New engagement strategy will ensure the voice of social housing tenants are heard

Published: 30/01/2024
Woman offering support to a man during a friendly discussion

Ashford Borough Council is adopting a new tenant engagement strategy which places ‘engagement before action’ and aims to ensure that the voice of its thousands of social housing tenants are heard.

Details of the tenant engagement strategy were presented to Cabinet members this month, who were unanimous in endorsing an action plan for housing to ensure that we meet the needs of our tenants and Regulator of Social Housing standards.

Cabinet heard that the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 sets regulatory requirements that all registered providers of social housing must adhere to, to drive improvements in the quality of housing for tenants.

The Regulator has set standards and a Code of Practice to ensure that Ashford Borough Council and others in the sector engage with tenants, taking their views into account in decision-making and about how their housing services are delivered.

The Ashford strategy sets out our vision of ‘engagement before action’ involving our tenants by asking for their collaboration and input ahead of decisions being made about their housing service.

Councillors heard details about the authority’s commitments to improve communication and interaction with tenants, strengthen participation and empower our tenants. The strategy reinforces the need for the council to be accountable and open to being challenged.

The strategy will guide elected members, officers and tenants themselves in the role of the Engagement Team and the action plan “to ensure the voice of tenants is heard”.

Cllr Bill Barrett, Cabinet member for Homes and Homelessness, told Cabinet: “We are committed to improving the quality of life and the standard of homes of our tenants and leaseholders. By effectively engaging and collaborating we can work together to improve our housing service.

“This strategy provides a clear plan of action for our team to help residents become more involved, hold their landlord to account and drive positive changes. It provides reassurance for all stakeholders that we will dedicate resources to engagement and fulfil obligations set by the Regulator of Social Housing.

“I am personally very confident that by engaging with our tenants moving forwards more regularly and in a more in-depth manner this will allow us to improve the various services we provide.”

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