Tenant & Resident Democracy

Seeking Views: Inside Housing Resident Engagement Summit

SHAC has been invited to join Inside Housing Magazine’s resident engagement summit in February – and we want your views.

Inside Housing (IH) is primarily aimed at housing professionals and describes itself as “the leading monthly magazine for housing professionals in the UK”.

IH is behind a paywall and therefore not widely read by housing association tenants and residents, although it regularly carries articles about the sector. At the end of January, IH contacted SHAC inviting us to send a delegate to their Resident Engagement summit.

Housing associations have demonstrated woeful inadequacy when it comes to engaging meaningfully and respectfully with those living in their homes. SHAC is therefore inviting comments from housing association tenants and residents to feed into the panel.

You can share your views by leaving a comment at the end of this article (scroll to the bottom where it invites you to ‘Leave a reply’), or email us. Please do so ahead of the summit on the 28th February.

About the Summit

The organisers describe the event as focussed “on providing the skills and knowledge to improve resident engagement standards and deliver lasting improvements to housing services and residents’ lives and communities.” With topics including the Social Housing White Paper objectives of transparency and effective engagement, what good resident engagement looks like, and what makes best practice in communication and engagement tools.

Inside Housing has recently carried the following articles referencing SHAC:

29 January 2022

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

7 thoughts on “Seeking Views: Inside Housing Resident Engagement Summit”

  1. I strongly request you ask Inside Housing to put out an open invitation to any tenant or leaseholder who wishes, to attend. I’m not represntative of millions of fellow tenants, just as you aren’t. Loads of diverse voices and differing views should be heard.
    Re “engagement”.of tenants by landlords: Its a patronising, demeaning concept, and of no relevance or interest to most tenants. Why do so few housing providers have normal conversations rather than controlling and constraining interactions into “engagement”?
    Renting isn’t an identity.
    No landlord I know, simply approaches tenants as fellow adults who pay rent for somewhere to live.
    I want to expect the housing employees we pay for to do their jobs competently, without intruding on my life. I dont want to be engaged; I pay rent for a home not to spend time with my landlord’s staff discussing topics important to them, usually during my work hours.
    I could go on about this for pages; but would much prefer to attend and speak for myself. Can you help me and others do so?

  2. Gentoo believe they can do anything they want. Even defy safety legislation. Disgusting treatment of tennants

  3. Under the sections on beefing up consumer regulation and residents having their voices heard , The White Paper proposes the development and delivery of new opportunities and empowerment programme for social housing residents, to support more effective engagement between landlords and residents, and to give residents tools to influence their landlords and hold them to account. Unfortunately social landlords have historically viewed engagement as a tick box exercise and either fallen back on organisations that they fund and pamper so effectively control and/or initiatives that just professonalize a select few tenants for show. Neither of these top down approaches have led to tenants voices being genuinely welcomed listened to or heard at board or any other level or increased the ability of social housing residents to hold their landlords to account.

    Even the use of the term engagement is problematic as social providers dont seem to mind abstractly ‘engaging’ with tenants as a PR exercise but they dont quite see them as ‘marriageable’ so to speak , in the sense of being full partners and entitled to play a joint role in planning and policy and other decision making around the management of their homes and social responsibility initiatives in their communities. It’s all promises with tenants being strung along and trained in the corporate ways of their social landlords to enable landlords to listen to those tenants , and only those tenants , who say what they want to hear. This is little more than corporate ventriloquy.

    All social tenants and residents need and should to be able to have their voices heard and to hold their landlords to account and thats only going to be possible through having collective fully independent bodies of tenants and residents operating locally, regionally and nationally and through mechanisms that enable tenants to influence and hold these bodies to account as well.

    Some social tenants wish to go further and to take over the management of their own homes and where this approach attains ritical mass why not?, but for now simply having mechanisms that enable tenants to get their voices heard , hold their social landlords to account and partner in decision making has to be the priority.

    Tenants and residents need to be able to meaningfully influence their social landlords to ensure their actions align with their published policies and stated social values and charitiable aims and objectives. At the moment the sector struggles around genuinely promoting equality , diversity and inclusion with some of the larger providers having an appalling record in this area, particularly around race and disability. Tenant voice mechanisms must be genuinly representational and address the various forms of discrimination that persist in social housing.

    1. You’re absolutely right that tenants must see and have genuine opportunities to be involve as a tenant. Sadly, but without any surprise, Clarion Housing have cut back the ability for tenants to critique them in the residents involvement platform.

      Making it harder for residents to choose the areas of the HA that they would like to investigate of services, processes or policy. At one time the residents informed the management of interest to them.

      Instead, Clarion management choose the topic to investigate and there’s no wiggle room. Even then, CHG will stipulate what tools the resident members can use to investigate.

      I say all this as former Chair of the Southern Region Scrutiny Committee in CHG.

  4. You’ll never beat the Goliaths..too powerful and they know it , Sanctuary Housing have left me in a terrible mess aged 66 in ill health ,they’ve finally worn me down

  5. Recognising and facilitating genuinely independent resident groups should be the core of ‘Resident Engagement’.
    We’ve had experience of our own HA cutting off all contact with our genuine open and democratic residents organisation in favour of setting up a focus group that they can select and control.
    Secondly maximum openess with all possible board papers and meetings open to residents as of right; to make informed involvemwnt possible

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