As part of our ambition to create a stronger, more balanced relationship between tenants and housing associations, we have been working with the Centre for Public Scrutiny to establish a new national tenant advisory panel.
The Centre for Public Scrutiny is an independent charity specialising in governance, which has been appointed to set up, oversee and provide support to the panel.
The panel will guide, critique and shape our Together with Tenants work as it develops. The panel was selected following an open application process in May 2019.
What will the Tenant Advisory Panel do?
The panel is a group of housing association tenants who will bring a diverse range of experiences and insight to the Together with Tenants work. The panel includes two nominees from A Voice for Tenants Steering Group and the See the Person campaign.
The panel will:
- advise, support and challenge the ongoing development of the Together with Tenants work
- assess how the elements of the offer have been implemented at a sector level by examining evidence and information
- make recommendations to the Federation based on evidence/
Some areas that will not be covered by the panel include:
- the panel will not set policy or act as a complaint handling body
- members won’t be acting as representatives of their individual housing association
The panel will aim to meet quarterly and will sit for an initial period of 12 months.
Meet the Panel
1. Janet Boston
Janet has been a tenant for nearly 11 years and came to social housing late in life, due to the sudden and catastrophic illness of her late husband, who needed 24-hour care when he eventually left hospital. Janet and her husband lost their home and she had to move whilst he was still seriously ill, and gave up her full time work to care for him.
Janet threw herself wholeheartedly into tenant involvement in order to keep her brain ticking over and to learn what it was all about. She has served on many tenant committees, including presently the scrutiny and independent complaints panel. She was also a board member for nine years.
Janet was a county councillor for four years, during which she served on the social services committee, and also the police authority and fire service authority. She is also a hospital volunteer.
Her working life was spent with a rail operating company in various roles, most recently as a service quality assessor.
As soon as she heard about this panel, Janet thought, “this is for me!”. She says: “I am really looking forward to this new venture. I love meeting with and talking to new people, and I just want to help in any way I can to make things better.”
2. Rev James Olanipekun
Reverend James Olanipekun has lived in Poplar since 1991. He holds a Bachelors degree in theology, a national certificate in teacher training Level 3, and an NVQ in board governance. He was once a member of Tower Hamlets Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, a trustee of Tower Hamlets Street Pastors, Raine’s Foundation Trust, and Christ Apostolic Church. He is also the immediate past vice-chair of Poplar housing and regeneration community association board in East London and is the current chair of one of the estate boards in Poplar Harca stock.
Reverend James Olanipekun was a pioneer member of the Housing and Diversity Network London Region steering board. He recently trained and worked as a community researcher for Bromley by Bow Centre in East London on ‘What ingredients of a good life are’
Reverend James Olanipekun is a trained teacher and an author of six published books on Christian topics. He has been a volunteer pastor for over twenty years for a diverse congregation and was a recipient of the 2015 LBTH Civic Award for Outstanding Services to the community. Reverend James Olanipekun is happily married to Jummy and blessed with children who are also involved in the community positively.
3. Joyce Ward
Born in Lambeth, London, Joyce trained as a teacher at Redland Teacher Training College (later part of Bristol University) and started teaching in 1964.
She married in 1966 and will celebrate her son’s 50th birthday shortly. Over the next 40+ years, she taught in Oxfordshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Manchester, returning to Oxfordshire in 1990 to work in schools and a prison for young offenders.
Joyce ended her teaching career after 45 years, then working as a consultant for special education for young men in prisons across southern England.
Her work with Sovereign over the last few years has seen her heavily involved in engaging with residents. She helped to form their award winning ‘triangle of engagement’ and is chair of the resident and board partnership.
When she’s not doing this, Joyce loves to read and travel. When she was younger, she enjoyed fell walking and travelled extensively in Australia and New Zealand.
4. Ray Jones
After spending 12 successful years in the armed forces, Ray embarked on a career in distribution and logistics, spending the last 10 years in board-level positions.
He became a sheltered housing tenant in July 2007, and was so impressed by the quality of his living environment that he decided to give something back to his housing association by becoming the tenant rep for his scheme. The tenant reps meet monthly to improve services of Ray’s and the other 17 schemes within the group.
In September 2013, Ray became a tenant board member of Liverpool Mutual Homes. His first three years were spent as a member of the audit and risk group, during which time he was on a sub-committee that negotiated further refinancing with their lenders. Ray was also on the assets and investment committee.
In September 2016, he became chair of the landlords committee – a position he held until November 2018 – during which time he oversaw some major changes with a view to establishing clear communications channels between tenants, management, and the board.
Ray is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and serves on Liverpool City Council’s older persons’ health and wellbeing group.
5. Kiera Winstanley
Kiera has been a member of Preston Community Gateway tenants’ committee since January 2014.
She has been involved in social housing for the most part of the last 19 years. She was a director and board member of Moor Nook estate management board for approximately seven years, as well as belonging to many other groups.
She has also been involved in Scrutiny Live, and is a member of the A Voice for Tenants steering group.
As a tenant living in social housing, Kiera is interested in the way that the sector develops and changes, and believe that tenants are an integral part of the whole process, as well as in the management and delivery of the services provided by social housing groups.
6. Lizzie Spring
Lizzie Spring trained as a mental health social worker then worked in the children and families voluntary sector. She has also managed supported housing and an adult social care charity. She began renting from a housing association in 1987, to enable her to continue fostering.
At 60, Lizzie semi-retired. She set up a social enterprise to bring together women living on low incomes to design high-quality textile goods and sell them to the wealthy people who had moved into her gentrified area. Marketing ‘Sew Portobello’ on Twitter somehow drew her into many interactions with people involved in social housing, both professionals and tenants.
Lizzie has written articles about the sector for the Guardian and 24 Housing. Since the Grenfell fire, Lizzie has been part of the tenants' movement asking for a review, and change in power, of governance and regulation. She is also very interested in developing community-led housing.
7. Neal Wylde
Neal Wylde is 50 years old and has lived in rented accommodation for 32 years in both private and social housing.
For the last seven years, Neal has been an involved tenant and has sat on a number of panels within social housing. He was chair of an investigative panel looking to improve poor performing areas and trying to make recommendations that would benefit both tenant and landlord. Neal is passionate about ensuring the needs of tenants with disabilities are always taken into account and are at the heart of housing association decision-making.
Neal prides himself on always trying to play devil's advocate and listen to both sides fairly. He has had work experience in retail and wholesale, the motor industry and transport logistics. In all these trades, Neal has worked up to a managerial level, allowing him to experience all aspects of the job.
Neal has a wide variety of interests that help him broaden his view of life. He is happily married with no children.
8. Sharron Goodwin
Sharron is the mother to two grown up children and “granny to my two ‘grandsquids’, as I call them!”.
She took the plunge and decided to get an extra education, so she is now a student social worker studying at Manchester Metropolitan University and she also works for Derbyshire County Council in their library service.
In between studying, Sharron enjoys walking in her local countryside with her friends and her German Shepherd dog, especially when there is a nice beer garden to sit in along the way.
Sharron says she’s also a bit of a geek: “I pretend it’s to keep me current and ‘down with the kids’, but actually I just like playing Playstation games and watching superhero movies.”
9. Stephen Johnson
Stephen Johnson is 52 and was born and raised in London. He studied at Hammersmith and West London College and Durham University where he obtained a BA Honours Degree in Politics.
Stephen previously worked with London's homeless for six years at St. Martin in the Fields as Daycentre Coordinator. He has lived in social housing since 1994 in Notting Hill and is very active in resident involvement activities such as the Health and Disability Group provided by his landlord - recently merged Notting Hill Genesis (NHG). In 2010 Stephen helped set up Local Scrutiny Panels for tenants and leaseholders to scrutinise landlord performance, such as on repairs. Since 2014 he has been Chair of the Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Local Scrutiny Panel.
He feels strongly about anti-social behaviour (ASB) and how it is tackled within social housing, as well as how specific groups are affected by ASB and crime. Stephen is active with the Notting Hill Genesis LGBT residents' group and sits on an LGBT police community consultation committee that meets monthly at Kensington Police Station. Stephen also lives with health and disability issues and advocates for adaptations to allow full participation in meetings and other tenant involvement activities.
10. Sheila Capuano
Sheila is a 63 year-old divorcee, who was born and bred in Derbyshire and is now retired. She lives in a little fishing village in Northumberland called Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Sheila has three children who are now grown up with children of their own, who live in Derbyshire.
Sheila was educated at a grammar school with further education in between having her children. She has done a variety of jobs, from factory to office work.
In her spare time, she enjoys walking the dog, reading and sleeping.
11. Joseph De-Ville
Joseph De-Ville is 44 years old and married with three children. One of his children is 18 and has Autism, while Joseph also has Asperger’s.
Joseph likes all things housing related, and has gained a CIH – Certificate in Housing Practice Level 2, and an open award – Understanding Scrutiny in the Housing Service.
He has lived in four housing association properties with different providers. He has worked on tenant boards, scrutiny panels and design panels. Joseph brings with him a good aptitude for seeing things in new ways, and he is keen to explore ways to make things better.
12. Daisy Halford
Daisy Halford is a wife, mother and Rooftop Housing Volunteer, based in Evesham, Worcestershire.
She previously worked with children for nine years before moving into a small customer care team. She is a former residents’ excellence panel member, and has been volunteering with Rooftop for two and a half years.
She has been involved in scrutinising many aspects of housing, including repairs, and aids and adaptations. She spoke at the Together with Tenants summit on 1 May at Millennium Point in Birmingham, and has been to two consultation events on the Social Housing Green Paper. She also engaged with the Housing Minister at the time of the Green Paper. She is hoping to start a CIH Housing Practice course to further her knowledge of social housing.
13. Valerie Oldfield
Valerie Oldfield has been a social housing tenant for 33 years and an active tenant for 18 years. Valerie was voted in as a board member by residents for three consecutive terms, resulting in nine years on the board of her housing association. Four of those years were spent as vice-chair. As a board member, Valerie was part of the remuneration committee, was lead board member for resident involvement, as well as information technology, and was part of the merger working group.
Valerie has been active in many tenant involvement activities: a member of the performance review group, repairs group, scrutiny group, resident design group, readers’ panel, and a member and chair of the residents’ forum. Valerie also attends various residents’ focus groups.
Coming from a business, creative and community background, Valerie strongly believes in residents and their housing associations working together, and in the development of the relationship, understanding and services of social housing.
14. Camella Norford
Camella has been a social housing resident for over 20 years and has been active in tenant/landlord activities for all of those years. She has a professional background in housing management consultancy, research, policy development and community capacity building.
In the 1990s she provided consultancy services to local authorities and housing associations across England on issues which included tenant participation and involvement, housing management, crime reduction and concierge services and estate and neighbourhood regeneration. She lived and worked overseas for ten years providing training and capacity building services to NGOs in the Eastern Caribbean and later across Latin America and the Caribbean on social security policy development.
She holds a BSc in Sociology and Law from Brunel University and M.A in Social Policy and Administration from Goldsmiths College.
15. Matt Humphries
Matt has a strong interest in tenants’ voices being involved in decision making at the highest level within social housing. Working in his local community Matt sees the potential in tenants that he supports through his role at WHG and believes passionately in reducing the stigma towards social housing in general.