"We need to break away from doing things just because we’ve always done them that way"

Wednesday 25th of April 2018

Our consultancy manager, Gillian Mclaren assisted Hull City Council to co-design their engagement framework alongside residents to ensure it was ‘fit for the future’. Together they explored multiple communication channels, including social media and face to face, to enable residents to be involved and engaged in a way that suited them.


Sally Smith, Tenant Participation Manager, Hull City Council wrote us a blog all about her experience of working with us on this ‘future proofing’ event.

Tenants are at the heart of everything we do, which is why we were so keen to be a trailblazer and work with Tpas on future proofing tenant involvement.

We’ve a great bunch of tenants who are PASSIONATE about what they do and the outcomes they achieve. There’s a core of about 60 very active tenants involved in a diverse range of activities from being digital champions, designated panel members, advisers on communications, estate walkers to running tenant and resident associations, checking multi-storey living premises, supporting homeless people and much, much more.

They are a wonderfully willing and energetic group most of whom are empty-nesters without the ties of full time work. We count ourselves lucky to have them, but we know we have to be on the lookout for who will follow them and ensure that we get a representative cross section of our tenant profiles.

It is said that these days, younger people are no longer “tribal” and are not “joiners.”  Is there any wonder when all adults in the household usually work full time, there are the pressures of raising a family or caring for elderly relatives – most young tenants crave a little bit of “me time” rather than sit in meetings. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t got a voice, and they have the right to their say on the services they get from us and how we deliver them. So, it’s up to us to find the right channels for them to communicate with us at a time which suits them.

The Tpas workshop was a great opportunity for tenants and staff – including our City Manager Dave Richmond – to look for a way forward. Social media, but not to the exclusion of face to face engagement, were identified as channels whose potential is underused.

Most tenants have access to the internet which opens up a world of online discussions, surveys, real time messaging, shared photos, learning opportunities and similar which can be accessed anytime 24/7.

I remember years ago being amazed that a tenant had paid his rent online on Christmas Day, but why not? 

We need to break away from doing things just because we’ve always done them that way. I’m looking forward to having an interactive Tenants Forum session with people joining in from home, and our City Manager is about to start a regular Facebook Live session “Discuss with Dave” for tenants.

Our future proofing work is still in its infancy, but I feel much more confident now that tenant participation’s future in Hull will continue to be productive.

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