Tenant committees

Content owner : housing@knh.org.uk Last updated : 23/05/16

About tenant committees

Tenant & resident committees (TRCs) give tenants and residents the opportunity to influence KNH and Kirklees Council decisions affecting their areas. These meetings are open to the public.

The committees represent each of the four neighbourhoods that KNH covers but they have joined together to form two committees: Batley, Spen & Dewsbury and Huddersfield North & South

Who can sit on a tenant and resident committee

A tenant and resident committee is made up of:

  • A representative and substitute elected from each of the tenants and residents associations in the neighbourhood
  • The Tenant Director for the neighbourhood who acts as an observer and link with the main KNH Board
  • Community voices
  • Local councillors are also invited to attend

Who can we put forward to represent us?

The two people you put forward must live in the area either in a council house or former council house originally sold under Right-to-Buy. Representatives are elected by their TRA at its annual general meeting. Members of the Board or an employee of KNH cannot be tenant committee representatives because of the possible conflict of interest.

Are the meetings open to the public?

Yes - meetings are generally open to the public to observe but they will be asked to leave if there are any confidential matters being discussed. Members of the public are not normally allowed to speak or ask questions but can do so, at the discretion of the Chair, if what they want to say is relevant to the agenda item. The Chair should never allow any members of the public to dominate or disrupt the meeting in any way.

The tenant and residential committees' powers

The Board are still responsible for making any final decisions but this structure allows tenants' views to be fed directly into the decision making process. Additionally, as the tenant Director of the KNH Board for the area will be present at the TRC, they will be aware of the committees' views when attending the Board.

Why are they important?

They offer a chance to contribute to setting the priorities for neighbourhoods. Various strategy and policy documents are presented to committees for comment and suggestions and any concerns raised at committee are fed back to the KNH Board, so there is a direct channel to the highest level decision makers

Kirklees Council also consults with the committees about key housing decisions and the annual budget and committees may refer relevant items of concern to District Committees for wider discussion if they think it would be useful.

Organisation of committee meetings

When are meetings held?

Meetings are normally held to coincide with meetings of the KNH Board. Additional meetings may be called if there are any urgent items to be discussed.

How will decisions be made?

Where possible, decisions will be taken by a consensus of opinion. Where a vote is needed each tenants and residents association will have one vote, which can be cast by their representative on the committee or their substitute if the representative is not present.

At least a third of those tenants and residents associations entitled to attend at the tenant committee must be represented for a decision to be taken by the committee. The tenant director does not have a vote.

Voting will normally be done by the show of hands. The TRC support worker will hand out voting cards to those entitled to vote before the vote is taken to prevent any confusion about who has the right to vote that evening.

A secret ballot can be arranged if the meeting prefers.

Who will chair the meetings?

An election is held annually to elect a Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year from the representatives of the tenants and residents associations. These elections can be conducted by a secret ballot.

Those standing for election as Chair of the Committee must live in a property rented from the council. This restriction does not apply to the Vice Chair.

Who decides what is discussed at each tenant committee?

A planning group will meet about a month before each cycle of TRC meetings to decide what should be included on the agenda and put together a rolling programme of items for future meetings.

This group will consist of:

  • The chairs and vice chairs of the committees
  • Senior managers of KNH.

The rolling programme will be based on what is coming up at the KNH Board and any requests for items from tenants and residents associations or CWC.

There are several ways that you can ask for an item to be put onto a future tenant committee agenda.

You can:

  • Ask at the meeting
  • Use the post-card included in your TRA pack
  • Telephone or email the tenant committee support worker.

Your request will first be considered by the agenda planning group, who may get back to you for further clarification.

What happens if someone behaves badly at the meeting?

A code of conduct is in place and if someone behaves badly at a meeting, the Chair, if it is deemed necessary can ask that person to leave and their behaviour will be reported to a senior manager in KNH to investigate. If this happens more than once they will be excluded permanently.

This includes the use of any racial or other offensive statements, jokes or remarks whether aimed at another individual present at the meeting or not, disruptive behaviour and the use of threats or intimidation towards other members.

Help for members

Is transport available to get to the meetings?

Yes - where there are sufficient numbers, arrangements will be made for a minibus to pick people up and drop them off afterwards, otherwise you will be able to claim expenses.

Where possible you are encouraged to use public transport or share a lift to keep costs down. The cost of taxis or any other expenses can only be paid with prior arrangement with the tenant committee support worker.

To claim your expenses you should always complete an expenses claim form. Copies of this form can be found in your tenant committee pack or are available from the support worker.

The costs of public transport can be repaid in cash on the night by handing in your completed expenses claim form to the tenant committee support worker with a bus or train ticket where possible.

If you attend by car, you will be paid by the number of miles travelled. This includes any additional miles used to give someone else a lift. Your completed expenses claim form should be either handed to the support worker or posted to the Finance Manager based at Perseverance House. You will then be sent a cheque for the amount claimed. To save on administration costs, please claim for two or three meetings at a time, if this is possible.

Will training be provided?

Yes - training sessions can be arranged which will benefit TRC members. Attendance at these is optional.