Member Spotlight

It’s our members that make Tpas such a great organisation to be part of and what better way to show this than with our member spotlight feature.

Each month we will invite one of our members to share their engagement achievements, tips and ambitions, allowing you to keep bang up to date with what others are up to across the sector.


September 2020 Member Spotlight          


Dacorum Borough Council

We asked Ada Terry, Strategy, Involvement and Engagment Team Leader  to share what they are upto.

If you'd like to contact Ada about any of the below, click here


Give us a little known fact about your organisation

Dacorum? Where’s Dacorum? It’s the name of one of the ancient ‘Chiltern Hundreds’ and covers the towns of Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring in West Hertfordshire, as well as many rural villages, some of which are in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Dacorum Borough Council has a very active and successful Development programme, with an award winning team.

Dacorum are committed to developing Social housing for social rent.  Since the start of our development programme, we have delivered more than 300 new homes for people in housing need in the Dacorum area.

Tell us about a time that engagement has made a difference to your services or communities?

Back at the beginning of 2019, the Housing service had a significant number of Policies and Procedures which were either due for review or needed to be written. There were concerns that some policies and procedures were outdated and – because they weren’t ‘user friendly’ staff may not be following them correctly.

To drive forward the review and development of Policies and Procedures and ensure that there is an effective schedule of continuous review and improvement we set up the Policy and Best Practice working group. This working group was the first joint working group between front line housing Officers and Tenants.   They work collaboratively to develop, review and monitor all Policies and procedures. More recently they have started to work together to complete Community impact assessments, to ensure our services are as accessible.

The Tenants on this group provide first hand experiences of our services, and have made some excellent suggestions for improvement which have fed into our continuous improvement schedule and supported our ISO 9001 certification.

What are you currently working on when it comes to engagement?

The Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated our progress towards delivering digital engagement.  We quickly adapted to lockdown, and have been successfully delivering all our existing engagement activity using the app Zoom.

We have been surprised by the positive feedback we have received from Tenants who have found using the app easy, and have even commented that they feel that meetings are more focussed and effective.  We have also enabled people who have not previously been involved with us to take part in our virtual focus groups.

We are planning to build on this new form of engagement over the next few months to embed it into our menu of options for engagement moving forward.

Why did you decide to join Tpas?

Both us as Officers and our Tenants have gained so many positives from being part of Tpas.  The information briefings and toolkits which can be downloaded online are an excellent resource to support our Engagement team.

Since the lockdown we have been able to make more use of our Tpas Membership, with some very positive outcomes.  The Tpas National Engagement Professionals group, has been essential during lockdown, and enabled us as professionals to share ideas, discuss challenges and best practice in an easy way through the portal.

The recent scrutiny week was a big hit with both staff and Tenants, and has led to some interesting questions and ideas, which we will be taking forward working with our current engaged residents to re-ignite our Tenant scrutiny within Dacorum.

Thanks for all the hard work Tpas, and pulling us closer together in this challenging time.  Keep up the good work.

What is your top engagement tip?

Make it personal.  When a Tenant is thinking about becoming involved it can be a worrying time, with some uncertainly.  They may be unsure what it is all about, what will happen, all of which can make people anxious about taking part.

Where we have had particular success is by building a relationship with Tenants and supporting them into getting involved.  A friendly face can go a long way, especially when first taking part in an established committee or Tenant group.

This is also key to engaging staff in the process. They can feel anxious and worried about Tenant Engagement being a stressful process and some haven’t understood the importance of it.  However as Engagement Officers by making those links and being a friendly face, we can reassure and encourage and make the process enjoyable for all.

What’s the one thing you are really proud of when it comes to engagement?

Seeing the development of Tenants who get Involved with us.  It’s wonderful to see how they grow in confidence, and gain knowledge and skills which benefit both the organisation, and also in their day to day life.

We were very proud of one of our Tenant and Leaseholder Committee, Paulette Reed last week, as she was invited to take part in the Tpas scrutiny week. Paulette was 1 of a handful of Social housing Residents on a Q & A panel with Clive Betts. Paulette has been a champion for our virtual engagement since lockdown and was delighted to take part in the session, she is a natural on camera.

We find it inspiring to see how relationships develop within committees and see trust growing between staff and Tenants.

    


Previous Member Spotlights

August 2020 - Eastend Homes

July 2020 - Connexus

June 2020 - Gridizen

May 2020 - Grand Union Housing Group

March / April 2020 - Onward Homes

January / February 2020 - Estuary HA

December 2019 - Muir Group

November 2019 - Blackpool Coastal Homes

October 2019 - Texthelp

September 2019 - Greatwell Homes

August 2019 - Selby DC

July 2019 - North Star Housing Group

June 2019  - Rotherham MBC

May 2019  - Homes for Haringey


I'd like to be in the spotlight

If you'd like to be featured in our Member Spotlight and highlight the work you are doing, please get in touch by emailing lisa.holt@tpas.org.uk.

Why choose Tpas?

Well established

We've been promoting, supporting and championing tenant involvement and empowerment across England for two and a half decades

Not for profit

Investing in Tpas means benefitting frim the latest tenant involvement policies and practices but also securing and supporting the future of the tenant involvement agenda

Accreditation

We offer the only independent evidence-based accreditation scheme that assesses resident involvement arrangements.

Expert advice

Our shared knowledge, expertise and experience with staff, tenants, landlord and contractors are the building blocks of this organisation.


Find out more?

For more information please contact our dedicated membership team

Lisa Holt

Business Services Officer

Email: lisa.holt@tpas.org.uk
Telephone: 0161 868 3500

Louise Thompson

Head of Business Services

Email: louise.thompson@tpas.org.uk
Telephone: 0161 868 3500