What is Tenant Participation?
Supporting Communities sees tenant participation as an essential part of the work of a social housing organisation. It means that all tenants have a range of opportunities to have a say about how their housing services are delivered. It is a two way process where landlords value the engagement and recognise it as a vital component to improving their business.
There are a number of levels of Tenant Participation ranging from operational to strategic. These are broadly represented as information, consultation, involvement and partnership. The engagement at each of these levels will be very much dependent on tenant’s interests, capacity and availability. It is necessary to stress that all levels of engagement are equally important in the effective delivery of services.
Approaches to Tenant Participation
Finding the right approach is key. The thing to remember though, is that one size does not fit all. So how do you know what approaches to use? Ask your Tenants!
Traditional methods of conducting meetings are not always the most suitable for a variety of reasons. Some tenants may be quite happy to complete surveys, provide feedback on literature from the comfort of their own homes whilst others may want to scrutinise services or indeed sit on your Board.
Whatever approaches are offered they must be supported with appropriate training for Staff, Board members and Tenants. Tenants need to know that their participation is valued and key to demonstrating this is ensuring the lines of communication are robust. If a tenant has provided feedback, then it is important that the landlord provides a response, in a format that tenants have had a role in determining.
Guidance and Support
As the Independent Tenant Organisation for Northern Ireland, we have developed guidance notes in line with the requirements of the Department of Communities' Tenant Participation Strategy for NI 2015-2020. These guidelines are designed to support social housing providers in meeting these requirements. Further support, advice, and consultancy are available through our social enterprise, Empowering Communities. Please get in touch for more information!
- Developing and Maintaining a Tenant Participation Strategy: Guidance Notes (2017)
- Empowering Communities website
- Read our response to the Draft Tenant Participation Strategy 2015-2020