My journey to deliver better engagement, as standard
Monday 22nd of August 2016
We've asked Emily-Rae Maxwell, the Policy and Participation Team Leader at Dacorum Borough Council to share her journey on using the new Tpas Tenant Engagement Standards.
In May 2016 I joined the Dacorum Borough Council housing service as the Policy and Participation team leader. From the off-set I had to hit the ground running.
We were in the process of renewing not only the councils strategy for delivering tenant involvement but there was real appetite to completely overhaul the structure we used for involving our tenants.
My first few weeks in post was focused on setting the direction for tenant involvement and coming up with new ways we could let people have their say.
I wanted the team to think outside the box and explore new ways of working. I’m talking video blogs, an Instagram booth, text messaging. Any way we could appeal to the masses.
It was clear from our tenants … we needed a fresh approach.
One thing that was great was a lot of consultation with involved tenants and leaseholders had already been under-taken. Through focus groups and surveys we were able to capture things like ‘hold events in rural areas to improve access’ and ‘use digital channels to engage young people’. All of this was very useful however I was eager to push the team to think about what this really means.
For me it was about using the skills and knowledge within our tenant and leaseholder population to make us as a service even better.
I believe strongly in working towards outcomes and setting your destination before embarking on your journey. What was fantastic was you could feel the enthusiasm within the housing involvement team and the involved tenants. It was just a case of pointing it in the right direction.
Armed with the four commitments and a new structure for involvement we were ready to go.
Then the new Tpas standards landed and everything I had been harping on about. The importance of getting the foundations right, working in partnership to maximise resources, taking the time to understand what it is our tenants and leaseholders need, exploring how we get information out there, enabling tenants to influence and scrutinise and having a positive influence in the wider community.
Over August we will be launching the new tenant involvement strategy and building up a network of tenants to deliver a range of involvement activities.
All while working towards the new Tpas standards.
Once a month I will be offering an insight into our Tpas journey warts and all.
So watch this space!