What is tenant participation?
Tenant participation is about tenants taking part in decision making processes and influencing decisions about housing policies; housing conditions; and housing (and related) services. It is a two way process which involves the sharing of information, ideas and knowledge. Its aim is to improve the standard of housing conditions and service.
We have developed a range of both formal and informal opportunities to allow varying levels of participation, for example from individual contact through to involvement at a strategic level with the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation.
The right to participate comes from a reasonable expectation on the part of tenants that housing services and policies should meet their needs and preferences, as far as possible within available resources.
What are the benefits of tenant participation?
When working well, tenant participation delivers clear benefits for tenants, staff and landlords alike.
The benefits of effective tenant participation for everyone include:
- better service delivery and improved value for money
- opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills
- better communication between staff and tenants
- better links between the community and landlords
- informed and knowledgeable tenants who have the skills and confidence to influence decisions
- staff and tenants being more aware of each other’s perspectives and organisational and financial limitations
- breaking down misunderstandings, helping to remove any mistrust between landlord and tenants, and building mutual respect and understanding
- increased tenant satisfaction with their home and neighbourhood
- increased job satisfaction for staff
How you can get involved and influence the housing service and your community
We want to encourage as many tenants and those who use our services to have their say on how the Housing Service is managed and delivered. This is why, we have developed a suite of participation opportunities to get involved and to influence decisions that affect tenants and customers at the right level, the right time and at a place that suits them.
Information and communication
Attendance at other conferences
The range of conferences includes Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland, Tenants Information Service, Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland and the joint East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents conference.
This new way of engaging and informing communities focuses on establishing connections with existing organisations in an area. It is a new technique used to bring communities together and provide real-time information in a conversational style manner.
We will always try to attend local meetings as and when invited where we will take note of your concerns and suggestions. From time to time, we will hold meetings to inform you about our services or new legislation.
When we intend to make significant changes to the way we deliver a service, we will organise public meetings to seek tenants’ views on our proposals.
These are mini-surveys of our services that are carried out to better understand tenant satisfaction levels.
Every tenant is provided with a comprehensive information pack at the start of their tenancy.
Please note, the Tenant Pack is currently being reviewed and updated.
The East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation produces a Newsletter each year which is posted to all tenants and published on our website.
Our website www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk can be accessed and contains information on Housing and related issues and service provision.
Annual performance report to tenants
Each year, we will report our performance against each of the outcomes in the Charter to the Scottish Housing Regulator. This will demonstrate how well we are performing and meeting the needs of our tenants, service users and other customers.
Consultation, participation and scrutiny
Annual Joint Tenants and Residents Conference
East Ayrshire Council tenants are invited to attend the annual joint Tenants & Residents Conference and able to raise their concerns and aspirations through a number of themed workshops. The feedback is used to shape future service delivery.
Community Champions provide an opportunity to gain greater knowledge of how Housing Improvement projects work and allows direct access to Council Officers whilst work is undertaken in a community.
The Community Champion acts as a vehicle between the Housing Improvement project and the community and is able to influence the delivery of the project. They also are made aware of local organisations and encouraged to become more involved in such groups.
Consulting on specific topics
Consultation events can vary and will be held in local venues to seek the views of all relevant people within the area, e.g. new Council House building.
Interested tenants register
The Interested Tenants Register is a database of individual tenants who have expressed an interest in Housing consultations.
East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation
An umbrella organisation that represents Tenants and Residents Associations operating in East Ayrshire.
Members of tenants groups are invited to walk around their neighbourhood with Housing staff to identify problems, suggest action and improve communication and identify environmental improvements.
Tenants, service users and other customers are invited to attend a single or small number of meetings to discuss specific service delivery issues.
Residents meetings provide people living in East Ayrshire Council’s Temporary Accommodation Hostel with an opportunity to get involved and have their say on a range of matters in a relaxed environment.
Mystery Shopping is a form of market research for tenants to test the service and record their experience and impressions.
Registered Tenant Organisations (RTO)
Becoming an RTO gives groups a recognised role in the decision-making process. Landlords and RTOs should work together to identify policies and practices which they think need to be revised.
Registered Tenants Organisations (RTO) forums
Representatives from RTOs within a geographical area meet with Housing Managers to discuss housing related issues and agree a range of environmental improvements for their area.
Tenants and residents groups
Tenants and residents associations provide a collective voice for people who live in the same area, or who have the same landlord. Members work together to improve housing and environmental standards in their neighbourhood and increase a sense of community.
Tenant-led inspections allow a group of tenants to conduct an inspection of a service provided by their landlord and make recommendations to the landlord on proposed changes.
Tenant Scrutiny aim to give tenants and other customers more influence in holding East Ayrshire Council to account for its decisions, performance and conduct. Tenant Scrutiny puts our tenants, service users and other customers’ priorities, views and engagement with relevant processes at the heart of the organisation.
Monitoring and evaluation
Senior Officers from Housing Services meet with members of the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation quarterly to discuss performance across a number of areas. This information is then fed back to the wider membership of the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation thus keeping everyone involved.
Tenant participation strategy monitoring and implementation strategy
This group, consisting of tenant representatives and Council Officers meet to review progress of Tenant Participation and Service User Involvement against the Action Plan aims.
End of year annual performance return
Each year Council Officers meet with members of the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation to present the Council’s Annual Return on the Scottish Social Housing Charter. This is a return which contains over 300 pieces of performance information and allows tenants, service users, other customers, staff and peer authorities to compare their performance against similar sized organisations.
Service improvement groups
The creation of 3 Service Improvement Groups has afforded tenant representatives the opportunity to attend and gain a greater knowledge and understanding of:
- Allocation and Voids
- Income Maximisation and Arrears Recovery
- Homelessness, Housing Options and Tenancy Sustainment
The tenant representatives feedback information from the meetings to members of the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation and this is then cascaded to the wider membership via Open Meetings and in publications.
Performance information at area level
In addition to Council Officers meeting with and presenting end of year performance information to the East Ayrshire Tenants and Residents Federation, Neighbourhood Managers also meet with members of tenants and residents associations in their respective areas and present local performance information.