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Resident engagement in the future

TPAS and PlaceShapers have come together on this project to explore and find answers to the question of the future shape of tenant engagement within PlaceShapers organisations. What will be fit for purpose and effective today and for years to come?

Following a series of regional events, a report sets out findings and next steps which include members 'testing' this with their residents. Read the full report here.

The ten key points are:

1. Organisations need to constantly strive and re-invent to make engagement inclusive and to have a wide reach into the community. Engagement can’t stand still but neither should there always be the need to constantly re-invent. Organisations need to retain what’s working as well as trying the new. Think about how people’s expectations of how they would like to engage will change as society changes. Less “done to”, more “done with”.

2. Include options that are different, varied, appropriate and relevant. Not all residents and tenants will want engage all the time but those who do should find options that work for them. In order to get tenants to work on more detailed projects such as scrutiny or on the board, organisations need to cast a wide net of contact points and opportunities for informal involvement so as to reach as many as possible at different stages of engagement.

3. Scrutiny functions work and have a vital role to play in the future. Make them flexible, make them accountable but always make sure the work of the tenant scrutiny function is communicated well, acted upon and given respect by Board and staff.

4. Understand the importance of physical as well as online and digital engagement. Getting the mix right is vital and getting technology to be an enabler for greater interaction is key. This needs a multi-channel approach that ensures insight and decision making are spread widely across more tenants and communities. When a few tenants are in a decision-making role it needs to be clear on what basis decisions are being made and how the voice of wider tenant consultation/input was implemented.

5. Organisations need to gain the trust of their communities in order to create advocates for the future. Landlords need to continually assess their relationship with their current tenant base and continually reflect on how they are listening. This means understanding the direct and indirect influences and identifying where you they can make most impact to gain trust. Build trust now for respect in the future.

6. Recognise the importance of clear accountability and mechanisms for redress. This builds trust and transparency as an organisation. In a social media world, organisations will no longer be able to control the narrative. Boards and staff need to get close to their communities so problems are dealt with before they spiral online.

7. Be at the heart of designing and creating services that are informed by data, customer preferences and choice to deliver personalised services. Focus on the whole customer experience rather than just looking at customer service as a function. What are your customers truly saying about you?

8. PlaceShapers are clear they have a role right at the heart of wider community work and investment and could be advocates in getting communities more involved in local democratic frameworks to enable them to be part of wider local, regional and national solutions. The future is likely to be PlaceShapers more as community catalysts or enablers rather than just a housing provider.

9. Investing in listening to tenants is as important as investing in your assets. Both are there for the long term. Building new homes will require building new communities from the start. Don’t leave that to chance but take a strategic approach to building engagement mechanisms even before the first brick is laid.

10. PlaceShapers should own their own future and have the capability to lead the sector in showing what engagement could be. No matter where Government policy may veer in the future, PlaceShapers can take the lead on listening to tenants now and truly embedding the ethos in their organisations for the long term. Having the right culture that can shift, adapt is crucial.

PlaceShapers Report June 2018 - The Future JPEG  Shape of Engagement-1 copy

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