Last spring 130 housing associations agreed to act as Together with Tenants early adopters – testing a plan to strengthen the relationship between housing associations and residents.
At the core of the plan is a charter, written in collaboration with an independent Tenant Advisory Panel, and informed by the findings of an extensive consultation with residents and our members. This charter sets clear expectations for what residents can expect from their landlord, with responsibilities on both sides of the relationship.
Thanks to our early adopters this charter has been tested and refined, and we are now in a strong position to roll it out across the sector – now we want as many of our members as possible to adopt it.
We know in a sector as diverse as ours, one-size definitely does not fit all. However, the experience of the early adopters shows that adopting the Together with Tenants charter provides an opportunity for organisations of all sizes and types to refocus their culture, and review their policies and structures to ensure they are driving increased accountability to residents.
Our new report shares more detail on the lessons learned by early adopters, which we hope will inspire and support other housing associations to adopt the charter in partnership with their residents.
I have spoken to so many housing associations who have been doing such brilliant work supporting and engaging with residents through the coronavirus crisis. And before the crisis hit, I saw many housing associations taking a unique and resident-led approach to engagement.
Together with Tenants will build on this great work – it is not about imposing a particular way of doing things, but showcasing that we’re a sector that values the voice and experience of residents.
We have outlined the steps that adopters will need to take on our website, including how we’ll support our members with this work.
I encourage all housing associations to now consider adopting the Together with Tenants charter – making a public commitment to working with residents to deliver meaningful change.
I’d also like to extend a huge thank you to our Tenant Advisory Panel and Member Steering Group for shaping and supporting this critical piece of work, and helping us to reach this critical point.
To sign up, or ask any questions about what it means to be an adopter, please get in touch with our Together with Tenants team.
Along with the charter, the Together with Tenants plan involves updating the NHF’s Code of Governance, to include a stronger requirement at board level to involve residents in decision-making.
The new code is due to be published soon, and we believe it will ensure boards are clear that a well-governed organisation must embed the principles of accountability and transparency. Taken together, the code and the charter demonstrate our sector’s commitment to building stronger more trusted relationships with residents.
There seems no doubt the Social Housing White Paper, when it is finally published later this year, will include measures aimed at improving the experience of social housing residents. While we want to make sure Together with Tenants complements other changes, it is right that we have not waited to be told what to do by the government or the regulator.
As landlords to over six million residents, our sector has responded to the important questions residents have asked, including those explored in the aftermath of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. But we can go further, and take the lead in accountability and resident oversight.
Adopting the Together with Tenants charter is an important next step in this journey, and I hope your organisation will join hundreds of other housing associations and residents in doing so.