Bassetlaw Resident Engagement and Involvement Strategy 2022-2024

 Our Vision

Bassetlaw District Council’s Vision 2040 outlines the priorities for the district.

  • Building a strong sense of identity as a place to live and work.
  • Aspiring to become the greenest and most sustainable district.
  • Developing skills to power the UK’s manufacturing industry and green economy.
  • Becoming a great place to ‘do business’.
  • Mitigating the impacts of climate change through green energy planning, building efficiency, and enhancing natural environments.
  • Promoting partner investment in high quality education, health and other facilities and encourage sustainable living, promoting good mental and physical health for Bassetlaw residents.

These priorities include improving the quality and efficiency of the Council’s Housing services, homes and estates.  We will do this by working with tenants and residents to meet the Social Housing Regulator’s Consumers Standards which are based on meaningful tenant involvement and empowerment.

Our Housing Revenue Account Business Plan will help to contribute to achieving the priorities of the Council by;

  • Investing in our housing stock and delivering improvements to our tenants homes and communities
  • Taking a proactive approach to managing our neighbourhoods and supporting our residents

Introduction

This strategy sets out Bassetlaw District Council commitment to work in partnership with our tenants and supports our vision to enable a greater tenant voice by ensuring tenants and residents are able to influence and scrutinise what we do across governance, improving services and communities.

Tenant involvement is fundamental to shaping excellent services and understanding the changing needs and aspirations of tenants is vital to delivering excellent housing and related services.  Placing tenants at the heart of all that we do will support and empower tenants to play a role in checking how we perform, challenge us to improve and hold us to account if we fail to do so.

This strategy will provide opportunities for staff and tenants to work together in partnership to deliver services and contribute to the shared vision and values of Bassetlaw housing strategic objectives.

Background

TPAS were commissioned to undertake an in-depth review of our approach this included workshops with staff and tenants, key priorities that were identified are included in this strategy. The new strategy also reflects good practice approaches to ensure we have a tenant involvement approach that is future proof. A review of our tenant involvement practices highlighted a need to strengthen our tenant involvement arrangements.  In developing the strategy, we further consulted with involved tenants as part of a workshop to develop the strategy.  A steering group has been established to keep the strategy under review and support implementation.

The themes and priorities identified through consultation were:

A new strategic approach that ensures.

  • Influence and assurance
  • Scrutiny
  • Communication, information, and access
  • An engagement culture and leadership
  • The right resources

This strategy has been developed to provide a framework to enable Bassetlaw to be effective through taking an outcome focussed approach to involvement, one that means working with tenants to co create effective services. It supports a range of involvement options, including a greater use of technology for consultation to ensure that our approach is agile, flexible and responds to internal and external challenges.  

We aim to ensure opportunities for involvement are as broad as possible and will take a flexible approach to ensure that tenants can be involved and influence at a level of their choice.  Involvement is intended to be fully accessible and inclusive whilst providing training to support and ensure that actively involved tenants can be effective and empowered.

A key driver for change will be to improve satisfaction by demonstrating how Bassetlaw thinks of all tenants in the way we implement change and to keep all tenants informed.

A one-year action plan has been developed to support the delivery of this strategy.

Our new approach will comply with The Regulator of Social Housing requirements for tenant involvement, which is outlined in the tenant involvement and empowerment standard, ensuring we also meet the requirements and the principles within the Social Housing White Paper - The Charter for Social Housing Residents 2020.

The Equality Act 2010 means that we must consider the risk of discrimination and the needs of people who are disadvantaged or suffer inequality, when we make decisions about how we provide services and implement policies. We must also demonstrate how we are taking their views into account when making changes to policies, procedures, and services. Our approach to involvement means effectively targeting our activities, including all necessary adjustments and considerations, to ensure participation is possible for everyone. We use views, which are shared to inform our decision-making processes to meet the requirements of the legislation.

Our Approach – The Strategy

The Resident Engagement and Involvement Strategy highlights our values, principles and aims with links to our current Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plan. The delivery of this strategy will ensure Bassetlaw is able to demonstrate how we are thinking of all tenants in the way we implement change and will keep all tenants informed. 

Our overarching aim for this strategy is to:

“Enable our residents and communities to succeed and thrive through working together to create great experiences and ensure all of our resident voices are embedded in influencing housing services and decision-making bringing service improvements and greater value for money.”

To do this we will ensure a new menu of opportunities for tenants to work in partnership with us through involvement in decision-making, shaping services, monitoring and scrutiny to achieve outcomes that:

  • Improve services
  • Improve Value for Money (VFM)
  • Build stronger communities.

We want to make sure that everyone who wants to engage with us can, in a way that is easy, flexible, and convenient.

Our key aims and outcomes to be delivered as part of this strategy are.

A new strategic approach that includes continuous improvement across:

  • Enabling residents to influence what we do and that we continuously seek resident assurance in our decisions
  • Enabling scrutiny opportunities
  • Enabling greater communication, information and access to services and teams
  • Enabling an engagement and resident first culture within our teams and leadership
  • Enabling targeted resources and support to deliver the aims in this strategy.

Key aim 1

Enabling residents to influence what we do and that we continuously seek resident assurance in our decisions

  1. We will work with a steering group of residents to establish a clearly defined role within the governance of our organisation and to co design and finalise this draft strategy.
  2. We will set out how each role contributes to outcomes that improve services, increases value for money and builds stronger communities.
  3. We will, communicate and promote our new strategy to all staff, members and residents as well as clear roles and responsibilities of senior staff responsible for ensuring we meet the consumer standards as set out by the Regulator of Social Housing.
  4. Work with a steering group of tenants to review and strengthen current opportunities, updating a menu of opportunities with associated terms of reference communicated to all, initially focussing on;
    1. Tenant Voice - Voices of Bassetlaw
    2. Housing Liaison group
    3. Service Review and Scrutiny Groups
    4. Later revisit the and review the Tenant Forum, TRAs and local activities
  5. We will establish ways for residents to be involved in our complaint performance and reviews of policy and ensure we learn from complaints.
  6. We will publish regular briefings for staff and residents to update them on progress and outcomes from delivering this strategy to include how we have used feedback, insight and lived experience to inform services.
  7. We will develop a clear plan for engaging residents in how we comply with our health and safety responsibilities and publish the role and responsibilities of the senior person responsible for delivery.

How will we do this

We will keep resident engagement and involvement as a high priority through delivery of the following activities.

  • Publicise and communicate the strategy widely to all staff and residents with consistent and regular briefings on how we use the learning from resident engagement across all service areas.
  • Resource a programme of awareness raising for managers and staff, with resultant expectation of spending time together to identify how individual job roles provide opportunity to build in resident influence, and if necessary, devising new systems and process to enshrine the opportunity in to day-to-day work, leaving no room for doubt or deviation, including attention to outcome measurement.
  • Ensure that resident influence features as a standing item in team meeting agendas, during 121 or supervision sessions and that all staff involved in delivering landlord functions (including those outside Housing Services, such as income collection) have a personal target relating to resident influence
  • Ensure that resident influence is a feature of recruitment and induction of all staff involved in delivering landlord functions. Utilise our TPAS membership for all staff and tenants.
  • We will explore how we ensure involvement is embedded across all service teams.
  • Ensure all reports to the Housing Portfolio Holder, relevant Overview & Scrutiny meetings, the meetings of the Housing Liaison Board and any others relating to the landlord function very clearly feature not only the impact of the report contents on residents, but how the resident experience has featured in the development of any recommendations.
  • Ensure the Annual Report to tenants sets out impact made as a result of involvement in services.
  • Ensure communication methods for complaints and regularly updated to reflect needs and increase access.
  • Communicate our expectations that any new strategies, re-design of services, routine service reviews and processes all take into account resident experience of those services. For example, any new rent arrears strategy should include evidence that the feedback of residents in arrears and their experience of the escalation process has been included and has influenced service design.
  • Focus on the development of a menu of opportunity to include personal, local and group opportunities including the Tenant Voice, Housing Liaison Group with service review groups.

Key outcome 1

Our tenants and staff understand the role of tenant involvement and tenants are able to influence our decisions and services across a number of opportunities. Tenants will be meaningfully involved in activities that will lead to positive outcomes that we can evidence.

Key aim 2 Scrutiny – developing service review groups

We will enable residents to scrutinise our services through developing, communicating and promoting opportunities for resident led scrutiny.

  1. We will review, in partnership with members of the Voices of Bassetlaw, a framework that will enable scrutiny with clear links with governance, business and service delivery operations.
  2. We will develop service review and scrutiny groups to focus on service standards and performance for.

    • Responsive repairs service standards
    • Asset management and planned maintenance service standards
    • Customer Care
    • Resident Involvement
    • Safety compliance
    • Communication
  1. We will ensure a robust recruitment and training plan for members of the scrutiny function.
  2. We will provide relevant performance, information, regulatory and legal benchmarking to support the group to conduct in depth reviews on services matters and enable them to provide evidenced based recommendations for improvement.

How we will do this

  • We will encourage more people to be involved by publicising and promoting opportunities and encourage task and finish topical scrutiny
  • We will ensure our approach works to the five principles of independence, inclusive, positive, constructive and purpose
  • We will publicise and promote clear routes to governance, business, and service delivery
  • We will promote how evidence-based recommendations improve services and efficiency, ensuring feedback is communicated
  • We will publicise how scrutiny is supported through training and provided with the information it needs to be a success
  • We will publicise clear role descriptions, terms of reference, level of influence, time needed with links to other structures and wider resident base
  • We will make better and systematic use of insight to hear from, report and learn about resident experience, particularly focusing on demographics and complaints ensuring feedback is utilised.

Key outcome 2

Our approach to scrutiny will operate to the principles of independent, inclusive, positive, constructive and with purpose.  We will value scrutiny as a critical friend and work on evidenced recommendations to improve services and performance.

Key aim 3 Communication, information, and access

We will ensure quality and responsive communication to all tenants either individually or collectively that sets out performance targets, achievements and updates on involvement and where things have changed.

  1. Ensuring quality and responsive communication to all residents either individually or collectively that sets out housing services performance targets, achievements and updates on involvement and where things have changed.
  2. Reviewing the housing service website information to ensure easy to find information on all engagement activity and housing services performance and challenges with an option for residents to seek additional information. We will ensure more content on topics of community and national interest including access to key standards and codes of practice.
  3. We will communicate a who-is-who directory with email and contact information and establish the customer care service standards following Key outcome 1 activity.
  4. We will establish, within our communication programme, plans to provide consistent and honest sharing of information with all stakeholders’ our organisational risks, plans and targets and promote opportunities for consultation on sector related policies.
  5. We will improve information to residents about how we keep them safe in their homes and how we meet regulatory and statutory standards.
  6. We will increase opportunities for residents to influence communication through establishing a resident editorial group to work with us to develop our approach and our Annual report that will include resident satisfaction measures; performance against its stated commitments; how income is being spent, complaints trends, impact from resident engagement and comparisons of the organisational wage structure and management costs.

How we will do this

  • We will ensure relevant information is provided to all tenant groups involved to enable them to achieve success.
  • We will ensure the website and other communication channels is reviewed in partnership with the Editorial Panel or other groups to increase relevance and tenant focus including all feedback relating to tenant engagement and influence.
  • We will ensure regular updates for tenants are provided including performance against targets, operational challenges, topics of community and national interest, agree frequency of updates with tenants.
  • We will make arrangements to consult once every three years on the best way to involve tenants in the governance and scrutiny of the housing management service

Key outcome 3

Tenants will benefit from transparent and relevant information and communication that meets their needs.

Key aim 4 Culture and leadership

We will establish clear expectations of a tenant first culture and lead a cultural change to ensure that the experiences of as many tenants as possible influence service delivery.

  1. We will establish clear expectations of a resident first culture to ensure that the experiences of as many residents as possible influence service delivery through strong and effective leadership.
  2. We will ensure council wide plans are developed to include measures that give additional measures to tackle negative stereotyping.
  3. We will ensure we seek evidence from the tenant voice to support decision-making and discussions are included in minutes and publicised and to challenge where insufficient attention has been provided.
  4. We will ensure tenants influence and voice is evidenced in all strategic decisions, challenging where necessary.

How will we do this

  • We will establish a clear purpose and role for residents in our organisation.
  • We will ensure we operate to high levels of transparency and the provision of information.
  • We will demonstrate we listen and act on what we are told.
  • We will develop our teams to engagement and involve and enable influencing opportunities to improve services.

Key outcome 4

Stronger relationships and trust with tenants through clearer and outcome focussed involvement. Strengthened influence and scrutiny making an impact across services, decisions and communities.

Key aim 5 Resources

We will provide improved resources to support tenant influence through staff and tenant training and other support.

  1. Review the resources that support resident influence in collaboration with residents, this includes staffing, budgets and training support.
  2. We will review how we ensure involvement is embedded across all service teams.
  3. We will ensure all roles have an engagement and involvement objective within role descriptions and become part of the regular appraisal system.
  4. We will develop a consistent programmer of residents and staff training in topics that improve engagement across housing services.

How we will do this

  • We will ensure staff are clear on purpose and outcomes from engagement and influence activities on them, team, organisation and tenants
  • We will ensure all staff can describe the benefits tenant engagement can bring, are clear on the purpose and how their role contributes to enhancing how Bassetlaw hears the tenant voice
  • We will establish clear codes of behaviour for inclusion in all job roles and performance reviews that tackles negative stereotyping and behaviours
  • We will review resources for effective engagement and to enable tenants to have the opportunity to influence decisions about the resources available
  • We will ensure staff are trained and supported to deliver service specific influence activities and communicate changes as a result to those involved and all tenants

Key outcome 5

Tenants and staff are able to describe the benefits and impact of involvement.  Everyone knows what is expected of them and feel supported to fulfil their potential.

How we will monitor and report on progress

Tenant involvement will be evaluated regularly to see if it is effective and benefitting tenants and Bassetlaw. We will routinely monitor and measure the impact of our approach to ensure success in achieving outcomes while also ensuring wider ranges of views are captured rather than a few influencing on behalf of everyone.  We will evaluate and target engagement with our ‘silent voices’.

The ability to measure all of the above outcomes, raise awareness of impact and continually seek feedback would provide objective information to inform our future decisions on funding, priorities and activities.

It is a key component of the White Paper that new Tenant Satisfaction Measures are developed and that social housing providers will be expected to use them, satisfaction is a commonly used way of helping to understand tenants ‘experiences.

We will focus on ensuring tenant involvement achieves the priority key outcomes of:

  • Improving services
  • Improving Value for Money (VFM)
  • Building stronger communities.

We will measure what has changed as a result of influence such as:

  • Changes to service costs
  • Changes to service standards
  • Changes to tenant satisfaction and
  • Changes in value for money

We will monitor and report on the impact of tenant influence, showing costs (including staff costs) and benefits – for example, the number of strategic, policy and process changes implemented – and outcomes from these changes: improvement in service delivery, improvements in VFM and other measures including potentially social value

We want to be able to tell tenants what has changed as a result of listening.

Support and Resources

We will ensure that tenants who want to be involved with us to improve services, value for money and build stronger communities are supported. We will outline the outcomes for all opportunities and support tenants who give up their time to work in partnership with us in achieving better outcomes. We will do this by,

  1. Having in place a clear Tenant Expenses and Support Policy that we will co create with tenants that may include.
    1. Loan IT equipment if involved at certain levels that requires access to virtual meetings with training to be able to access virtual meetings
    2. Support to arrange transport to and from venues for involvement activities if tenants are unable to travel by public transport   
    3. Ensure venues are accessible and meet the needs of tenants where reasonably practical taking into account equality and diversity
    4. Vary time and locations of involvement to maximise attendance, including evenings and weekends
    5. Provide the appropriate staff to support involvement activities inside and outside a normal working day to promote access and inclusivity
    6. Reimbursement for travel, carer costs to join in an activity
    7. Refreshments for activities tenants join in person
    8. Access to translator services or other services to ensure inclusivity.
  1. As part of this a clear tenant training, support, development and mentoring offer that we will co create with tenants that may include.
  1. Assess the training and support needs of tenants who want to be involved
  2. Access to administrative facilities and equipment
  3. Key main contact information for support
  4. Access to training that will support involvement and empowerment.

Equality and Diversity

We will ensure that we continue to be inclusive to everyone, we encourage all of our tenants to be involved and provide an environment free from bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, we will continue to promote equality and inclusion for everyone. Our approach to tenant involvement is committed to equality of opportunity for all and to respond to the needs of our diverse communities. We will continually review barriers to involvement and work to find a solution. Equally, we will ensure our staff are able to operate in an environment free from bullying, harassment, victimisation, and discrimination.

 


Last Updated on Wednesday, February 14, 2024