New scrutiny toolkit set to empower customers
Published by Laura Beckett for Halton Housing Trust in Housing and also in Communities, Education
Halton Housing Trust has helped to create an innovative toolkit that could shape the services of social landlords throughout the UK.
Developed in conjunction with training company Linda Levin Partnership, the Trust and a handful of other social landlords, the toolkit aims to give social housing customers the knowledge they need to review the services that they receive, ultimately improving service delivery.
Linda Levin, a former housing practitioner who now runs her own training company for the social housing sector said: “The toolkit is a great resource for housing association and local authority tenants around the country, as it gives them the tools to investigate and make recommendations about the services they receive”.
Some of the profits made from the sale of the toolkit will be given back to the Trust and its partners, to be invested in community projects. Linda continued: “Customer involvement is a great way for social landlords to ensure that they are responding to customer needs and regulatory requirements as it helps them stay one step ahead. The toolkit is available to all housing organisations, so if anyone is interested, please contact me.”
The Trust’s customer involvement manager, Shirley Corcoran is thrilled to have access to such a valuable resource, saying “Customer involvement is very important to us and it’s at the heart of everything we do. We’ve always provided our involved customers with the skills and knowledge needed to carry out their roles effectively, but this extra tool will really help drive involvement forward.”
The kit also includes a comprehensive directory of scrutiny panels throughout England and Wales, including their contacts and their reviews to date, so customers can link up to share best practice.
Andrew Shaw is lead scrutineer on the Trust’s customer scrutiny panel and took a lead role in developing the toolkit. He said: "It’s more important than ever to have some level of consistency with scrutiny across the country, as it’s possibly (with exception of the Housing Ombudsman,) the only true challenge to ensure the best service is being provided to customers.
“Scrutiny will only truly be effective if social landlords embrace scrutiny, not because they have to, but because they want to. With the help of Linda, we have so far taken over 50 recommendations to the Halton Housing Trust board, all of which have been accepted.”
There are many opportunities for Trust customers to get involved and make a real difference to the services that we provide, such as becoming a board or customer panel member to taking part in inspections. To learn more about how to get involved, visit our website at www.haltonhousing.org/get-involved. For further information about Linda’s toolkit, visit www.lindalevinpartnership.co.uk