Draft Tenant Engagement Strategy
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) provided Members with the Draft Tenant Engagement Strategy and highlighted the following:
· In the spring of 2021, tenants and leaseholders were invited to take part in consultation to help the Council develop a tenant engagement strategy and action plan in order to improve tenant and leaseholder engagement.
· From the responses received; five clear commitments were developed:
1. To be clear on what our engagement offering is.
2. To publicise our engagement activities.
3. To offer a range of engagement methods but prioritise tenant meetings, forums and community fun days and projects.
4. To offer a range of engagement topics, but to place significant focus on ASB, repairs and maintenance.
5. To feedback to tenants and leaseholders and to continue consultation ensuring that topics are relevant and the frequency and methods.
· As a social housing provider there are regulatory requirements that we must adhere to in relation to tenant and leaseholder engagement, these are set out by the Regulator of Social Housing. There are two key requirements set out by the Regulator, which are the ‘Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard 2017’ and ‘The Charter for Social Housing Tenants 2020.’
· The Social Housing White Paper sets out what every tenant and leaseholder should expect from their social housing landlord. It requires every social housing landlord to be transparent about their performance and decision-making, so that tenants, leaseholders and the regulator can hold them to account; put things right when they go wrong and listen to tenants and leaseholders through effective engagement.
To ensure that landlords meet these expectations the paper sets out seven key themes for tenants, leaseholders and landlords, these are:
1. To be safe in your home – the regulator will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.
2. To know how your landlord is performing, including on repairs, complaints and safety, and how it spends its money, so that tenants and leaseholders can hold it to account.
3. To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong Ombudsman who will give tenants and leaseholders swift and fair redress when needed.
4. To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants.
5. To have your voice heard by your landlord, for example through regular meetings, scrutiny panels or being on its Board. The Government will provide help, if you want it, to give you the tools to ensure your landlord listens.
6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in, with your landlord keeping your home in good repair.
7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership, so it is a ladder to other opportunities, should your circumstances allow.
· The Council want tenants and leaseholders to be part of this journey and to work together. Following this meeting; the strategy will go back to tenants and leaseholders for comments and feedback, which may lead to further amendments.
Following questions and comments from Members, the Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) highlighted the following:
· Every avenue will be explored to publicise the draft Tenant Engagement Strategy
· The Council will go into the community to engage with people (e.g., visit estates, pop-up gazebos, communal areas etc). A full diary of events will be published with plenty of notice.
· The Council will ensure the draft Tenant Engagement Strategy is accessible to all (e.g. translated into different languages etc)
· The feedback received on the draft Tenant Engagement Strategy will be brought back to Members.
· There is a high demand for the Right to Buy scheme in Gravesham and Council is inundated with requests.
· The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) agreed to circulate the exact number of responses to the consultation outside of the meeting.
· The difference between ‘repairs’ and ‘maintaining a home’ are that the Council are responsible for repairs and tenants have an obligation to maintain their home.
· The Director (Housing) clarified the tenant figures in the strategy and advised Members that the wording would be revisited for this matter.
The Committee noted the Draft Tenant Engagement Strategy.