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BLOG: Our progress on Together with Tenants initiative

08 June 2021

By Shauna Hutchinson, Resident Engagement Manager

National Housing Federation's Together with tenants bannerIt seems like a long time ago that we shared the proud news of Network Homes becoming ‘early-adopters’ of the National Housing Federation’s Together with Tenants, a sector-wide initiative focused on strengthening the relationship between residents and housing association landlords. In March 2019, we shared some of the ideas we had to improve the ways we hear from residents to influence services and further empower the resident voice, irrespective of tenure type. Since then, we’ve been busy bringing these ideas to life.

Look back at what’s been happening over the last two years

Shauna Hutchinson (5)

We’ve been embracing opportunities to hear from people outside of the formal resident engagement groups as we noticed, from the 2017 Big Conversation, that you valued being able to share feedback without being formally committed to one of our involvement opportunities.

Shauna Hutchinson, Resident Engagement Manager

We relaunched our involvement opportunities in February 2020 as the #residentsforchange campaign and made some tweaks to the offer to make them more accessible to residents. The changes make it easier for everyone to see what would suit their circumstances or desire to be involved. At the same time, we also started a series of Pop-Up events to get to know more residents and for residents to get to know the different teams they may come in contact with at Network Homes.

In April 2020, we launched our new strategic objective to ‘Strengthen residents trust in us’. We worked on the creation of this objective in collaboration with residents over several months to be impactful to residents and meaningful for all colleagues at Network to embrace and strive towards.

In the past year, despite a giant spanner being thrown in the works, we’ve:

  • Delivered our transparency and resident engagement action plan
  • Consulted on a Building Safety Resident Engagement Strategy
  • Continued to involve more residents in our formal resident engagement activities
  • Moved our physical Pop-up events to online virtual events consisting of scheme meetings and themed discussion meetings such as celebrating diverse communities and the strength of the resident voice. The Building Safety Team also host webinars for affected schemes
  • Hosted localised telephone surgeries
  • Conducted a Readers Group review of standardised communication for Anti-Social Behaviour and the Annual Rent Increase letter.
  • Consulted on the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy
  • Shared corporate objectives with all colleagues for the new strategic objective to contribute to strengthen residents trust in us.
  • Delivered in-house briefings, mandatory to all colleagues, following the release of the Social Housing White Paper and invited involved residents to hear how this will impact the way Network Homes work and their role as the informed resident voice
  • Launched ‘Lessons Learnt’ sessions to encourage internal continuous improvement open to all Board Members, colleagues and involved residents.
  • Launched a new Customer Service Strategy
  • Reviewed our Customer Service Charter to ensure it is aligned with the Together With Tenants Charter
  • Delivered a resident engagement consultation, via post, to all residents for The Big Conversation 2020 which also helped us gather more accurate resident information and signpost residents to helpful services.
  • Continued delivery of Resident Panel Meetings for both London and Herts and Outer London
  • Held a resident focus group for reviewing our Transparency and Resident Engagement Strategy.

We also have and continue to explore ways of making our decision-making processes more transparent to highlight the intricate governance requirements for Network Homes. For example, we publish updates from our Board meetings which you can see in the Vlogs from our Chief Executives. If there’s information we can share, based on ‘if residents need to/should know’ or we think would be useful to know about – we will, and will find a way to make it simple. This is part of our commitment to transparency.

What’s next?

We’re currently concluding a Sprint Scrutiny of our Day-to-Day repairs service for London and a Mystery Shop into Data Protection. We’re also working on an updated Resident Engagement Strategy to better reflect the expectations of the Social Housing White Paper.

We’re hopeful we’ll be able to get back to having face to face events soon, in a safe format, to hear from you as we continue to work to strengthen residents trust in us and deliver the Together with Tenants Charter. But for now, you can take a look at our online events schedule or even suggest a topic for our themed events by emailing get-involved@networkhomes.org.uk.

Until then, keep an eye out for how you can be involved, join online events or even be invited to help us influence the government as part of opportunities we have as members of the G15, a group of London’s largest housing associations.

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