Tenants and leaseholders’ conference a success

By on 04/03/2011 in News

Tenants and leaseholders from across Birmingham gathered at a conference to share their views with council officials about how services can continue to be improved.

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing, Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director for Housing and Constituencies and Joan Goodwin, Chair of the City Housing Liaison Board gave speeches at the conference.

The event was held at the Paragon Hotel, in Digbeth and attracted around 130 tenants and leaseholders.

Workshops on the days explored the six national standards for social housing set out by the Tenant Services Authority. These covered resident involvement and empowerment; customer services and diversity; repairs, neighbourhood and tenancy management, anti social behaviour and allocations.

Chair of the City Housing Liaison Board Joan Goodwin said: “The conference gave us the chance to work together towards a common goal. I would encourage all tenants and leaseholders to get involved in order to be part of this process. There is a lot to accomplish and with everyone joining forces so much can be achieved.”

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing gave a speech to attendees talking about the greater importance of working closely with tenants and leaseholder in tough economic times.

“I am proud to be hosting this conference, organised in partnership with Joan and Birmingham's City Housing Liaison Board members.

“I am proud of our strong track record on partnership working with our tenants and of our achievements over recent years.

“We are in tough economic times and pressure on public sector finances is unprecedented. So it is more important than ever that we work together to establish clear priorities and improve services to meet tenants' needs – make every penny count.

“Local working means Ward based working and strengthening the links between the HLBs and the Ward Committees. A priority for this coming year will therefore be to align HLB s with Ward Boundaries and to make these links. This will provide a strong framework for tenants to become involved in housing and other issues of concern at a local level.

“Our Constituency Tenant Group members have made a valuable contribution to the tenant movement in Birmingham and we want to build on this by
bringing together our tenant structure by encouraging the CTG members to join our Ward based HLBs and to continue to work with us on the review of services.

“Another route to do this will be through the Constituency Committee structures. I have recommended to constituency Chairmen that they consider co-opting CTG members onto their group.

“By bringing the CTG and HLB groups closer together, we will strengthen the voice of tenants and simplify the formal tenant involvement arrangements.

“We need to strengthen our communities, make them more welcoming and inclusive, to that end we are looking at setting up a Tenant Board for high rise blocks in the city. We will pilot the scheme in the first instance to see how it develops.

“This board would consist of a number of tenants who will meet with local officers from Housing in order to explore how we can work together to welcome new residents to blocks and the community, and would work with representatives from the local Housing Liaison Board.

“Given the scale of change facing the social housing sector, it is more important than ever, that in my role as Cabinet Member I am in touch with the views of tenants. I am therefore proposing to meet bimonthly with the Chair and Vice Chair of the HLB movement and the chairman of the Leaseholder and Sheltered HLB in my office to discuss policy and future developments, particularly first hand information.

“It is their role to keep in touch with the local groups so that they know what their priorities are and are able to represent them. My officers will be on hand to support them to achieve this.”

Ends

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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