How we involve tenants and service users in our work 2020-2022

Introduction

It is crucial that we actively involve tenants, homeless people, other people who use social housing services and their representatives in our work. We explain here how we will do this from 2020 to 2022.

Our approach builds on our past work and retains a number of existing initiatives. We will continue to use a variety of approaches, and we will explore new ways of working.

You can find out more about how we have involved tenants and service users in recent years by using the links in each section and by reading our annual reports.

What we will do in 2020-22

Our 2019-2022 corporate plan 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 initiatives we set out here will help us do this, alongside our wider work.

We explain in our corporate plan that we help to empower tenants, people who are homeless, Gypsy/Travellers and others in a number of ways, by:

  • publishing the landlord performance data we gather in open, useful and accessible ways
  • providing tenants, people who are homeless, Gypsy/Travellers and others with tools to use the data we publish to help them better understand, compare and challenge their landlord’s performance, and we will continue to develop these tools 
  • continuing to provide an effective way for tenants to raise concerns about landlord significant performance failures
  • promoting to landlords the importance of involving tenants and others who use their services in the scrutiny of their performance to inform their self-assurance

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 and environmental impacts of our work, and we will consider these fully in the activities we describe here.

We discussed our proposed approach to involving tenants and service users with our Registered Tenant Organisation liaison group, which is made up of representatives of the four tenant regional networks, in early 2020. The group concluded that our existing mechanisms work well and should remain in place. We have taken account of this feedback in our future plans.

We have two involvement objectives for 2020-22:

  • Understand tenants’ and service users’ priorities and views
  • Involve tenants and other service users in our regulation

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 Tenants and Service Users Panel

Engaging with tenant representatives

  • We will continue to meet regularly with our RTO Liaison group, which is a forum for us to have meaningful dialogue with representatives of the four Regional Networks of tenant organisations. Find out more about the Liaison Group.
  • We are committed to offering our Board members’ attendance at key Regional Network events, such as each Network’s AGM and national events, as an important way to share ideas and hear feedback
  • We will continue to offer to speak at the major conferences hosted by the main tenant support agencies

Involving tenants and service users when we consult on new regulatory proposals that impact on people who use landlords’ services

  • We will discuss relevant policy consultations with the Liaison Group
  • We will explore specific opportunities to speak directly with tenants
  • We will liaise with tenant support agencies and others to discuss how best to promote proposals as widely as possible

Hearing the views and experiences of service users from traditionally ‘hard to reach’ and equalities groups

  • We will be flexible in our approach, making use of opportunities as they arise.
  • This will include working through the National Panel and through dialogue with relevant representative bodies. 
  • Using our regular liaison with bodies who work on behalf of service users to discuss our regulatory approach and to invite feedback.

Involve tenants and other service users in our regulation

We will involve tenants and other service users directly in our regulation work to help make sure we understand their perspective and stay focused on the issues that matter most to them.

We recruited a pool of independent, volunteer tenant advisors to help us do this. We will involve tenant advisers in our regulation activities where doing so adds value. Find out more about our tenant advisors’ work.

One way of doing this is for our advisors to review information and materials landlords produce for their tenants. This can be an important source of evidence in our thematic work where we look in depth at specific areas of landlords’ work. 

Our tenant advisers will also play an important role in looking at how we communicate as an organisation, for example by reviewing planned improvements to our website and tenant-focused information we produce. This helps make sure our information is accessible and user-friendly.

Where relevant, our advisors are able to speak directly to other tenants to gather views on landlords’ services. This feedback can provide us with a tenant perspective to add to other regulatory evidence we gather.

Communicating our work

Alongside the initiatives set out here, we will make sure the information we produce about landlords and about our work is relevant and easy to access. We will communicate in a range of ways, because we know that is the best way to reach most people.

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 will work with others, such as tenant support organisations, to reach a wider audience.

We will also use 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.