Meet the chairs of your resident panels
This year, we ran a recruitment drive to get more residents involved with us to improve the services we provide to them. It was extremely successful with 130 residents registering an interest in getting involved.
As a result, we appointed two new chairs to our Local Panels, one in Hertford and one in London, and a total of nine new panel members to both. Now it's time for you to hear from the new chairs...
Phil Lyon, Chair of the Hertford & Outer London Resident Panel
I feel through our work on the resident panel we're asking the right questions of Network to help improve services and living conditions for all residents
I've been a resident for a year and saw the Network Homes advert looking for panel members, so I decided to apply as the chair for Hertford & Outer London Panel.
I wanted to use my experience and knowledge to help tenants like myself, and try to improve the services we all use and need from Network Homes. By representing tenants, I feel through our work on the Local Panel we're asking the right questions of Network to help improve services and living conditions for all residents. We'll also be able to help Network achieve their goals, which ultimately helps us all. The main focus is to improve services, communications and ideally for us to reduce the need to make complaints. No one wants to waste time making or dealing with complaints.
I'd encourage tenants to get involved and join their Local Panel. Also to learn about what’s happening, how we can make a difference and help our neighbours and ourselves to improve the quality of the place we live in.
Francis Hayden, Chair of the London Resident Panel
One of my main goals, as I continue to work with Network, is to improve communication to residents. That will include reaching people in different ways where possible, and according to their preference.
I've been a Network resident in the Westbourne Green area for more than 17 years, and I was appointed chair of the London Local Panel in June.
I work in information security, keeping hackers out and sensitive data in by designing, building and maintaining secure systems and processes. I spend a lot of time auditing and being audited, and I'm used to looking at things in detail to make sure they're working as intended. It's partly for that reason that I originally applied to join the Panel, but until I did so I wasn't even aware it existed. One of my main goals, as I continue to work with Network, is to improve communication to residents. That will include reaching people in different ways where possible, and according to their preference - for instance by email or text message and not just letters. Also by helping them to communicate more proactively with people in general to keep them informed about what's going on in their area and the work that's being done on their behalf.
One thing in particular that I think it's important to raise awareness of is that there are a number of opportunities for residents to get involved with how Network is run and how they make decisions, and there will soon be more. As a resident, it's easy to think of Network as a faceless, uncaring bureaucracy, but since having the chance to meet many of the people working there I've been surprised and impressed by the feeling of purpose within the organisation and the warmth with which I've been welcomed. The Local Panels are part of a sincere and genuine effort Network are making to listen to and engage with residents, and to give us a voice.
In addition to improving communication and engagement, one of the Panel's priorities at the moment is taking a detailed look at the repairs process. When I talk to people about Network, repairs are normally their biggest frustration. The Local Panel will be doing some in-depth analysis of the complaints and feedback Network receive about the repairs process, both good and bad, with the aim of questioning some of the assumptions underlying the current process and identifying ways in which it can be meaningfully improved. I strongly encourage everybody with an interest in doing so to get involved in Network's resident engagement activities, as it's a way you can make a real difference and improve the quality of Network's services for all residents.