District Council committed to listening to tenants

Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2023

4.4 million homes* across the UK are occupied by social housing tenants, including 5531 managed by Newark and Sherwood District Council. The District Council has publicly committed to ensuring that its tenants' safety and satisfaction remains its top priority as it launches its new Tenant Engagement Strategy.

The Tenant Engagement Strategy sits alongside the Newark and Sherwood District Council's Consultation and Engagement Strategy and sets out how the District Council will seek out, listen to and act on the views of tenants and leaseholders. 

Councillor Lee Brazier, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Newark and Sherwood District Council, explains: "We have a strong record of placing tenants at the heart of our decision-making process, and this strategy confirms the range of options tenants have when getting involved to shape and change the services we deliver for them. The strategy sets out how the Council will engage with tenants and leaseholders to seek out, listen and act on their views in the performance, delivery and scrutiny and development of housing services and provide assurance on how we will meet our legal obligations set out by the Regulator of Social Housing."

The strategy outlines the District Council's approach to tenant engagement, which includes a menu of opportunities dependent on the tenant's appetite and availability to get involved, including:

  • Mystery shopping
  • Scrutiny of services
  • Contractor tender evaluation
  • Responding to consultations
  • Talking to colleagues about their experiences of services
  • Ground maintenance champions
  • Surveys
  • Digital champions
  • Service improvement activities
  • Performance monitoring
  • Estate walkabouts

In addition, more formal groups such as the community link groups, and Local Influence Networks (LIN) formalise engagement between communities and the District Council. 

Further, through the Tenant Engagement Board, the LINs can direct their views, comments and feedback to the District Council, including their satisfaction with performance and services and identifying areas for action and investigation. 

The District Council will enable tenants to utilise their existing skills and seek to build new ones through training and personal development. 

Councillor Brazier continues: "The strategy will help our housing team support our tenants with effective engagement. The benefits this will have include celebrating services valued by tenants, helping us act on feedback to improve and develop new services, and building better relationships with tenants built on trust. We want tenants to feel safe and happy with where they live and that they feel valued and listened to.

"The voice and influence of tenants is essential to enhancing every aspect of the District Council's housing services."

The strategy builds upon the work undertaken in 2022 with involved tenants who designed a new approach to tenant engagement with the District Council that supports local conversations about local issues, which are coordinated through the District Council's decision-making structures at both operational and strategic levels. Results from the Survey of Tenants and Residents (STAR) undertaken in March of this year found 80.6% of tenants felt satisfied the Council gave them a say in how services are managed and 77.1% were satisfied that the Council listened to their views and acted on them.  This is a really strong performance for the Council to build on.

If approved, a work plan will be created to set out activities required over the strategy's life to ensure it is effective, current and meaningful for tenants. 

Information about current opportunities can be found on the District Council website https://www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/tenantengagement/ or by emailing getinvolved@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

*Data taken from the Regulator of Social Housing on 25 October 2022.