A review of all current training materials and policy and procedures would then follow with the appropriate recommendations as well as advice and guidance. Attendance at as an independent member safeguarding expert at the Safeguarding Group for a fixed period of time.

Safeguarding Training

The training programme needed to be reviewed implementing a competency framework organisation wide. 


A review of the current externally commissioned e-learning programme was conducted. Aiming to work in partnerships to ensure the modules were bespoke the courses specifically tailored towards the housing sector.

Toolbox Talk Training Pack

A bespoke Toolbox Talk Training Pack would include key topics such as Signs and symptoms of Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk.

Face to face Training

A ‘Safeguarding Strategically’ course was recommended for 15 Safeguarding Champions. The learning outcomes would include managing a safer culture, risk management and a strategy and action plan to promote safeguarding through all areas of business.

Safeguarding Children Level 1 & Level 2 and Safeguarding Adults at Risk Level 1 & 2 training sessions would be carried out during a one day session for Safeguarding Champions and a series of 12 training sessions would be facilitated for Safeguarding Case Co-ordinators/Safeguarding Case Managers.

Safeguarding Champions and Leads were also invited to take part in a Safeguarding Development Day Level 3, to understand the purpose and importance of the role of the Safeguarding Champion/Lead.

A two day Train the Trainer course would enable trainers to be competent in areas such as understanding participants’ needs, techniques for preparation and the use of creative methods to facilitate safe and inclusive group work.

A course around Safeguarding Issues Over the Phone was recommended for CAT Staff & Repairs to cover issues such as how to identify safeguarding issues over the phone and when to escalate concerns.

The Outcome

A Facilitation Day with Senior Management enabled Athena to gain a deep understanding of the current gaps in safeguarding and to make key recommendations to help to steer Great Places’ safeguarding strategy moving forward. This was followed by a further half day workshop to reflect and continuity in driving the safeguarding organisation plan.

A review of the policy and procedures was commissioned with a report and recommendations. New areas during the review of policies and procedures were highlighted and subsequently written such as how to review a serious incident case and implementing a procedure around investigating serious incidences; best practice document for apprenticeships; terms of reference for the safeguarding group; child protection case conferencing and review of internal reporting formats.

Athena helped to implemented a comprehensive strategic safeguarding organisational plan and devised a competency framework for safeguarding training.

Athena has been working with Great Places Housing Group since 2016. Safeguarding consultancy work has helped to ensure that they have a strong strategic steer on the direction of their safeguarding efforts. Training continues to be rolled out by Athena to ensure that their full team is implementing the most up-to-date policies and procedures and that they feel competent in applying safeguarding in their roles.

Learning & Development Manager at Great Places Housing Group, Chris Jones said,
“This end to end review enabled us to develop a robust training strategy that is simple to implement and, more importantly, easy to embed into the business and one that our business has bought into and supports wholeheartedly.”

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