By Keith Harkness – Riverside tenant and Chair of its National Scrutiny Committee
Tenant-led scrutiny panels are now playing a large role in how Riverside is performing and how its procedures are being run. There are now six divisional panels, as well as a National Scrutiny Committee (NSC) and they are all examining a number of different service areas.
For example, in south Merseyside and Runcorn (our Mersey South division) we have just finished a scrutiny exercise on reactive repairs, which will be used to shape the service and any future projects. Cumbria scrutiny panel is starting to prepare its report on voids and lettings, and this should be completed by Christmas.
Scrutiny is evolving all the time. At the moment the role of the divisional scrutiny panels is mainly reactive – if there is evidence of a problem with a service, the panels can react to this. The NSC has been playing a proactive role, consulting with service managers to help shape future Riverside projects.
This is co-regulation working at its best, and means Riverside can listen to tenants’ opinions before projects are rolled out across the group. A classic example is when the NSC helped shape new asset management policies and procedures for planned maintenance works. Nineteen changes in all were accepted to the original document after consulting with the NSC.
This is co-regulation working at its best, and means Riverside can listen to tenants’ opinions before projects are rolled out across the group.
The NSC is proving so popular within the Riverside Management Team that presentations have to be limited to one per meeting – this is to allow the NSC to complete other work, such as monitoring national recommendations from divisional panels and keeping an eye on progress.
A key thing that the NSC needs to improve is to ensure that reports from divisional panels are acted upon by Riverside and that divisional scrutiny panels are able to influence service delivery at a national level where this is appropriate.
If you would like to become involved as a tenant volunteer, then contact your local Resident Involvement worker or contact Riverside on 0345 111 0000.