Annual Reports setting out a clear service offer from RSLs out now.

Click image to download report (PDF Download)

EastendHomes have produce their “how we will deliver National Standards, Tenant Scrutiny and Local Offers” document – download the recently posted report here (PDF)

The new ‘Regulatory framework for social housing in England from April 2010’ identifies six standards which RSLs need to achieve:

  1. Tenant involvement and empowerment – which contains requirements relating to customer service, choice and complaints; involvement and empowerment; and understanding and responding to diverse needs of tenants
  2. Home – which contains requirements relating to quality of accommodation; and repairs and maintenance
  3. Tenancy – which contains requirements relating to allocations; rent; and tenure
  4. Neighbourhood and community – which contains requirements relating to neighbourhood management; local area co-operation; and anti-social behaviour
  5. Value for money
  6. Governance and financial viability

This is a time of major change for all housing providers with the new regulatory standards putting tenants at its centre. There is a tight deadline for housing providers to produce their “how we will deliver National Standards, Tenant Scrutiny and Local Offers” document. They will need to do this in an open, honest and realistic way, ensuring that they protect what they do well (using existing success) and use this as the basis for delivering excellent services with and for their tenants.

By 1 October each year, all providers (except those with fewer than 25 homes) shall publish a report for their tenants (and shared with the TSA) on how they are meeting the TSA standards, including their local offers.

Timetable – the annual report for each year ending 31 March shall be made available to tenants (and the TSA) by no later than 1 October – the first reports are due at the end of this month.

Purpose of the annual report to tenants

The annual report to tenants is a key component of the regulatory framework. There are three principal strands to its purpose. It provides a means of:

  • setting out a clear service offer in respect of the national standards so that tenants know what to expect from their provider. The service offer should be developed and agreed with tenants. Expressing it in the annual report serves as a commitment on the part of the provider to deliver the service offer.
  • being held to account for delivery of the commitment – through the availability of transparent information – by tenants and ultimately the TSA. Essentially, the service offer is a local expression of meeting the national standards. Therefore it follows that failure to deliver the service offer is a failure to comply with the national standards.
  • improving accountability and transparency by involving tenants in the development of the
    annual report

These reports must include reference to how the provider has gained assurance on the outcomes reported, including how tenants have been involved in scrutinising performance and, where appropriate, use of external validation, peer review and benchmarking. The TSA have established high-level expectations for the contents of these reports.

The TSA says

“empowerment requires information, the ability to be heard, to hold providers to account, to influence service delivery and the decisions that providers take. Tenant empowerment can operate at both an individual and collective level and requires a proactive approach by providers to support tenants to share power with them over the decisions that impact on the things that matter to them”.

It will be interesting to see if the document produced at the end of the month contains any real roadmap for residents empowerment or yet another glossy, corporate-style brochure – still the stock communications tool of the housing association.

Click here for Making Voices Count (PDF Download)

A toolkit has been produced by the TSA  (Download it here (PDF ) Also “Making Voices Count” – a review finds that the way housing providers obtain and make use of their tenants’ views is changing. Various publications are also available to download – see list here or go to the TSA website here.

TSA Publications in pdf format

TSA Publications in word format

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