Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 10th October 2012
Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing
Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15 Action Plan
Purpose of the Report
1. To update Scrutiny Committee on progress against the Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15 Action Plan.
1. That the update be noted.
Reason for the Recommendation
1. To meet the Committee's requirement of receiving quarterly progress reports.
2. It is a requirement of the Welsh Government, through the National Tenant Participation Strategy, that all social landlords in Wales produce a Local Tenant Participation Strategy.
3. In 2011 the Welsh Government announced the requirement for each Local Authority to submit an updated Tenant Participation Strategy to be assessed by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS).
4. In order to ensure continuing compliance with the Welsh Government, the Tenant Participation Strategy 2012 - 15 was adopted by the Council (C1620).
5. TPAS was required by the Welsh Government to assess all Tenant Participation Strategies produced by Registered Social Landlords and Local Authority Landlords. The results of the overall assessment of landlords across Wales can be found in Appendix 2.
6. TPAS also produced an individual assessment for each landlord and rated them as either; 1 - Good, 2 - Satisfactory or 3 - Scope for improvement. The Vale of Glamorgan Councils strategy was assessed as 'good' (Appendix 3). TPAS's review of the strategy concluded that:
'The strategy is clear and well structured with a good flow of strategic explanation through it; it is also informal and nicely presented. The strategy includes useful sections explaining some of the concepts used such as the pyramid of participation and outcome focus, and the web links and cross references to relevant further information are also useful. There is a good range of existing and planned TP activities with a strong commitment to mainstreaming TP responsibility across all staff and departments.
The strategy and action plan are both well outcome focused though there is a lack of outcomes about specific improvements to services and community life. The action plan is well structured with some good features particularly the separate summary of actions for each department; however it does not include actions for existing TP activities and there is an over emphasis on actions for monitoring and evaluation and not enough actions to practically achieve the outcomes'.
Relevant Issues and Options
7. The aim of the Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15 is to improve the quality and delivery of the housing service, contribute to wider community development and achieve full WHQS by increasing the participation and control that tenants have over the housing service and landlord function.
8. This is the long term goal of the strategy. It is translated into a number of objectives which are more specific:
Objective Number 1: To improve the day-to-day delivery of the housing service and to ensure that the services available are appropriate to the indentified needs and circumstances of our customers.
Objective Number 2: Ensure that the Council listens and learns from its communities, is honest in its approaches, transparent in its planning and decision making and accountable to tenants through the mainstreaming of tenant participation.
Objective Number 3: To enable tenants to have a greater influence over planning and reviewing services, decision making and budget setting by increasing their capacity to participate and removing barriers to involvement.
Objective Number 4: Improve the quality of life and the environment in the communities that tenants live in and create a strong sense of community in which residents feel they are able to make a contribution to the future of the area.
9. Each objective has a number of actions and 'intended outcomes' to evidence the achievements of the tenants, staff and housing service delivering the strategy.
10. Achievements against the action plan to date include:
· A tenant profiling questionnaire was sent to all council tenants and a 43% return rate was achieved. The information collected will assist the housing department to conduct equality monitoring, communicate with tenants in their language of choice and identify vulnerable households that may benefit from a referral to the Supporting People or money advice services.
· A mystery shopping exercise was conducted by the Tenant Engagement Associates (TEAs) to review the service offered by C1V. The exercise reflected positively on the service and provided an opportunity for the TEAs to put the skills they had learnt in training into practice.
· Suggestion boxes and feedback forms have been installed in all sheltered housing schemes and the housing reception in the Civic Offices. These boxes are regularly emptied by the Tenant Liaison Officers and the comments and feedback received is fed back to housing management.
· Four 'Meet the Contractor' events were organised, one in each of the Housing Improvement Programme areas. The events were organised by the contractors appointed to the Housing Improvement Programme and provided tenants with an opportunity for tenants to see the kitchens and bathrooms that will be available to them. The events were well attended by tenants and feedback received very positive.
· Fourteen tenants attended the TPAS course entitled 'What is Tenant Scrutiny' to learn about the role of tenant scrutiny, the skills needed and how it can help to improve and inform the delivery of the housing service.
11. The tenants Quality and Design Forum visited a number of void Council properties after the programme of housing improvement works had been completed. The tenants who attended fed back to tenant and resident groups on the work that will be undertaken on properties to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
12. The Vale Standard newsletter has continued to be published quarterly.
13. All teams in Public Sector Housing keep a record of the tenant and community events that staff attend as informal opportunities for engagement with tenants. Events attended this financial year include a Health and Learning Exchange, the Colcot Fun Day, the Older Persons Forum, Older Persons Day and a Hafod Care Conference.
14. All team managers have attended corporate complaints handling training and each team manager is responsible for recording and responding to the complaints relating to their service area.
15. A member of the Homelessness and Housing Advice Team attends a weekly MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) meeting to discuss the multi agency approach to addressing current domestic abuse cases. Regular meetings are held between the Housing department and Atal Y Fro and staff members regularly attend the domestic abuse forum. Partnership working has facilitated the development of a referral process for people experiencing domestic abuse to access 'target hardening' service.
16. Postcard sized satisfaction and feedback questionnaires are given to people accessing the housing advice drop in service on the 15th of each month (or the next working day) and larger questionnaires are sent to those clients leaving temporary accommodation on the same date. Prepaid envelopes are provided to encourage their return. The completed questionnaires are then recorded on an in-house database.
17. The Supporting People Team has reviewed housing related support services provided by Hafod Housing Association, Atal Y Fro, Llamau and Taff Housing Association this financial year. Each service review has included interviews with 20% of service users and gathers their views on the service they receive. This information is used to inform and improve service delivery.
18. A review of the tenants' governance structure is currently being conducted. Changes to the structure are anticipated to be implemented by January 2013. Following these changes the action plan will be reviewed. The updated action plan will include target dates and address the issues raised in the TPAS assessment of the strategy, including;
· Providing greater detail in relation to the outcomes about specific improvements to services and community life.
· Including more detailed actions for existing tenant participation activities in order to show how outcomes will be achieved.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
19. Any costs required to achieve the actions identified will be met from existing budgets within the Housing Revenue Account.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
20. No implications identified.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
21. There are no direct legal implications.
Crime and Disorder Implications
22. Improving services in line with tenants' wishes and involving them in the process will improve community cohesion and therefore reduce crime and disorder.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
23. The development of a new Tenant Participation Strategy will incorporate equalities information in order to ensure the strategy and related actions are relevant and accessible to all Vale of Glamorgan tenants.
24. This report is consistent with the corporate and service area lead objectives of the Council Corporate Objective 'to provide services that meet customer need'.
Policy Framework and Budget
25. This report is consistent with the Policy Framework and Budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
26. There has been no individual ward member consultation in respect of this report as it is an issue that affects many areas of the Vale of Glamorgan where Council owned properties are located.
27. Consultation was undertaken with tenant representatives in the development of the Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15 and action plan
1. Vale of Glamorgan Council, Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15
2. LTPS Assessment Report 2011 - Vale of Glamorgan CBC
3. TPAS - Local Tenant Participation Strategy Assessments Report 2012
4. Vale of Glamorgan Council, Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15 Action Plan
Jenny Lewington - Housing Strategy Officer
Operational Manager for Public Housing Services
Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing