Reflecting on the last year (September 2017 – September 2018), I am very proud of the work that the Tenant Quality Forum has undertaken and the progress made. Ensuring that tenants have a strong voice and real influence is critical.
Importantly we gave feedback that the previous repairs policy was not working for tenants. We worked with staff to find out what was wrong, what needed to change and made suggestions for improvements. After much debate and hard work from all, the new repairs procedure was approved and launched. We can already see from feedback from tenants that the changes have improved the repairs service.
The Forum wants to see our estates and neighbourhoods looking as good as they can and we were really pleased that Tai Calon recognised the need to focus on this matter. Earlier this year we held a number of sessions on this, helping establish what a good neighbourhood should look like, agreeing standards and descriptions that both tenants and staff can use.
Another key service area that we have worked on is the window programme. After being involved in choosing the contractor we were confident that the programme would run smoothly. Initially our scrutiny of performance seemed to indicate that all was well. However, feedback from tenants and our own experience showed that all was not working to plan. We held a series of meetings with the contractor and staff and highlighted what had gone wrong and what needed to change. Improvements have been promised including better communication with tenants.
In January we were briefed on and involved in setting budgets from April 2018 to April 2019, we supported decisions that helped ensure the majority of resources continued to be spent on front line services such as repairs and investing in our homes. These services must be paid for and we understand that our rent is paid to cover these costs. We did everything we could to lobby against the proposed rent increase. Representatives of the Forum went to the relevant Board meeting to have our say and give our feedback and opposition to the proposed increase. We were very disappointed that in times when many tenants are struggling, a rent increase well above inflation was agreed. We will continue to challenge Tai Calon over these key issues, including rent levels. We want Tai Calon to give a good service but at a cost that our tenants can afford.
I am confident that moving forward we have a strong Tenant Quality Forum with members that are capable of challenging and working in partnership with Tai Calon to help develop even better services for tenants.
Thank you and we look forward to the next year.
Elaine Townsend – Chair of Tenant Quality Forum