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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 13th February 2013

 

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.

Recommendation

1.             That the update be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To meet the Committee's requirement of receiving quarterly progress reports.

Background

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 Cabinet (Minute No. C1620).

5.             TPAS were 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 Council's strategy was assessed as 'good'. 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 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.        The Tenant Participation Strategy action plan (Appendix 1) has been updated to:

  • Include a single list of actions in the corporate reporting format.
  • Provide greater detail in relation to success criteria.  
  • Include start and target dates.
  • Progress to date

11.        Notable progress to date, includes:

  • Completion of the Tenant Profile Survey.
  • Introduction of a satisfaction form for people allocated homes via Homes4U.
  • Updated satisfaction forms for the Homelessness and Housing Advice Service.
  • Equality monitoring of housing application forms has been integrated onto the electronic OHMS system to allow analysis of the information. The new recording process will come into effect on 1st April 2013.
  • Supporting People have conducted service reviews of the service providers who form part of the Tenant Support Scheme contract, including interviews with 20% of service users.
  • The Sanctuary Project, which has been set up to assist victims of domestic abuse to remain in their own home with additional security if they think that it is appropriate, now operational. A referral process has been developed; Supporting People and Housing Management are able to make referrals.

12.        A review of the tenant's governance structure was conducted during 2012 and the recommendations were recently reported to this Committee (Minute 630). Changes to the structure will be implemented from April 2013 onwards.

13.        Following the previous report to Scrutiny (Minute 421), Members requested that more detailed actions for existing tenant participation activities be included, in order to show how outcomes will be achieved. These actions will be included in the next report to Scrutiny in order to reflect the new governance structure.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.        Resources for Tenant Engagement across the Vale now only includes the Tenant Development Co-ordinator's role. The reason being that the previous "Assistant" position has been re-designated as a Tenant Liaison Officer role in overseeing the welfare needs of tenants for the Housing Improvement Programme. This may affect the delivery and timing of some actions in the Tenant Participation Strategy.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.        No implications identified.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        There are no direct legal implications.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        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)

18.        The Tenant Participation Strategy incorporates the development of equality monitoring information and improved analysis; ensuring the strategy and related actions are relevant and accessible to all Vale of Glamorgan tenants.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        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

20.        This report is consistent with the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        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.

Background Papers

Vale of Glamorgan Council, Tenant Participation Strategy 2012-15

 

Contact Officer

Jenny Lewington - Housing Strategy Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Mike Ingram - Operational Manager for Public Housing Services

Simon Davies - Project Manager

Mike Walsh - Legal Services

Clive Teague - Financial Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

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