Beyond the tick-box exercise
All social landlords in Leeds will have to agree local standards of service with their tenants before next summer.
This is a great opportunity for tenants to get more say in local decisions and win improvements to the service they have long wanted.
The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) is the new regulator for social housing. It took over the regulation of housing associations in December 2008 and will regulate Councils and ALMO housing from April 2010.
Social housing is regulated to ensure that rents are affordable and that high quality services are delivered fairly to tenants. As the new regulator, the TSA consulted tenants through a National Conversation that involved over 27,000 tenants last year.
Tenants were asked what services were most important to them, and how they should be delivered. The TSA is now setting new national standards for social landlords. But the key detail will have to be worked out by each landlord with their tenants.
All social housing landlords – including housing associations and ALMOs – must agree Local Standards in partnership with their tenants by 1 April 2011. By October this year all landlords must publish their detailed plans on how they propose to agree these new Local Standards with tenants.
The TSA says that tenants must have the opportunity to be involved in the management of their homes (including, for example, in relation to the repairs programme and choice of main contractors) and they must be able to influence their registered provider’s strategic priorities. The new regulator expects all landlords to involve tenants in monitoring performance. It recommends that landlords have an independent tenants scrutiny panel with power to inspect all housing services and insist on corrective action.
Local Standards must be agreed for:
- Quality of accommodation and repairs and maintenance
- Neighbourhood management and anti-social behaviour
- Tenant Involvement and Empowerment
These Local Standards should say how performance will be monitored and reported to tenants, how tenants can be involved in scrutinising performance, what happens if they are not met and how local standards can be reviewed.They must be in place by April 2011.
Leeds Tenants Federation is holding three local meetings to discuss these standards with residents and spread good practice about tenant scrutiny. See here for details
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