Tenants’ Champion supports 159 households over the last twelve months

Release Date: 10 July 2020

The borough’s Tenants Champion service has assisted nearly 160 households this year – helping tenants and leaseholders living in social housing who have unresolved problems with their landlords.

At the virtual Council meeting (Tuesday 7 July 2020) members welcomed the significant efforts and pro-active work that has seen the service go from strength to strength with Cllr Jim Millard, the borough’s Tenants’ Champion, assisting 159 households compared to 109 in 2019.

In his Annual Report, he highlighted how effective partnership working has been vital to the service and the fantastic work that social landlords had undertaken to support residents during the COVID-19 emergency.

He identified that there have been numerous examples where the Tenants’ Champion service has been able to help families escalate issues and resolve problems. He particularly welcomed the reduction in Anti-Social Behaviour cases he had dealt with despite an overall increase in referrals.

Moving forward, Cllr Millard committed to:

  • Identifying the ways, both formally and informally, that housing associations engage with residents and their communities and working together with them to ensure the borough is a leader in good practice
  • Working with partners to ensure that services are working well together, particularly with unresolved cases involving anti-social behaviour
  • Twice yearly ‘Tenants’ Champion Interagency Forum’
  • Continuing to analyse the trends and themes of enquiries and better understand how housing associations’ practices are affecting their residents
  • Continuing to work with the sector to ensure that those affected by the COVID-19 emergency are provided with the help, advice and assistance they need particularly where they are facing financial difficulties

In his speech at the full Council virtual meeting, Cllr Jim Millard, said:

"It is an honour and privilege to do the best we can for our social housing residents.

"Thank you to our housing associations in the borough – they have really stepped up to the mark during the pandemic, doing all they can to support residents, for example setting up hardship funds and contacting all their vulnerable residents.

"I believe that the Tenants’ Champion is an innovative, forward thinking role that I have been pleased to take on and develop as a central part of this administration’s commitment to do more for social housing residents, to make this a fairer borough.

"As a Council that does not directly hold any housing stock, the Tenants’ Champion service gives us an opportunity to keep an eye on what is happening in the social housing sector, scrutinise our housing providers and help support local people.

"Talking to residents, I know there is a real thirst for better engagement and more chances for social housing residents to have their say about the homes and communities in which they live. That’s why we undertook our review of resident engagement earlier this year, which allowed us to identify and champion best practice. In the review, we set out our expectations of our housing associations and made commitments on things the Council will do to support them.

"We know we as a council can also do more to reach out to those we seldom hear from and I’m pleased to say our housing association partners have committed to joining a working group to look at implementing the findings of the review and look at how we can innovate further, working together to ensure that we do the best for our social housing residents."

Read the full Tenants’ Champion Annual Report.

If you need support you can contact the Tenants Champion.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P281/20

Updated: 30 July 2020