£250,000 funding announced for more than 1,500 new training opportunities

New investment to help more social housing tenants play a greater role in the way their homes and wider community are managed.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams yesterday (26 January 2015) announced new investment to help more social housing tenants play a greater role in the way their homes and wider community are managed.

Over 90,000 social housing tenants across England are benefiting from the government’s tenant empowerment programme, which supports social housing tenants to engage in, manage or control local services by working together.

And today, Mr Williams announced a further £250,000 to the Tenant Participation Advisory Service and Trafford Hall, extending the successful training provided under the tenant empowerment programme – providing more than 1,500 new training opportunities for social housing tenants, looking to get involved in the running of their neighbourhoods into 2015 to 2016.

Announcing the additional funding at a meeting of Tenant Participation Advisory Service members’ in London, Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

“People care about their neighbourhoods and want a say in how they evolve. As we have seen from inspiring examples across the country, where tenants play an active role in their housing services we have seen services delivering better value for money, more responsive services, and higher satisfaction than before.”

“That’s why we are providing a further £250,000 in funding, so more tenants will be able to gain a range of skills, supporting them in the world of work and beyond.”

“It is vital that tenants take up the opportunities available to them to take power back from their landlords, and take control over their own homes and to make the changes they want to see.”

Across the country there are examples where successful tenant engagement has resulted in increased tenant satisfaction, better delivery of services, financial savings for landlords and see increased confidence and skills of those involved. Previous examples include:

  • Russell Chambers residents in Camden setting up a communal cleaning services, improving the service provision to residents – over 90% of residents voted to continue to have tenants carrying out this new service
  • in Somerset, residents of Writhlington Court have taken on a gardening service that’s making savings of £50 per household each year – going straight back to the community

The government has also funded 4 national tenant organisations with the University of Birmingham to carry out a national review, to help make the business case for effective tenant engagement.

Further information

The tenant empowerment programme has agreed funding of £2 million for 2014 to 2015 and a further £1 million for 2015 to 2016.

The programme delivers on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) priority objective to put “communities in control” and deliver localism to some of the most challenging areas. The programme gives opportunities to the 8 million social housing tenants to influence, challenge and take control of their housing services and also play a wider role in their communities.

This training provision within the programme is delivered by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service and Trafford Hall on behalf of DCLG. It provides information, training, and capacity building to enable social housing tenants to challenge, influence or control how housing services are delivered to their communities, in order to improve the quality of life for residents. The programme supports activities over and above the activities that landlords’ should provide as part of their regulatory responsibilities.

The importance of local solutions to resolve local issues, including an enhanced role for tenant panels, was identified in the government’s review of social housing regulation.