Published this month, a white paper entitled “The Charter for Social Housing Residents” sets out to make major reforms to support housing customers in England.
Drawn up in consultation with social housing customers, it pledges to reform the Regulator of Social Housing and Housing Ombudsman which regulate the sector, bring in more accountability through an access to information scheme similar to the Freedom of Information Act as well as setting out a seven step charter of what tenants should expect from their landlord.
Those seven steps say every customer should expect:
1. To be safe in your home.
2. To know how your landlord is performing.
3. To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly.
4. To be treated with respect.
5. To have your voice heard by your landlord.
6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in.
7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership.
Victor Andrews, Chair of the Riverside Customer Voice Executive (RCVE), said:
“This White Paper is a direct response to the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in 2017.
“The residents of Grenfell were not listened to, and their concerns were not addressed. Tenants everywhere owe it to those people to ensure our voice is heard in future and we believe that this White Paper goes a long way to addressing this, we welcome its publication.
“The White Paper underpins the National Housing Federation’s ‘Together with Tenants’ (TwT) Charter, and we hope that its publication will allow for significant positive change for customers.”
On working with Riverside, he added: “The RCVE have a good working relationship with Riverside, however, we must continue to seek improvements, and to challenge our landlord where appropriate.
“With that in mind we look forward to further conversations based on the elements contained within the White Paper and the TwT Charter.”
Carol Matthews, Riverside Group Chief Executive, said: “The white paper contains a number of very sensible proposals around consumer regulation, complaint handling, sector accountability and buildings. The review of the decent homes standard is most welcome.
“It is right and proper that landlords should be accountable to and transparent with their customers and stakeholders. I am certain that housing associations who have signed up to the National Housing Federation (NHF) ‘Together with Tenants’ programme are progressing culture change and customer experience improvements where necessary.”
For more information on Riverside Customer Voice and to get involved, visit www.riverside.org.uk/getinvolved. For more information on what Riverside is doing to improve services for customers, visit www.riverside.org.uk/customerplan