Right now we're building a picture of our tenants needs

Monday 19th of September 2016

Emily-Rae Maxwell, the Policy and Participation Team Leader at Dacorum Borough Council continues her blog diary by sharing her journey on using the new Tpas Tenant Engagement Standards.

It's #HousingDay!

What a great opportunity for us to come together to celebrate the positive impact of social housing for thousands of people in the UK.

Two weeks ago the Joseph Rowntree Foundation launched the ‘We can solve poverty’ strategy. Among all the excitement of preparing for #HousingDay this gave me a stark reminder of how much more we as housing could do to create cohesive communities.

We know that housing is key to improving a person’s quality of life and tackling large, complex socioeconomic issues such as poverty. Changes in local need, particularly for social housing include; an aging population, a rise in homelessness and managing the balance between under occupancy and overcrowding, highlight the demand for a more holistic service that considers what its tenants need.

The new National Engagement Standards, highlight how through tenant involvement, we can achieve this.

At the moment the team and I are focusing on the Information and Insight standard. To ensure we have a smarter approach to profiling that truly reflects our tenants and leaseholders we will be looking at the data both we and partner organisations hold and using this to build up a picture of our tenants needs.

By taking this approach we can map areas of multiple deprivations and begin to understand what issues are affecting tenants and leaseholders living in that community such as health and wellbeing or economic activity.

We will then draw on the experiences of our tenants and leaseholders by trending compliments and complaints and explore preferred method of engagement depending on the target audience.

This is where the fun starts. Once we are armed with the facts, our plan is to take this out into the community and ask our tenants and leaseholders what all this means to them. What do they feel is a priority? And, how can we as a housing service empower them to take ownership of these issues and tackle them?

Working with our tenants and leaseholders, the voluntary sector, police, public health and our colleagues from other departments we will plan, tailor and deliver engagement activities that lead to positive outcomes, ultimately improving people’s quality of life.

We know that engaging different groups within the community can be a challenge within itself. By making our activities relevant to each individual and listening to what they have to say we can play our part in connecting communities.

Next month, we have the first meeting of our new Tenant and Leaseholder Committee so I will be sharing how we approached the recruitment process and worked with our tenants to ensure we have the right infrastructure for robust scrutiny and influence.

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