How you can get involved in Tenant Involvement - Wealden District Council - Wealden District Council
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Tenant Involvement

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How you can get involved in Tenant Involvement

Our Tenant Involvement Recognition Scheme recognises the time and commitment of our tenants and Retirement Living leaseholders who get involved in the various activities outlined in this brochure by awarding ‘Participation Points’. Points are awarded depending on the amount of time involved in carrying out the activity, and build up over time to be converted into Love2Shop vouchers. You can even earn Points by completing a survey from the comfort of your sofa! The more you participate, the more Points you will earn.

View further details about our Tenant Involvement Recognition Scheme

We have developed a range of opportunities for you to get involved in, shaping the work we do and the services we deliver. We offer options to suit everyone, from responding to online surveys, being part of a focus group, joining or forming a community group, to being a member of a Scrutiny panel. You can make a difference by working with us to help us provide a better service to you, our tenants and residents, in a way that fits in with your life style and time you have to spare.

We will support you with training, skills and networking opportunities to take part in any of the options listed below. We will enable you to claim any ‘out of pocket’ expenses such as travel and care costs you may incur.

Our Housing Service is proud to be members of Tpas, who offer a wide variety of training and resources for tenants and leaseholders who want to become involved in working with their landlord. 

We can also offer you the use of a tablet for your Tenant Involvement duties – so please don’t let technology be a barrier to getting involved.  Click on the link to complete the form and start the process: Tenant Involvement Form

Photo of a tablet device

All tenants, shared owners and Retirement Living leaseholders are encouraged and supported to get involved in a way that suits them. However, if any sanctions are issued against a tenant/Retirement Living leaseholder under the Housing Unacceptable Behaviour Policy then they will be banned from getting involved. Once the sanction has ended the ban on getting involved will also end.

We will offer involvement opportunities suitable for even our busiest residents, including working with us from the comfort of your home by engaging with us by text, through social media, by email or video calling on Teams. Perfect if you don’t have much time or would struggle to come to meetings regularly. These include one-off involvement opportunities.

  • Text Forum:

Our Text Forum will involve up to 100 of our tenants or leaseholders, who we will contact by SMS Text message and ask them for their opinions, feedback and vote on important issues.

  • Responding to online surveys and consultations:

You can give us feedback on the services we provide by completing a one-off survey or responding to a consultation from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you. We will be asking for your views on a wide range of subjects ranging from our repairs service, cleaning or lettings processes. The surveys will be quick and easy to do and we sometimes offer entry into a prize draw for everyone who completes a survey or consultation, plus you will earn Participation Points every time you take part.

  • Diversity, inclusion and networking events:

We will be collating and sharing with you information on all the meetings and events that currently happen locally in this area. We also intend to arrange events including talks and meetings on a range of topics that affect/could affect residents and/or their families living on our estates. These may range from Living with Dementia to Community Gardening. They are likely to include both online and face to face events subject to Covid restrictions.  Do you have an idea? Please get in touch and let us know.

You will be able to take part in as many or as few of these events/ meetings as you want, and where possible events will be recorded so they can be viewed at a time to suit you.

  • Attend an Estate Walkabout:

Estate Walkabouts are a great way to get together with other members of your community to identify any problems and where improvements can be made. A member of the Housing Team will attend a Walkabout and Officers from other organisations like Highways or Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) will also be invited. If there is a Community Group or Association in your area they can request a Walkabout, if not, please get in touch with us as a Walkabout can be a great way to meet like-minded neighbours and possibly begin to look at forming a community group.

We also offer several choices which require a bit more time and commitment than our short-term options, these are known as our medium term involvement options. Some of these are flexible and can be undertaken from home, as and when you have the time. Others require you to engage at a certain time. Sometimes there will be some background reading of relevant information to help you make a decision or to give feedback to us.

  • Reading Group:

Our Reading Group help us to ensure that our documents and publications are well presented, and easy to read. These include our monthly e-newsletter, our bi-annual Threshold, our Annual Report and other housing documents. There will be at least one document to read and review each month, with more at busy times of the year. The documents are sent via email and comments are sent back to us in this way. However, we can send hard copies to those that want to be involved but aren’t online.

  • Grant Evaluation Panel:

Members of our Grant Evaluation Panel assess applications for funding from community groups, associations and members of Housing staff for projects and schemes on our estates or Retirement Living Courts against a criteria of what is eligible. The Panel also evaluate applications for grants which fund the costs of running the community groups or associations we work with and support to ensure that they provide value for money and transparency. The evaluations are currently done via email but may change

to online Teams video call. (This change is subject to number of applications or complexity of them.)

  • Being part of a Focus or Project Group:

We hold focus or projects groups to look at a specific part of our services, like repairs, cleaning or grounds maintenance. As a result of feedback from our STAR survey will also be looking at our Lettings process and how we will deal with cases of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). As a member of this type of group, you will typically look at what is working well, and make suggestions on how improvements could be made. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, focus and project groups will be held online for the time being, we will re-assess this as the situation changes.

  • Consultative Forum:

The Consultative Forum will get involved in more complex and longer-term projects than those covered by focus groups or surveys. These could include development of our Tenant Portal, review of our accommodation options for older people, review and management of our assets, delivery of our Business Plan and exploring how we can reduce carbon emissions from our council homes. Work with the forum will take place via meetings (which will be held as necessary and may be carried out in person or via Teams or a combination of the two), surveys as well as other forums.

Being involved in our longer term projects and schemes, you will work with us on more complex issues. You can become a member of a Scrutiny Panel or a Service Improvement Group to give us feedback and help develop and improve our services, or work with us and your local community on a project to improve the local area. This level of involvement will help develop your skills and experiences and where ever possible, we will support you.

  • Join a Community Group or Association

Being a member of a community group or association is a great way to meet your neighbours and be part of making changes or helping local people. The effects of Covid-19, lockdown and social distancing have highlighted the importance of communities coming together to help each other in times of need and we will continue to support our residents to do so.

If there is already an active community group or association in your area, we can put you in touch to find out what that group is currently working on. If there is no active group we can work with you to investigate if a group can be formed. We can help with training, skills and funding to set up a group, as well as networking opportunities with established groups to share ideas and get help and tips. Like our other involvement options, we will also reimburse any costs such as travel or care associated with being part of a community group. In addition, we will offer funding and support to hold community events and activities (subject to Covid). Provide a Community & Environmental Budget which groups can apply for finances to help them deliver local improvements.

  • Be a Community Representative

A Community Representative can liaise with us about their local area, investigating and identifying any issues and working to resolve and make improvements. A community representative can request an estate walk-about or could begin work to form a new community group or association. Community representatives are needed where there is no Resident Group in the area.

  • Scrutiny Panel

Members of our Scrutiny Panel look at our policies, procedures and practices to give constructive feedback and make recommendations on how things can be improved. These types of projects tend to be more involved and can require back ground reading, research and interviews. You will need to be able to analyse reports, data and financial information and will be required to sign up to our code of conduct. We will provide you with training, support and resources to carry out the role. For now any Scrutiny projects will be carried out remotely through a mixture of email correspondence or Teams video meetings.

  • Be an Estate or Block Champion

Our Estate/Block Champions will undertake regular inspections and monitoring to ensure that cleaning and grounds maintenance are carried out to the standard expected and in accordance with the contract for that service. Estate Champions will provide feedback to Housing Contracts Supervising Officer on grounds maintenance on our estates. Block Champions will provide feedback on communal cleaning and window cleaning in their blocks, as well as grounds maintenance immediately surrounding their block.

  • Retirement Living Leaseholder Forum

The Leasehold Forum has been established to improve communications between the Council and Retirement Living Leaseholders, maximising leaseholder involvement in Retirement Living Lease- holder services. The Forum will be led by the council and meet twice a year to discuss local and national issues affecting leaseholders.

  • Complaints and Customer Feedback Review Panel

The panel will review all anonymised formal complaints as well as looking at customer feedback which will consist of informal complaints/comments/suggestions etc. and compliments, as well as satisfaction survey data. The Panel will scrutinise this information and work with us to identify areas which need further exploring or where improvements can be made. Helping us to learn from our feedback.

  • Older Persons Forum

We are currently exploring how we could set-up and deliver an older persons forum which would include residents living in our Retirement Living Courts and outside in other homes owned by us. This would help older people network and enable us to deliver social activities and training as well as discuss issues relevant to older residents.

We now have Terms of Reference for all the ways in which you can get involved (except the Older Persons Forum), other than for short-term options. These are sent to anyone who signs up to get involved in this way. This is to ensure that both you and us (the Council) are clear on what is expected from us when getting involved in this way.

For a few of the options such as Scrutiny, Consultative Forum and the Complaints and Customer Feedback Review Panel members, you will also be expected to sign up to a Code of Conduct due to the nature of the work and the confidential/sensitive information that might be discussed. We will explain this to you if you want to get involved in this way.

We will provide you with any necessary training and support to enable you to get involved.