We know that one of the key ways to help social landlords deliver their objectives is to encourage resident involvement.
Changes to tenant regulation are making it even more important for housing associations and other social landlords to not only listen to residents but actively involve them in service development and regulation.
"We didn’t want to bore people with more surveys and we wanted to get a good personal response … we really got to the nitty gritty of what people’s points of view are"
Keira Burns from Great Places Housing
- Developing creative engagement techniques
- Supporting different ways for residents voices to be heard and feedback on services
- Consulting residents about changes and developments taking place in their area by informing and involving them.
- Increasing skills and confidence levels of residents, leading to better life chances
"Our work with People’s Voice Media has had massive benefits to our residents and us… both as an engagement tool and for consultation, it has really helped to keep people on board with our regeneration project"
Ross Hemmings, a Regeneration Officer
Resident engagement has become even more crucial as organisations that previously represented tenants, such as National Tenant Voice, have lost government support. Now these structures are no longer in place it is even more important for tenants' opinions and stories to be heard.
- Enabled social landlords to connect with their residents, in particular hard to reach groups - disabled people, older people, younger people and other marginalised or isolated individuals, groups and communities
- Helped social landlords form better, long term and more personal links with their residents
- Helped residents develop their skills, connected them with activities and gained valuable feedback from them.
- Supported residents to have a voice and creating a platform to be heard
The Localism Act 2011 aims to give tenants more input into the way services are run and how neighbourhoods are planned. It offers new opportunities to engage with residents to create systems of dialogue and methods of generating feedback.
As part of this ongoing process we have:
- Developed creative ways to get new, detailed and informative feedback from residents - including using video letters, video booths and community reporting
- Worked with Community Reporters who are residents themselves - their access to other residents and knowledge about their area puts them in a unique position as they can more easily build relationships and links with their community
- Gathered feedback for social landlords and other organisations on a range of issues such as the local area, crime, their in-house magazine and regeneration projects
To deliver more effective outcomes or services relevant stakeholders need to come together to share knowledge and skills. This also fits in with the government’s Big Society agenda which broadly seeks to distribute power to grassroots levels.
Community Reporting is important to the Big Society as it enables local people to have a voice, encourages individuals to get involved with their community and brings people together to improve communication and consultation.
- Used community content to start discussion and debate, bring people together and find solutions to issues
- Set up consultation processes to discuss a range of issues including the development of skate-parks, employment, crime and student noise in local areas
With welfare benefit changes underway and in this difficult economic climate, helping jobseekers gain crucial skills, experience and confidence has become even more important. Also, the planned new Universal Credit scheme will require claimants to use an online system, making digital inclusion even more vital for vulnerable groups.
Our programme increases confidence levels, enhances communication, social, organisational, problem-solving and team-working skills by:
- Teaching Community Reporters how to interview, film, edit and upload content onto the internet. The Community Reporter Programme offers a unique way to encourage people to build skills for CVs, gain work experience and engage in learning.
- Supporting individuals getting involved with their community through activities, socialising and digital inclusion.
"The Community Reporter Programme has given me a routine, confidence, colleagues, something to talk about when I’m out with my friends, connections with possible work"
Kevin from Salford