Resident Involvement - How to get involved...
There are many ways in which you can now get involved in resident involvement, and after a recent review we have now increased the ways in which residents can get involved at various levels. We want residents to be able to have a say and get their opinions across, which is why we have introduced new options to hopefully meet everyone’s needs. We have created methods including attending monthly Tenant Talkback meetings at the Town Hall, being a representative for your estate to monitor repairs and cleaning services, and being involved in email consultation groups. You will find further details below.
This is a group of both representatives from our tenant and leaseholder associations and also individual tenants from certain areas, who meet regularly with Council Officers and Councillors to help shape the future direction of the Council's housing service, talk about what is happening in their local community, and act as a consultative panel to give the Council a formal response on policy and procedure changes. Two representatives from Tenants Talkback are also invited to join the Council's Housing and Health Committee as co-opted members, when housing related items are discussed.
Resident associations and monitoring committees
Setting up a residents association or monitoring committee isn't difficult, and begins with you and your neighbours. You are the only ones who really know what it's like to live in your area or block of flats, and you are the best people to know what could be done to improve the area and introduce a community feel to build relationships with your neighbours.
The first thing to do is to gather all those that are interested in learning more about becoming part of a residents association or monitoring committee. Decide on a meeting place and then set a date and time with your Resident Involvement Officer to come along. Your Resident Involvement Officer is there to provide advice and guidance about the various options on offer. Whether you want to go down the route of an official residents association with a chair person, treasurer and secretary and also with its own bank account for an annual grant. Or to approach it in a less formal manner, by setting up a monitoring committee, where residents get together as and when they feel necessary, and will receive funding from Brentwood Borough Council for relevant projects and social events.
The first meeting will be to talk about what you would like to see done in your area or block of flats and what support the Council can offer such as:
- a grant of Â£125 per year towards administration costs for official constituted resident associations
- training and skills building
- a small capital budget for improvement projects
Other ways to get involved...
Block champions are tenants who live in communal blocks and want to get involved in the monitoring and upkeep of their block or estate. This voluntary role would include helping to monitor communal repairs to ensure they are carried out and completed to a required standard.
We would also ask you to monitor and feed back on the communal cleaning service, to ensure that cleaning schedules are being met and to an acceptable standard. We would like you to report to us any fly tipping so we can arrange for this to be collected and any disrepair that needs to be addressed.
We are looking to recruit some more block champions, so please fill in the application form or contact us to register your interest.
We have now set up regular Estate Inspections at all housing estates around the Borough where there are communal areas. This involves a visit from an Officer to do a walkabout of the estate to check cleaning and maintenance standards, and pick up on any health and safety issues or repairs that need to be addressed.
We would like to see as many residents as possible get involved in this process, and complete the inspections alongside a Housing Officer. It would be very beneficial for us to get the opinions of those who live on the estates themselves and take forward their feedback.
To see if your estate is on the schedule for an inspection and when this is next due to take place, please click on the following link Improving your estate.
There may be some residents who would like to be more involved but it is not convenient for them to attend formal meetings, or they may not have the time to set up a residents association.
In this case there are various consultation groups or surveys that tenants can be involved in. This may be communicated by email, phone or post, whatever is the most convenient method. We would use this communication to get your opinions on new policies or changes to current policies and procedures, changes to contracts and possible new upcoming projects.
We would like to get some of residents trained up to be mystery shoppers. This would involve making calls or visits to the Council offices with a planned scenario and questions to ask, to test our levels of customer service. After your visit or phone call we would then ask for feedback and a rating of our customer service levels. This would be a good opportunity to look at where we may need to improve our services and where we are doing well. Training would be provided for this. Please complete an enquiry form if you are interested in becoming a mystery shopper.
We are looking to also set up some new project groups, to work together with tenants and have their input. These will include working on items such as producing housing newsletters, contributing to the annual housing report, repairs monitoring and eventually scrutiny into various areas of the housing service. These groups may be a permanent fixture, or what we call a ‘task and finish’ group, where we work on a subject that is only relevant at that time.
Existing Residents Associations
Here are some details about our existing groups....already live in these areas? Fill in our online enquiry form and get in touch with your local tenant representative.
Burns Way - This is one of our fully constituted Resident Associations. They hold regular meetings to discuss local issues, receive an annual grant from Brentwood Borough Council, and use this funding to hold regular tea parties for all residents to attend and brighten up the gardens with some spring flowers. See photos of Burns Way.
Tillingham Bold - This group is one of our monitoring committees after numbers involved in the official residents association had reduced, but residents are still keen to monitor standards in their block and make any further improvements. Previously the communal garden had a make over through holding gardening days. These flats have also benefited from having cycle racks installed. See photos of Tillingham Bold
Tollesbury Court- This group is also now a monitoring committee with a tenant representative taking the lead, and attending Tenant Talkback meetings regularly. Since the Residents group was set up, numerous improvements have been made to the area, greatly adding to the community spirit. This has included new fencing, paving, and the creation of a Basketball area for the children. Social activities and gardening days have also been held. See photos of Tollesbury Court
Sir Francis Way / Drake House - This group have been pro-active in improving their local area including landscaping areas. Gardening and clean up days have been held on a regular basis. Improvements have also been made to car parking areas. See photos of Sir Francis Way
Capital Projects - Every year a certain amount is allocated for resident groups and involved residents in the Borough, to bid for funding for Capital Projects to benefit their housing area. Previous projects that have been completed have included new fencing, landscaping projects to improve the communal gardens, improved parking facilities and the purchasing of equipment in communal areas such as benches, water butts and storage sheds. Any projects funded by the capital budget are agreed by the residents who attend the Tenant Talkback meetings, and should be something that will benefit all residents within a block or estate.
Please feel free to look through our online documents which also includes an information sheet explaining all the ways you can get involved, and also minutes from our previous Tenant Talkback meetings.
If you are interested in getting involved in any way, or would like to discuss resident involvement in more detail please complete the online enquiry form and someone will be in contact with you.