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Tenant Panels to monitor work of social landlords

Posted on 2013-03-14

Their main focus is to be involved in the decision-making process, shape services and to offer both monitoring and scrutiny functions. They’ll also have the power to refer complaints to the housing ombudsman; as well as offering and supporting various other functions.

Over many years, Tenant Panels have been progressively becoming an integral part of the landlord business; and when they’re set up well, they’re also a business asset to the landlord.

They can:
•    Make considerable contributions to ensuring that services are what tenants want.
•    Play a role in supporting effective governance and decision-making, particularly in areas such as getting the best possible value for money.
•    Be an important component in assessing performance.
•    Provide constructive challenge to the accepted ways that things are done in order to improve them.
•    Be particularly helpful in sorting out tenant problems and issues locally and speedily.

•    Act as service user ambassadors for the landlord.

Tenants get involved with Tenant Panels for many reasons, namely the benefits they can have to a tenant’s quality of life.

They can include such benefits as:

•    Providing a means for tenants to get involved in shaping how housing services are provided. They can help tenants to influence how their homes and neighbourhoods are managed.
•    Enabling tenants to challenge, assess the performance of and review services. The tenant perspective usually improves the services tenants receive.
•    Tenants often value being able to engage with their fellow tenants on Tenant Panels to sort out problems and to discuss ideas about how services can be improved.
•    For those who get involved in Tenant Panels, they enable tenants to gain skills, knowledge, experience, and confidence – both individually and as a team.
Any providers that register for a Tenant Panel must ensure that all tenants are given a wide range of opportunities to get involved and to influence change, this can include:
•    The formulation of their landlord’s housing related policies and strategic priorities
•    The making of decisions about how housing related services are delivered, including the setting of service standards.
•    The scrutiny of their landlord’s performance and the making of recommendations to their landlord about how performance might be improved.
•    The management of their homes, where applicable.
•    The management of repair and maintenance services, such as commissioning and undertaking a range of repair tasks, as agreed with landlords, and the sharing in savings made, and agreeing local offers for service delivery.
Providers are also expected to support their tenants to develop and implement opportunities for involvement and empowerment, which includes:
•    Supporting their tenants to exercise their Right to Manage or otherwise exercise housing management functions, where appropriate.
•    Supporting the formation and activities of Tenant Panels or equivalent groups and responding in a constructive and timely manner to them.
•    The provision of timely and relevant performance information to support effective scrutiny by tenants of their landlord’s performance in a form which registered providers seek to agree with their tenants.

For more information about Tenant Panels visit the Department for Communities & Local Government website or download the “Tenant Panels: Options for Accountability” guide.

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