Alex Lyness-Brown has been a Together Housing resident for six years. In that time, he has become a passionate ally for both social landlords and resident engagement, but more specifically, he champions ‘meaningful engagement’ as opposed to ‘tick box exercises’.
Recent changes to the way social landlords are being held to account have shifted the culture of resident engagement. The new Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 and Tenant Satisfaction Measures are at the forefront of Together Housing’s work to move with the shift.
During his speech at the Tenant Engagement Conference in Manchester, Alex shared his experience with Together Housing’s progressive approach.
He said: “Together Housing have embraced resident engagement long before the Social Housing Act. They have groups not only covering protected characteristics such as race, sexuality and disability, but also around complaints, ASB, communal cleaning and ground keeping.”
Together Housing residents have the opportunity to influence change within organisation. The northern housing provider hosts several panels and groups including investment strategy panels, service charge and rent review panels and the Customer Voice Group (CVG).
Following successful TPAS accreditation, the CVG is moving into the strategic framework, feeding directly into the Operations Committee and Board. The Scrutiny Panel has been replaced with a larger and more diverse scrutiny pool – where residents are empowered to dive deep into issues and hold the association to account.
Alex added: “I felt honoured to have been able to be a spokesperson for a topic that lies at the heart of our communities. Residents want more than just a box checked on a form – they want to be heard.
“Together Housing have been making influential strides to achieve this for some time now. This holds a considerable amount of value to me as a resident and indicates my landlord is one that will listen to us and act on what we said is most important to us.”
Debbie Potter, Resident Engagement Manager for Together Housing said: “Resident Engagement is a crucial element in the operational and social responsibilities of housing providers. Together Housing holds residents’ views in high esteem when it comes to decision making, further shaping much of our focus groups and communication channels. I am proud of the work we do as a social landlord to give residents a platform and I look forward to doing more to keep this momentum of change going.”