Work with us on it

Isobel Leighton, 25, talks about how she is part of the Tenant and Leaseholder Committee with Dacorum Borough Council and the different levels of involvement within their structure.

As a committee, we recognise how important the TPAS accreditation is and while we don’t always see the work going on behind the scenes, we are aware of what goes on and how we can contribute. The main area we can make a difference as a high level committee is through theme 4; influence and scrutiny. With the other members of the committee, I am keen to influence the strategic direction the council are taking.

I would like more tenants to be a part of it, to get involved. Dacorum have created a lot of different opportunities for people, it’s about picking the group or activity that’s right for you, just let them know what issues you are passionate about and how much time you would like to commit. It’s an ongoing process and if more tenants were involved, even just for a one-off focus group, then the council could make realistic improvements based on what their tenants want.

I personally wanted to get involved with the housing service at DBC because I thought it was important to give a young person’s perspective on what it’s like to be a tenant.

I had a very positive experience when I first became a tenant. My lettings officer was very clear and organised in her communications with me. She had an answer for almost all of my questions and when she didn’t know the answer herself, she found out for me very quickly. She portrayed a good image of the council and when she gave me a leaflet about being on the new tenant and leaseholder committee, it made me want to be involved so I could do my best to make sure other people have as good an experience as I did.

The good thing about DBC is that they see communication as key. They are inclusive and disability friendly too. This is personally important to me as someone who needs support to access services. They have encouraged people like me to get involved by creating a new structure where there are different levels of involvement based on your time commitments and skills.

Technology has helped too, it has meant that you can send a quick email or go to the website and give your feedback on things. Accessing information via email makes it a lot easier to be involved with the Tenant and Leaseholder Committee or another one of the council’s high level groups. When they are writing new strategies, we are often asked to review them before they go through a formal approval process. It makes me feel that the council do want to listen to what we as tenants have to say. They are thinking about improving their services, not just from a business view, but from a tenant’s perspective. 

“The council are trying to create a culture where tenants can get involved and express their views. They are saying to tenants “this is what we can do, work with us on it.”