Tenant Participation Strategy
We seek to involve our tenants in the development and monitoring of our housing services.
We have prepared a tenant participation strategy for Aberdeenshire in partnership with our tenants which includes:
- A joint statement of aims by which tenant participation will be developed within Aberdeenshire
- A joint action plan detailing how and when these aims will be achieved
- A statement of resources available to support implementation of the action plan
- A communications strategy to facilitate implementation of the action plan
- An equal opportunities framework within which Tenant Participation will operate
Mission and aim
The mission of the strategy is to make sure all our tenants have the opportunity to take an active part in the development of high quality housing services across Aberdeenshire.
The aim of the strategy is to make sure all our tenants have the opportunity to input to decision-making processes and to influence decisions that affect their homes. This includes:
- housing policies
- housing conditions
- standards of housing and related services
The objective of the strategy is to formulate and agree a statement of aims and an action planning process between Aberdeenshire Council and our tenants. The aims will be regularly reviewed and developed over time to reflect the changing environment of housing within Aberdeenshire.
Who is covered by the strategy?
The strategy covers all groups and individuals in Aberdeenshire who may be involved in tenant participation initiatives. This includes:
- Aberdeenshire Council tenants' groups and individual tenants
- potential users of the Council's housing service, and
- councillors and employees of Aberdeenshire Council
Other stakeholders affected by this strategy include:
- Aberdeenshire Council's community planning and community safety partners
- owner-occupiers sharing communal facilities with Aberdeenshire Council tenants
- community groups with interests of relevance to Aberdeenshire Council tenants
- external agencies which provide services on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council as landlord
Key principles for effective tenant participation in Aberdeenshire
The following key principles have been endorsed by Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeenshire tenants' organisations promoting a consensus about good tenant participation practice:
- Tenant participation requires mutual trust, respect and partnership between tenants, councillors and council officers at all levels, working together towards a common goal of better housing conditions and housing services.
- Tenant participation practice should be seen as a continuous process where information, ideas and power are shared, and where solutions to problems are sought on a consensus basis.
- Good tenant participation allows all parties to contribute to the agenda. All participants require to have the information needed to consider issues properly. That information needs to be clear, timely and accessible to take account of equal opportunities. The decisions made on the information need to be communicated speedily.
- Processes of decision making should be open, clear, publicly accountable and involve all key stakeholders.
- Adequate time should be given to tenants to consider issues fully. Tenants should have the opportunity to work out a common view in advance of meeting landlord's representatives.
- Good tenant participation needs the landlord to acknowledge the independence of tenants' organisations.
- Good working relationships evolve gradually; they must be flexible enough to adapt to local circumstances and should involve named contact persons.
- Tenants organisations require adequate resources for organisation, training and support. Tenant organisations should negotiate and agree the nature and level of these resources with landlords and be fully accountable to the funding body for the use of these resources.
- Tenant participation in rural areas must be tailored to suit the particular circumstances and needs of tenants in such communities, recognising specific problems of access and transport.
- Tenant participation must comply with legislation surrounding equal opportunities. Good practice in participation removes barriers to effective participation arising from ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, geographic location, special needs, language differences, learning difficulties or disability.
Statements of intent
Our tenant participation strategy relies upon the shared commitment of both landlord and tenant.
- Involve our tenants as partners in considering matters affecting their communities and recognise the collective concerns of our tenants.
- Support and encourage the development of effective tenants' organisations in every area of Aberdeenshire and agree recognition criteria with tenants.
- Work directly with registered tenant organisations (RTOs) and maintain a register of those tenant organisations which meet the criteria set by the Scottish Executive and have successfully applied for registration.
- In consultation with tenants, assess, review and agree the level and source of resources that are available and committed to implement the tenant participation strategy and to sustain and promote good tenant participation practice in Aberdeenshire.
- Acknowledge the importance of independent advice to tenants and agree with tenants arrangements for resourcing this independent advice.
- Recognise and respect the rights of tenants' organisations to be independent of Aberdeenshire Council.
- Make sure councillors, management and front-line staff are provided with adequate information and training to work in partnership with tenants on housing service issues.
- Give clear information on housing services to all its tenants, making sure registered tenant organisations receive information relevant to the collective interest of tenants living in the areas covered by their organisations.
- Make sire all our tenants have the opportunity to meet regularly with their landlord through tenant participation arrangements. In addition, joint meetings may be convened by the Council or by tenants / tenant organisations by mutual agreement.
- Support consultation, involvement and participation actions organised by tenants or by tenants and officers jointly through tenant newsletters, tenant events, working groups, briefings, and through any other initiatives which make sure relevant information is accessible to all our tenants.
Aberdeenshire registered tenants organisations will:
- Work as partners with Aberdeenshire Council on matters affecting their communities.
- Give information to all tenants in the areas covered by their organisations.
- Aim to represent the views and interests of all Council tenants to Aberdeenshire Council and identify and communicate issues of concern, recognising that many tenants may not live in areas covered by tenant organisations (registered or non-registered).
- Provide information and local knowledge of issues affecting the tenants in the areas covered by their organisations to Aberdeenshire Council.
- Identify resource needs, including training for Aberdeenshire Council tenants, recognising that resources provided by the Council will be used to further good tenant participation practice in Aberdeenshire.
- Be accountable to Aberdeenshire Council for the use of the funds it provides.
- Recognise and respect the statutory and regulatory frameworks within which Aberdeenshire Council is required to conduct its operations.