Summary Survey Questionnaire -
Here’s what you said about the different parts of the strategy
- wide support to encourage involvement of less well represented groups, with low level of dissent to being more inclusive and reflective of communities
- particular request to have tenants of sheltered housing included as a separate equality objective which has been done.
- Wide Support for updated Tenant Handbook
- Wide Support and interest in a tenant editorial group for Highland Tenant Newsletter
- Support, though some scepticism for use of web pages for information and 2 way communication
- Wide support for RTOs to be provided with Policy Briefings
- Suggestion that the key in the TP Action Plan would be better placed at the start of the document – this has been done.
- Wide support for introducing a system of consultation where those with an interest get the correct level of information for their level of involvement. Suggestion that this be renamed an Involvement Framework – this has been done.
- Wide agreement to suggestion that council continuously measures the satisfaction of tenants on the method of consultation as well as the topic being consulted on
- Wide support to promoting forthcoming consultations through web-site and Highland Tenant Newsletter – good advance notice identified, as well as reasonable timescale for responses.
- Some limited negative comment about the usefulness of wider consultation
- Wide support for building the new participation structure
- Complete support for review of Grant Funding arrangements for groups, and for expenses policy
- Wide support for a jointly hosted Tenant Conference, though some disinterest expressed
- Wide support to introducing publication of performance information and TP budget monitoring information at the TAPs
- Wide support for a revised and joint Training Programme.
- A few negative comments about the usefulness of improved participation
- Wide support to developing opportunities for joint training
- Wide support to use of existing local training opportunities
- Interest in any relevant accreditation schemes and for linking in with a wider network of TP activity both at tenant and officer level.
- Some reservations expressed about the usefulness of developing skills
- Wide support and Interest in working together with tenants of other social landlords
- Wide interest for RTOs and Tenant Area Panels to learn about community planning as that evolves
- Some reservations expressed about usefulness and relevance of wider partnership working
Progress and Outcomes:
- Broad support for jointly developing and monitoring progress with TP Action Plan
- Broad support to producing periodic progress report to all TP stakeholders and the Housing & Social Work Committee
- Broad support for measuring progress through national peer group where possible
- Reservations about the usefulness of these proposals on progressing TP
Feedback on the more detailed questions, comments and suggestions that were made through the consultation
The bold text indicates a point made by respondents, and the plain text is the response
- Sharing of information/developing awareness of successes and outcomes of grassroots participation: we hope that the Newsletter/forums/networking at meetings/conference slot/tenant led web-site (as being investigated by Inverness Forum) will all contribute to promoting this suggestion.
- Mutuality in setting agendas: intended through development of Tenant Area Panels (TAPs) in the new structure. The goal is to promote sufficient interest to get the right number of tenants and representative ‘others’ involved in the TAPs over the term of the strategy.
- Tenant Led Inspections: recognition by Steering Group that this will take training and time but is what we should be aiming for though not something that can be delivered without training.
- Cost effectiveness: as TP is a statutory requirement on landlords, there is a budget in the Housing Revenue Account identified for this. The intention of the Action plan is to introduce monitoring of this budget at the Tenant Area Panels, by administrative area, and in time to publish this level of performance monitoring if there is felt to be a need for it.
- More plans than ‘action’: the Council is required to have a Strategy and Action Plan for 3 years though these documents are only a small part of the wider work in progress, but can help by giving clearer focus and direction on how we jointly use our resources to move things on. One of the things we have learned from this particular consultation is that not everyone wants to receive this level of information, but that they are interested in what is happening in communities from the work of local groups. Some tenants do want more detailed information, and do want to be more involved in decision making. We have to make sure we can be flexible in offering different types and levels of participation.
- Rules and rents are set by the council without respect to tenants view: the Council wishes to demonstrate its willingness to work more closely with tenants on improving services and sharing information about the cost of housing services. For example, in November 2008 there was a consultation on the rent increase through the Highland Tenant Update Newsletter. For tenants more actively involved in participation there was a presentation on rents with details of the impact of different rent increases and how these would affect the investment level on such things as the capital programme, day to day repairs budgets and so on. Tenants views do matter, and can assist the Ccouncil in i’s own decision making as well as making a case on wider issues. The goal of the TP strategy is to get more people more interested in being more involved to help this 2 way process.
- Right to Compensation for Repairs: the Council recognises the need to improve awareness of tenants rights to be compensated for improvements made to their home. There is a scheme for compensation which outlines the criteria that households must satisfy. The proposed new Tenants Handbook will include details of this scheme.
- Access to Social Housing: the Council must be compliant with a range of duties in terms of rights to access social rented housing. This is detailed in the Highland Housing Register Allocations Policy – which is available on the Council’s web-site.
- The impact of reviews and committees on rates: Housing Services are funded by council house rents through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) not rates. As Tenant Participation is a statutory requirement, the work to promote and encourage tenant involvement in service delivery is budgeted for and there is no extra cost forecast for implementing the Action Plan. It is intended through the revised Action Plan that any changes to this will be reported to tenant’s groups and the proposed Tenant Area Panels for budget monitoring purposes.
- Phone polls and direct mail: the intention is to draft a new ‘Consultation’ or ‘Involvement’ Framework and the suggestion to use phone polls over and above existing direct mail options is a good idea at a local community level for certain areas of service. The tenant’s Review Group will be asked to consider this suggestion of monitoring.
- Notice and timescales of consultations: This particular consultation was announced in the Tenant Newsletter in November 2008, on the Council web-site from mid December 2008 with full details circulated to all registered groups contact persons and interested tenants at this time also. There are a couple of gaps here. One is that not all members of groups are tenants – there are also private rented tenants and owner occupiers who participate at organised group level. The second follows on from this – how can we better assist notification / circulation of consultations to all members of groups? The Tenant’s Review Group will be asked to consider how to promote cascading of information.
- The availability of information about forward planned capital programmes: details of the Capital Programme are already available as public documents – though the bigger issue is to do with how we publicise this. To find full details of the Capital Programme you can go to /yourcouncil/committees/strategiccommittees/housingandsocialwork/2009-01-14-hsw-min.htm
- Use of language and jargon: the suggestion to put the glossary of terms at the beginning of the Action Plan was a very useful one, and this has been done in the final version.
- Level of ‘tenant – led’ information: we hope to achieve a 25% target on content from RTOs in the newsletter.Tenants from the Inverness Forum have been investigating developing an independent tenant web-site in recognition that this would be a useful way to information share on progress with tenant led issues. This also recognises that the Highland Tenant Update is the landlord’s main method of providing information and that there is therefore a balance to be achieved in making sure that a minimum level of information is made available by the council as landlord through this newsletter.
- The links between Housing Development and communities: the April 2009 edition of Highland Tenant Update includes some general information about the Local Housing Strategy and confirms the opportunity for greater consultation of RTOs and registered interested tenants in such things as how more affordable housing can be provided and where it will be built
- Improved training and awareness: the new strategy and action plan include an action to revise the training programme with increased opportunity for joint training of tenants, staff and councillors.