News

New charter gives tenants greater say in local services

Release Date: 20-Aug-2012

Kirklees tenants can look forward to continuing involvement in decisions affecting their homes, thanks to a new tenant participation charter that has just been launched.
Kim Brear (Kirklees Council), Simon Rogers (KNH,  Cllr David Sheard (Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council), Cora Carter MBE & Patricia Hillary (KFTRA)

Kim Brear (Kirklees Council), Simon Rogers (KNH, Cllr David Sheard (Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council), Cora Carter MBE & Patricia Hillary (KFTRA)

The seventh edition of the Kirklees Tenant Participation Charter was officially launched at the Kirklees Federation of Tenant & Resident Association’s (KFTRA) annual conference last week.

The new charter seeks to build on a long and proud tradition of tenant participation in Kirklees and outlines the many ways in which tenants can help shape the design and delivery of local services, including independent tenant scrutiny of housing services, helping choose contractors and staff and setting service standards.

The charter is an agreement between KNH, Kirklees Council and KFTRA, which sets out how tenants, residents and leaseholders can expect to be involved in decisions that affect them and how they can get involved in decision-making processes. It has been developed with a group of residents from estates managed by KNH, who have guided both the content and the format.

Cora Carter MBE, chair of KFTRA and KNH Board of Directors, said: “This year the Kirklees tenant movement is celebrating its 25th year of working for the rights of tenants.

“Over that time there have been many changes for the better but none more important than the opportunities to be become involved in how important decisions that affect tenants are made. My expectation is that this new charter will help raise awareness of the many ways in which individual tenants can get involved and make a real difference to local services and to local communities.”

Simon Rogers, Chief Executive of KNH, which manages council housing in Kirklees, added: “Kirklees was one of the first places in the country to introduce a tenants’ charter. Sixteen years down the line, tenant involvement has become integral to the way council housing is run and how important service delivery and investment decisions are taken.

“The challenge of the next few years will be to promote the opportunities described in the Charter to ensure that even more tenants and residents become involved in the work of KNH.”

Cllr David Sheard, Deputy Leader of the council, said: “Kirklees has been recognised time and again for the pioneering way that tenants shape housing services and KFTRA has played a huge role in making that happen.

“The council’s ambition is that all members of the community feel that they are listened to and have a real say in decisions about where they live and the services they receive. The latest edition of the charter demonstrates our commitment to making that happen.”

The new charter remains the definitive guide for tenants who want to know how they can get involved but in addition includes a handy description of the level of commitment involved in each type of engagement activity. The charter describes 29 different ways of getting involved with KNH, including:

• Tenant and resident associations – working together to improve the estates where they live and to build community spirit
• Community events – coming together to have fun, get to know neighbours and talk to housing staff about any issues
• Taking part in tenant scrutiny – critically examining a KNH service and recommending improvements.
• Working groups and forums – focusing on specific issues, for example, repairs
• Tenant committees and area forums – regular meetings with councillors and housing managers to exchange information and raise concerns
• Estate inspections – working with housing staff to identify environmental improvements

KNH also offers support to tenants who want to get more involved through practical and financial help in setting up and running residents' groups and free access to training programmes organised by KNH staff and the tenants’ federation.

Copies of the new charter will be distributed to all tenant and resident associations and is also available on the KNH website – see related links on the right side of this page

For more information, contact Darren Wilson, Community Engagement Manager on 01484 223215 or Darren.wilson@knh.org.uk