An update and reflections from Jenny Osbourne
Tuesday 11th of July 2017
It’s been a hard three weeks in social housing. We’ve not seen tenant engagement been talked about so much in the sector for a long time. With that in mind we felt it was important to make you aware of what we’ve been up to on behalf of our members.
All of us at Tpas remain saddened and shocked by the events at Grenfell Tower. The coming days and months will be hard and we offer our continued support to all those affected by the tragedy. It’s been dark days and we know there will be tough days still to come. Our thoughts remain with the Grenfell community. You may have seen that immediately after the news broke we focused on two actions. Firstly, we released a statement to express our grief and our position on the fire and secondly we published an online book of condolence which is available to view online here.
Thank you all for your touching and heartfelt messages.
Chartered Institute of Housing Conference
Tpas attended the CiH conference in Manchester. This involved a presentation of Contractor accreditation to Fortem. Well done everyone at Fortem. We attended plenty of the seminars and fringe sessions. Of particular interest to us, and it seems to many more people judging by the size of the audience, was the launch of the new Benefit to Society website. This is part of an important project to challenge the stereotypes of tenants in the sector. Do take a look and get involved.
I spoke at a masterclass on “What’s not to like about tenant engagement” along with colleagues from Soha, Optivo, Bromford and Phoenix Community Housing. A great session that showed that, whilst we may all approach it differently with different structures, the business benefits are clear for any organisation.
We launched our full report of the National Engagement survey. This full report is available exclusively to members. Please do take a look at what you told us about how engagement is changing.
We discussed the report at an event with senior leaders from across a range of organisations. Without a doubt the events at Grenfell have thrust thoughts of engagement and connection with communities back to the fore of all our minds. What was heartening to hear at CiH was more talk about the need for social housing. The conversation was most definitely about how we care for our existing homes not just about building much needed new ones. That’s a shift I welcome and support.
Government and tenants
This week you may have seen us join with CCH, Taroe and NFTMO to call upon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for a discussion about establishing a new national panel for tenants.
Tpas’s reason for being part of this call is clear; we want to see tenants and communities having a respected and valued voice at the heart of policy making and to enable them, across England, to contribute their expertise and insight of their experiences direct to key decision makers. For us, as a tenants and landlord body representing you, that’s a win win for everyone; tenants, landlords, government but most importantly the communities in which we all live and work.
We see this as a strategic body that includes as wide a group of people as possible. It is not limited to these four organisations alone. We have started the call and will keep you updated on what response we get.
And of course we will be talking to our members to contribute their thoughts on what it could look like. It’s very early days but anything that enables dialogue with government needs to be encouraged.
National Tenants Conference
This week it’s our national conference where we will be welcoming 220 tenants and housing staff to Warwick. It will be the largest gathering of its kind in England and we are so excited for an action packed and inspiring coupe of days.
It’s a fantastic response from the sector to get some many people attending. We will be sharing all the conversations from the event with you as we discuss our theme of “change” in housing today. Follow the chat on twitter on #tpasconf17.
And Thursday night sees the national final of the Tpas awards 2017. Full of brilliant projects, great ideas and inspirational people all making significant impact in communities across England. We will share information on all the shortlisted projects and winners with you throughout the summer.
We hope to continue to work with our members over the coming months to carry on raising the standards of engagement.
We’ll see you online in our members digital forum
We’ll see you in person at our next round of members events