Tenants should be used as empowered experts

Wednesday 8th of March 2017

Tpas training manager, Val Alker discusses why tenants should be used as 'empowered experts'.

At Tpas we come across the view that insight can replace tenant engagement a lot. It is really common across the sector at the moment. The first Family Mosaic report hinted at it, but I was relieved to discover that they saw the light, their second report 'changing focus' talked of involved tenants as experts. Aha - the light bulb had gone on.


We at Tpas think this view ,data good / tenant engagement bad' stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of high level tenant engagement in 2017.


Often staff go to meeting with tenants and present policies or strategies they have already completed.  Tenants can add no value by looking at these important documents once organisations have already written them. This 'traditional involvement'  is really a name for 'poor involvement' something we at Tpas have been helping organisations move away from for many years.


The involved tenant role should be as empowered experts working with organisations as volunteers to interpret and use insight data to co- design and test services with to meet the needs of the tenant profile.

In this role involved tenants are not 'reps' and so are not 'unrepresentative', they are experienced, valued, respected volunteers who by giving their time free of charge add value to organisations by helping them to deliver effective services and value for money.

Asking challenging questions, monitoring , scrutinising and holding organisations to account for  performance. 

Working alongside customer experience experts to promote the link between insight and involvement we learnt that big multinational organisations also use volunteer expert users to help design and test services.

Indeed Firefox are asking for 'test pilots' as l logged on today. So by replicating what the best in the private sector and valuing the skills, knowledge and ideas tenant volunteers can bring  we can develop excellent tenant involvement that certainly delivers for the business.

Download the national engagement standards for more insight