Why you should adopt the charter

Together with Tenants is our opportunity to put residents at the heart of strategic decision-making, strengthen our accountability, and work together to deliver positive change for housing associations and residents. 

There are some long-standing questions facing our sector about our relationship with residents, particularly around accountability. They have become more prominent since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, and throughout the subsequent inquiry. 

The ministerial roadshows leading up to the Social Housing Green Paper, published in 2018, exposed real differences in the way residents feel about social housing and their landlords. Despite being generally positive about social housing and housing associations, the green paper set out a clear expectation for change in the relationship between residents and housing associations. 

The charter is an opportunity to show leadership in addressing this. It challenges our sector to go further, and for housing associations to take the lead in accountability and resident oversight.

So far over 130 housing associations have adopted the charter. To join them, or find out more, email togetherwithtenants@housing.org.uk. Further information on how we’ll support adopters, and what is expected from adopters, is outlined below. 

How we’ll support adopters

By signing up as a Together with Tenants adopter, you’ll be sent a welcome pack and benefit from: 

  • Networks: We’ll provide opportunities for adopters to share challenges, advice and practice as you work through the plan. Whether your organisation is starting from scratch, or already has a well-developed model of resident oversight, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with others. 
  • Guidance: We’ll publish regular briefings and updates covering the most common challenges experienced by early adopters, as well as ideas for how to go further with the plan and content produced by and for residents. 
  • Learning opportunities: We’ll arrange and facilitate opportunities for adopters to reflect on your progress and consider the future of resident and landlord relationships. We’ll create space for adopters to learn from each other, from residents, and from other sectors.
  • Recognition: We’ll provide a Together with Tenants adopter badge for you to use on your website and email signature, to demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to building a stronger relationship with residents. 

What we expect from adopters

Being a Together with Tenants adopter is a commitment to:

  • Establish meaningful resident engagement in decision making. 
  • Work collaboratively with residents to design mechanisms for oversight.
  • Support residents to hold your organisation to account. 
  • Be open to the challenges that all of this brings.

Adopting the charter means putting the charter commitments into practice, and working with residents to ensure they have a strong role in overseeing the implementation of the charter, with a direct link to your board. Practically, this means:

  • Taking the charter to your board. 
  • Holding some form of consultation with residents about the charter.
  • Holding some form of consultation with colleagues about the charter. 

Once adopters have done this, and have agreed a way forward, adopters should publicise their adopter commitments and publicise how residents will oversee the commitments made, with regular updates. This could be done through key performance indicator reporting, or via new governance structures or communication methods.

Finally, adopters will be part of a learning journey, by joining a peer network, signing up to our learning opportunities, establishing a new partnership group, or another method. 

Implementing Together with Tenants, and being true to the intent behind it, will require effort and energy. Adopters will be supported on this journey by hundreds of other housing associations and residents, committed to delivering real, lasting change for our sector. 

To become an adopter, or find out more, email togetherwithtenants@housing.org.uk.

Who to speak to

Fleur Priest-Stephens, Policy Leader