Giving you a stronger voice

"We've always had an open door approach to working with tenants and residents." says Paula

Over the last year we’ve been involved in two new initiatives that seek to build closer relationships between housing associations and tenants. The first one, called ‘Together with Tenants’ is a project being led by the National Housing Federation (NHF) – the representative body for housing associations across England. The work centres on the creation of a new Tenants Charter, which sets out some key principles for giving you more influence over how we run our housing services.

Before launching the charter, the NHF wanted to know what housing association tenants from across the country thought about it – would it reflect tenants’ needs and expectations from landlords? To test it, we joined with 129 other housing associations and invited tenants to share their views as Paula Rowson, Community Investment Manager, explains.

“We’ve always had an open door approach to working with tenants and residents,” says Paula. “We’ve currently got 25 staff and nine peer navigators working in the Community Investment Team. In ordinary circumstances, they’re out in our neighbourhoods – in the UCAN centres and working on various projects – giving people the support they need to make their lives better. So when the opportunity came up to get involved with Together with Tenants, we wanted play our part and share our experience.”

Joining the programme as an ‘early adopter’ meant getting feedback on the draft charter from our tenant Scrutiny Group and tenant focus groups.

The charter, which has now been published, outlines six key commitments for housing associations to focus on and confirms what you should expect from landlords like us (see image below). The NHF hopes it’ll be adopted by at least 500 housing associations now that it’s been rolled out.

Paula Rowson Community Investment Manager

A summary of the Together with Tenants charter we’ve signed up to:

Relationships

Housing associations will treat all residents with respect, and will be open, honest and transparent.

Communication

Residents will receive clear, accessible and timely information on the issues that matter to them.

Voice and influence

Views from residents will be sought and valued and this information will be used to inform decisions.

Accountability

Collectively, residents will work in partnership with their housing association to independently scrutinise and hold their housing association to account.

Quality

Residents can expect their homes to be good quality, well maintained, safe and well managed.

When things go wrong

Residents will have simple and accessible routes for raising issues, making complaints and seeking redress.

To read the full charter and find out more about Together with Tenants, go to: www.housing.org.uk/tenants

Resident Voices Channel – a new way to have your say

Being able to easily express your views is one of the commitments in the charter – and the second exciting initiative we’ve launched aims to do just that.

We’ve created a new digital channel that collects and analyses your views. This online platform, called Resident Voices Channel, invites you to share your thoughts and give instant feedback about the services we provide. As a thank you for your involvement, you’ll earn points towards free shopping vouchers.

We’ll use your feedback to help us deliver better services for all our tenants. You can join the channel if you’re a Bolton at Home tenant, household member or a resident living in our communities.

Paula says that this work mirrors the approach outlined in the recently published Housing White Paper. “The government has recognised the importance of listening to tenants and giving them real opportunities to speak up and influence change. Through our involvement with the Together with Tenants initiative, we’ve made a good start in delivering the recommendations outlined in the White Paper.

“The launch of our new Resident Voices Channel comes at a time when housing providers are looking for innovative ways to reach out to more tenants. This digital platform will sit alongside our existing engagement activities, giving people a choice of ways to get involved and shape the way we provide services in the future.”

To find out more or to sign up click here.

If you have a story to share, please email news@boltonathome.org.uk