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'New dawn in tenant empowerment' key theme for TPAS Conference

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'New dawn in tenant empowerment' key theme for TPAS Conference

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

'New dawn in tenant empowerment' key theme for TPAS Conference 'New dawn in tenant empowerment' key theme for TPAS Conference

The largest conference in the UK for social housing tenants takes place next month with the key theme 'a new dawn in tenant empowerment’.

More than 600 tenants from all over England are expected to attend the event, as well as key figures from the social housing world, including Michael Gelling, new Chair of the National Tenant Voice, Peter Marsh, Chief Executive of the Tenant Services Authority and  Sarah Webb , Chief Executive of the Chartered Institiute of Housing.

A host of housing association Chief Executives including Robin Lawler (Northwards Housing), Rachael Byrne (Stonham Housing) and Lara Oyedele (Odu-Dua Housing Association) will also be present, along with representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency, the Audit Commission, The Housing Ombudsmen Service, and Department for Communities and Local Government.
 
The conference will focus on the ‘new dawn’ in social housing heralded by the Tenant Service Authority’s (TSA) regulatory framework that came into force in April, which sees landlords having to meet six national standards; first amongst these standards is ‘Tenant Involvement and empowerment’.

This standard means that  providers  must achieve excellence  relating to customer service, choice and complaints, involvement and empowerment, and understanding and responding to the diverse needs of tenants.

But the conference is also taking place at a time of great uncertainty, with a new government promising huge cuts in public spending, and with the future of several organisations still in question.

Whatever that future holds, what is clear is that tenants must keep up the momentum of change to ensure they remain at the heart of social housing.     

Now in its 15th year, the conference will provide support to all delegates to meet the challenges and maximise the opportunities of the next few years,  including new standards, new expectations, new faces, new equalities and new technologies.

The focus will be on the relationships between tenants and their providers to drive up standards and meet expectations.  

Held over three days from the 23rd to the 25th July, the conference features four key debates:

1. Brave New World - Can tenants still shape the future of social housing under a new Government?’
2. Hard Times - Should tenant empowerment take priority when money is tight?
3. Great Expectations - Are we asking tenants to do too much?
4. Pride and Prejudice - Will we ever turn equality into fact not fiction?

Over 40 interactive workshops will be held with subjects including how to agree to and measure locally delivered services, an introduction to tenant-led scrutiny , an interactive ‘snakes and ladders’ fundraising information session,  help in asking the right questions when interviewing, the seven strands of equality and diversity, and an explanation of who does what  in housing.

Tenants will also be showcasing their work with over 20 showcases of best practice that have overcome issues and have improved standards.

TPAS Chief Executive, Michelle Reid (pictured), said: “The TSA’s introduction of six new standards has ‘tenant Involvement and empowerment’ high on the agenda and this provides tenants and providers with a new opportunity to work together to drive up standards and exceed expectations.

“At a time when the future of several of our institutions is uncertain,  the conference will outline the challenges ahead and the need for all of us to maintain and build on the momentum of the last few years. The debates, workshops and showcased work will provide tenants and providers with the information and tools they need to succeed.  

“TPAS’ role is to connect people to achieve great communities, and this event will  highlight the importance of tenants and professionals working together to create better places for people to live – the political and economic climate means the timing has never been more crucial.”

The conference takes place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole and more information can be found at www.tpasconference.org.uk

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