There are encouraging signs the sector is taking tenant engagement seriously.
Tpas is seeing a surge in new members from a variety of landlords, including local authorities including Dudley and Bristol City Council and housing associations such as Places for People.
We are seeing many clients wanting to work with us to conduct engagement reviews or restart their engagement structures from scratch.
We’re heartened to see fellow national housing sector bodies, including the National Housing Federation turn their focus onto the tenant voice by leading on the ‘Together with Tenants’ Charter to improve the relationship between tenants and landlords.
You would be hard pressed to find a sector conference in the last year that didn’t have tenant voice or tenant engagement on its programme.
Talking is not enough, though. Tenants need action, and they need it now.
The recent slew of programmes exposing the repair issues across organisations tells you there is much more to do.
We are waiting expectantly to see the political response.
I’m convinced the government knows what needs to be done.
Politicians have heard from hundreds of tenants up and down the country during the green paper roundshows, and there is data available from a variety of digital surveys that have been released over the last few months.
So, yes, signs are encouraging that both the sector and the government are taking resident engagement seriously, but what we now need is action.
So, what can we do?
The sector can take the initiative, and the lead, while we wait for politicians to catch up.
We must invest in listening to tenants, across all levels of the organisation, across all estates and communities.
Those strategies can be written and put into action now.
Organisations need to take an honest, long look at how they are putting tenants’ voices front and centre of designing, delivering and monitoring services.
At Tpas, we will continue to do all we can to push along the tenant engagement agenda.
We will make ourselves helpful and available to government with robust evidence that demonstrates the power and effectiveness of involving residents in shaping housing services.
There’s lots to do. Let’s get on with it.