Introducing Simon Martin

Wednesday 30th of March 2016

Simon is from Paragon and joins our Board of Directors

Simon Martin joins us a housing representative on our Board of Directors.

He has worked in Housing for 30 years and has spent about 25 years in resident engagement. He has experienced almost everything in engagement. Simon was involved in establishing the Kensington and Chelsea TMO and worked there to build up the tenants movement to a major force in the borough. He has also worked with and for Tpas throughout his career – Simon's first Tpas conference was the 2nd one and so he was involved at the beginning of engagement as a force for building and developing communities.

Simon believes that residents are the most important part of any housing landlord and its really important that we continue to find ways for residents to influence their landlord. Simon currently works for Paragon in SW London. He still encourages residents to be involved and the organisation has had a lot of success at using the scrutiny process to improve services. Paragon won the Tpas national award for Scrutiny in 2015.

Simon applied to join the Tpas board because he wanted to give something back to an organisation that he has had a long relationship with. The current climate isn’t easy but Simon hopes that his experience can help guide us through it. As someone working in the field he will bring judgement and ideas on the next steps for Tpas.

Simon's thoughts on the sector are that it is facing some real difficulties – his fear for the future is that without a real commitment to engagement from the centre we will end up building the same mistakes as in the past. We have to make government realise that residents are equal players in the development of housing and housing is more than bricks and mortar. He also thinks that the push to home ownership at all costs is ignoring the sector and our community that will never be able to buy – and this will make the situation worse in some areas.

Simon's thoughts on tenant engagement are that there isn't enough recognition given to the staff who work in the field; or the residents who give up their time to work with their landlord. Quality engagement takes time to develop – but the rewards for residents are often immense. Tpas must be vocal in defending the importance of engagement and take the lead in developing new methods to encourage engagement across the sector.