Actively including tenants, homeless people, other people who use social housing services and their representatives in what we do is key to our work. We explain here how we will do this from 2023-2026.
Our approach builds on our past work. We will continue to use a variety of approaches, as well as exploring new ways of working. Our aim is to understand, involve and communicate with tenants and service users.
Learn about our past work: How we include tenants and service users – what we did in 2020-2022.
You can also find out more about how we have listened to and included tenants and service users in recent years by using the links in each section of this strategy and by reading our annual reports.
What we will do in 2023-26
Our (corporate) Strategy sets out our strong commitment to empowering tenants and service users in our work and promoting a strong tenant voice. These principles are at the heart of our approach. The activities we set out here will help us do this, alongside our wider work.
Tenants and other service users are diverse with different needs and priorities. We aim to understand these and take account of them in our work. We have a legal duty to consider the equalities impacts of our work, and we will consider these fully in the activities we describe here.
We can categorise how we include tenants and service users in our work into three key objectives:
- Understand tenants’ and service users’ priorities and views
- Involve tenants in our regulation
- Communicate with tenants’ and service users about our work
Understand tenants’ and service users’ priorities and views
We will continue to create opportunities for tenants and service users to engage directly and regularly with us. This will help make sure our work takes account of their views and priorities. We will do this by:
- Gathering feedback from our National Panel of Tenants and Service Users
The National Panel is one of the ways that we hear from tenants and people who use social landlord services. Panel members receive occasional surveys and invites to take part in other feedback exercises. Members can share their experiences and views on various issues affecting social landlord services. We aim to complete at least one survey and one other feedback exercise per year; and we then produce public reports based on this feedback from Panel members.
The Panel has been in place since 2013 and has around 500 members; many of whom are not active in any other formal tenant and service user engagement processes. In late 2022/23, we began a refresh of the Panel – saying goodbye to our longest standing members and welcoming new members. However, you can ask to join the Panel at any time.
- Meaningful Conversations with our Regional Network Liaison Group
We will continue to meet at least quarterly with our Regional Network Liaison Group. The group is made up of members of the four Regional Tenant Networks. This allows us to directly and regularly communicate with tenant representatives from across Scotland.
We discuss relevant policy consultations; as well as the work of both SHR and the Regional Network. In doing so, we can ensure a focus on the important things; to the benefit of both SHR and tenants.
We discussed our proposed approach to including tenants and service users with the group in early 2023. Members concluded that our existing mechanisms work well and should remain in place. We have taken account of this feedback when considering this strategy.
Involve tenants in our regulation
We will involve tenants directly in our regulation work to help make sure we understand their perspective and stay focused on the issues that matter most to them.
- Tenant Advisors
Tenant Advisors are tenants of either Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) or Local Authorities, who volunteer to participate in our regulation work. They come from across Scotland and from a wide range of backgrounds.
We ask Tenant Advisors to complete specific pieces of work for us. This might include testing landlord services, by acting as mystery shoppers; reviewing SHR draft publications to make sure material is both accessible and user friendly for tenants; or assessing information and materials produced by landlords for their tenants. We aim to complete 4 projects per year.
They help us bring tenants into the heart of our regulation of social landlords and their feedback provides us with a tenant perspective to add to the other regulatory evidence we gather.
While we have worked with tenants in this type of way since we were established in 2011, our current group of Tenant Advisors were recruited in early 2022 and will be in place for a period of around three years.
- Tenant Board Members
We are led by a Board of non-executive members, appointed by Scottish Ministers. The Board sets our strategic direction and ensures that we focus on the right things. We want people from diverse backgrounds, and we have committed to ensuring this includes tenant representation. We currently have two tenant board members - Colin Stewart and Helen Trouten Torress - who provide a unique perspective to our work.
Communicate with tenants’ and service users about our work
We make sure the information we produce about landlords and about our work is relevant and easy to access. We communicate in a range of ways, because we know that is the best way to reach most people:
- Engaging with tenant representatives
We are committed to offering attendance at key tenant events (for example Regional Network AGMs), as an important way to share ideas and hear feedback. We will also continue to offer to speak at the major conferences hosted by the main tenant support agencies; and will talk openly about the things that tenants tell us are important.
- Hearing the views and experiences of the diverse groups of people we regulate to protect
This includes tenants, people who are homeless, Gypsy/Travellers and other people who use the services of social landlords.
We will be flexible in our approach, making use of opportunities as they arise. As well as our work with the National Panel, we will continue to build relationships with tenant and other relevant support organisations and representative bodies to reach a wider audience and to explore specific opportunities to speak directly with tenants and other service users. We will discuss our regulatory approach, promote proposals and invite feedback.
- Using our website and social media to communicate
Following independent research on our communications, we continue to make improvements to our website to make our information as accessible as it can be and to use other methods, such as short videos, to explain what we do. We have a specific area of our website devoted to tenants. Here, we:
- Explain how we regulate in an accessible way;
- publish the landlord data we gather in open, useful and accessible ways
- provide tenants with tools to use the landlord performance data we publish to help them better understand, compare and challenge their landlord’s performance, and we will continue to develop these tools;
- provide an effective way for tenants to raise concerns about landlord; and how to report significant performance failures.
We also make use of social media to promote new publications and announcements and to direct readers to our website.
Most of our publications are electronic-only. Where we can, we will make small numbers of hard copies available on request.
Watch our short video about how we include tenants and service users in our work
We've made a short video that sets out how we involve tenants and service users in our work. The video includes a plain text version.