Our seminal Resident Scrutiny Toolkit first published in September 2009, revised in March 2010. The Toolkit has been used by many housing associations as the template for how to set up a resident scrutiny panel. It now has been updated to take account of changes in regulation and includes changes proposed by the recent Tenant Services Authority Consultation. The proposals make it much clearer that residents scrutiny panels are not optional for housing associations in England. If effective consumer regulation is to happen, there must be effective residents scrutiny. This is not likely to change when the final version of the regulation is published in March. Yvonne Atkinson, the author of the Toolkit says:
"Many housing associations have not yet recruited and trained tenants to play this very important co regulatory role of a residents scrutiny panel. Our experience is that tenants love this role and enjoy being trained to undertake it. It gives them a new experience of being valued and a playing and effective part in co regulation."
From 1 April 2012, tenants together with the board will hold the executive to account for the newly defined consumer regulations. The regulator's backstop role will mean they will only intervene where there is the likelihood of 'serious detriment to tenants' This is likely to be a high bar to pass and is likely to be interpreted as a risk to life and limb. So tenants really must be given the opportunity to scrutinise the services in detail, and the decisions boards and the executive are making on behalf of the organisation.
Note to readers Consumer standards are:
- Tenant Involvement and Empowerment standard
- Home standard
- Tenancy standard
- Neighbourhood and Community standard.