Tenants voices should be at the heart of regulation
Wednesday 10th of January 2018
Our consultancy manager, Gill Mclaren talks about how regulation should help ensure that the social housing sector can demonstrate the outcomes and impacts of their tenant engagement across all of the Housing and Communities Agency standards.
Last month at Tpas we held a round table conversation with 7 organisations who had achieved Tpas Landlord Accreditation at least three times. We call them our exemplar organsiations and we wanted to get a view from them, not only on the next stage for accreditation, but also on the challenges within the sector for engagement now and in the future. And what a discussion we had. The key challenges highlighted included digital engagement and future proofing of engagement however the top challenge being debated was around the HCA’s regulation in respect of the tenant empowerment and involvement standard. Interestingly there was a variety of views on how the regulator could move forward on this
But surely the key must be to ensure that the social housing sector can demonstrate the outcomes and impacts of their tenant engagement across all of the HCA’s standards. That way they can truly demonstrate that tenants voices are heard and crucially acted upon
The Housing Minister has been out and about and listened to over 1000 tenants from across the country – he now needs to act upon this, show his commitment and make the necessary changes needed. The signs are encouraging that he will.
Tenant engagement could remain as a standard in its own right but also form part of each of the other consumer and economic standards and have specific areas that can be measured and evaluated within each one.
This would then ensure that every Social Housing landlord has to have the processes in place to be able to measure and report back on this to the Regulator on a regular basis.
We cannot continue to say we need to ‘ listen and act’ on tenants issues and concerns without having to really demonstrate this through a strong and consistent message from the regulator
Of course many organisations do this the way they work and have always had tenants at the heart of their decision making processes. However there are plenty of those out there that don’t- but should.
We, at Tpas, would hope that the Green Paper will address this area more specifically and at the very least ensure a wide consultation about what this should look like.
I have worked most of my life in this sector and feel passionately about this. Tpas will be 30 years old next year and what a wonderful way of celebrating this with a more cohesive and regulatory framework that has empowerment and engagement at its heart.
And whilst thinking about all this it reminded me of another issue that I think needs addressing. Tpas England operates with no central Government funding to help with the work we do both nationally and locally. Its only through the support of our members that we are still able to continue the work. Thats not the case in Wales and Scotland where both Tpas organisations get Government funding s to help support the development of the skills and knowledge of tenants and wider communities. Why so different in England?
We know that the time is right for change and that real change that will make a real difference. I am positive about the future. Let’s all create it together.