Future proofing our involvement – Hull City Council

Friday 7th of September 2018

Following on from our consultancy managers, Gillian Mclaren's article about future proofing engagement, we asked Sally Smith, Tenant Participation manager at Hull City Council to tell us about our future proofing workshop from their perspective. 

Following our “Future Proofing” workshop facilitated by TPAS in April, work is underway to develop a digital approach to tenant participation to enhance our involvement framework.

We now have digital reporters who email their findings on the street environment and the cleaning standards in flats. They provide us with extra eyes and ears within our neighbourhoods and enable issues to be reported and resolved quickly.  We are refreshing the administration of our Facebook site to ensure it is current and responsive, and in September are holding our first Facebook live session with our Head of Housing. We now deliver a smaller version of our quarterly news sheet, complementing it with a more in depth version online.

Not only are we expanding our involvement to enable a digital voice, we are helping people gain basic skills by our digital champions project, volunteers in the community who provide training and support.

With the assistance of our active volunteers, we are also looking at how we can expand traditional style involvement channels to include a digital aspect and help us work smarter. The Tenants’ Forum, our monthly citywide involvement meeting, is looking at streaming part of its meeting via live webcam and developing a Whats App group to enable more tenants to be involved and stay connected.

We are reducing paperwork at our meetings, having electronic agendas, photographing flipcharts and having action logs instead of minutes. Increasingly our correspondence with volunteers is via email, thereby saving postage and paper. However, we still offer to print documents for volunteers if requested, to save their printing costs.

Our independent Tenants’ Scrutiny Group is also going digital. Instead of having papers tabled, its next review will access all information via a laptop and they will also collect wider tenants’ views via an online survey.

The future is digital, we see it in all aspects of our daily lives, and it’s the same for tenant engagement too. We’ve only just started our digital journey but already we are seeing significant advantages in terms of expanding our volunteer base, better two way communications and overall smarter working.

Contact us if you think your organisation would be interested in our 'Future Proofing' session.