Welcome to Highland Council’s Tenant Participation pages. Tenant Participation is about Highland Council tenants and staff working together to improve housing conditions. We have developed a strategy to make sure this happens – the tenant participation strategy is designed to ensure that tenants have the capacity to influence housing decisions, and that the Council is open to that influence.
Tenants have a statutory right to be consulted on issues to do with their housing, and Highland Council’s Tenant Participation Service exists to support our tenants in getting their voice heard. Please click on the headings below to find out more, or click here to see details of your local tenant participation officer.
What is Tenant Participation?
Tenant participation can be a number of different things. It can mean getting involved in a tenants or residents association in your area, attending a one off public meeting. Or it can just mean letting us know what you think on a particular topic by returning a questionnaire or survey.
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Why should I get involved?
If you have a view about the housing service we provide or you want to improve the environment then getting involved can help you to achieve what you want for your community.
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Tenant Participation Strategy
Council tenants, elected members and staff worked together to create our most recent Tenant Participation Strategy. Look at the list of “current documents” on the right hand of this page to see downloadable versions of this strategy. The independent Tenant Participation Advisory Service also helped us to develop this strategy. By using them we made sure that we got an impartial view of the way we work with tenants at the moment, what tenants wanted in the future and how we can meet these needs.
The overall aim of the Tenant Participation Strategy is to make sure that "tenants have the capacity to influence and that the Council is open to influence". Involving tenants in housing decisions allows everyone to work together to create better places to live. To do this we agreed seven main objectives. They are to:
- Promote equality: ensuring everyone can have their say
- Provide good information: ensuring good quality, clear and full information is provided on housing services
- Promote consultation: listening to and hearing people’s views, giving tenants feedback about how their views have influenced housing decisions
- Participation: supporting tenants to get involved in decision making in a way that suits them, including giving tenants a formal place in the policy making process
- Develop skills: giving everyone involved the skills to get their voice heard and to work together constructively
- Wider action: integrating tenant participation skills with other community planning initiatives, to benefit the wider community
- Progress and outcomes: putting measures in place so that we can see the impact this new strategy is having, allowing us to continuously improve and develop the strategy in light of ongoing feedback.
To make these things really happen in practice we then set out a detailed Action Plan to say what we need to do and when we will do it. For example, under our commitment to “Develop Skills”, the action plan said that we would “develop opportunities for joint training of tenants, staff and councillors”. As a first step towards this we have developed a comprehensive directory of face to face, paper and online training resources – many of them available free of charge.
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Tenants and Residents Groups, and the Register of Interested Tenants
If you would like to become involved in tenant participation, there may be an existing group in your community which you can join. Alternatively, Highland Council Tenants can join the “Register of Interested Tenants” to ensure they are contacted when any relevant consultations are happening.
To find out if there is a tenants’ group in your community, or how to join the Register of Interested Tenants, please contact your local tenant participation officer
If there is no tenant group in your community you may want to get together with others to start one. You can get support to do this from your local tenant participation officer. We may also be able to help with the costs involved. Remember if you are not sure how to go about this just ask – we can provide a lot of help and advice.
Volunteer expenses in relation to setting up and running a tenant’s group will be met in accordance with our agreed framework.
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Other ways to participate
We consult with tenants in different ways on different issues. For example, if we are making big changes to a policy like the repairs policy it is important that you tell us what you think. We also try to get feedback on our day to day service, for example, by one-off surveys which we have done in the past on rent arrears or by sending out short questionnaires after repairs have been done. It is helpful if you send these sorts of questionnaire back so that we can take account of your views and improve our services. We will also be using a simple electronic questionnaire in Service Points from time to time – if you see a notice about this do use it and let us know what you think.
We also send out regular newsletters – in these we try to tell you about major issues coming up. Sometimes this will include a sheet to return to give your views.
If you think that we should consult you in different ways or if there are other reasons why you can’t participate, please let us know.
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Other Sources of Help and Information
Highland Council has produced its own extensive directory of training resources for tenants. Many information sheets are free and cover subjects ranging from setting up a tenants’ group, to raising concerns about repairs, allocations, anti social behaviour and much more besides.
There are also other organisations that can help you to find out more about tenant participation or how to start a group. These include:
Tenants Information Service (TIS)
50 Wellington Street
GLASGOW G2 6HJ
Telephone: 0141 248 1242
Fax 0141 221 1911
Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS Scotland)
74 – 78 Saltmarket
GLASGOW G1 5LD
Tel: 0141 552 3633
Fax: 0141 552 0073
For more information, please use our contact form.
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