NIFHA has today welcomed the publication of a strategy, which aims to increase tenant involvement in the delivery of social housing services.
The Tenant Participation Strategy 2015-2020 sets out what social landlords, including housing associations and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, should do to help people to get more involved in the decisions made about the services they receive in social housing. NIFHA and our members worked closely with the Department for Social Development in preparing the strategy.
Tenant participation can range from being a member of a Board and being involved in a resident or community based group to responding to consultations or being engaged in focus groups.
The Strategy sets out 10 principles for tenant participation and includes the measures and outcomes expected to achieve effective engagement.
Principles for Tenant Participation
- Tenant participation comes from and promotes a culture of mutual trust, respect and partnership between tenants, board members and staff at all levels. It exists when all these interests work towards a common goal of better housing conditions and housing services.
- Tenant participation is a continuous process. Participants share information, ideas and influence. They work towards a common understanding of problems and a consensus on solutions.
- Good tenant participation is about sharing information. All participants need to have all the information available issues properly. That information needs to be clear, timely and accessible. Information must be in a form that all participants can understand.
- Decision-making processes should open, clear and accountable.
- Tenant representatives should have enough time to consider issues properly. They should have the opportunity to work out a common view before meeting landlord representatives.
- The landlord must recognise the independence of tenants’ organisations.
- Good working relations evolve gradually so must be flexible to adapt to local circumstances.
- Tenants’ organisations need adequate resources for organisation, training and support.
- Tenant participation in rural areas must suit the particular circumstances and needs of rural tenants.
Tenant participation must meet the requirements of legislation on equality and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The Tenant Participation Strategy was developed as part of the Department for Social Development’s Social Housing Reform Programme.
The Tenant Participation Strategy, subsequent Action plan, and Easy read version can be viewed by clicking here