How do you ensure that tenants have a meaningful role in decision making?
SFHA Communications Conference speaker interview with Tracey Wilson, Tenant Participation Manager at North Ayrshire Council.
Tracey Wilson, Tenant Participation Manager at North Ayrshire Council, is leading a session on how to engage people in everyday subjects at this year’s SFHA Communications Conference on 24 March at City Halls in Glasgow. Ahead of the event, SFHA Events Assistant Mollie Stephen spoke to Tracey.
What led you to working in a tenant participation role?
Career development and promotion – I saw an opportunity and decided to use the skills I had developed from behind the scenes in policy and apply them to front-line engagement in tenant participation.
How has involving tenants changed in the years you’ve worked in that role?
I have been involved in Tenant Participation for approximately 17 years. In that time, I have seen a significant decline in the traditional approach to tenant participation such as tenant groups. On a positive note, tenant scrutiny became one of the key priorities on the national agenda for customer engagement and the introduction of inspection panels gave a welcome addition to the tenant participation structure.
Social Media has played a large part in society over the years, with more information being available online. By developing social media, we have engaged, informed, consulted and involved different audiences to enhance involvement and participation. We need to continually adapt to the ever-changing tenant base we have and use the relevant methods to engage with our customers.
How do you see tenant participation changing in the future?
The traditional approach of tenant group meetings is no longer appealing to certain tenants, and I foresee a decline in this over the coming years. I think digital participation and engagement will definitely be the way forward.
How do you ensure that tenants have meaningful influence in decision making?
North Ayrshire Council has a framework in place, ‘Customer Connections’, to create a balanced approach to involvement, recognising the need to move away from the traditional method of solely consulting with formal tenant and resident groups. Our Customer Connections Circle demonstrates how our three priorities – engage, empower and evolve – link with our established methods of involvement in North Ayrshire.
Engage: ensuring two-way communication with our tenants and customers, providing opportunities for customers to take part in ways that meet their needs.
Empower: developing the skills and confidence of our tenants in order to shape the services we provide
Evolve: continually improving our services to meet our customers’ needs.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
I am really looking forward to meeting new people and hearing what’s happening in other housing organisations across Scotland.
The SFHA Communications Conference is taking place on 24 March at the City Halls, Glasgow.
Day delegate rates start at £229 for SFHA members and £319 for non-members.
For more information, or to book your place, please visit the conference’s event page on the SFHA website.