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RoundUp Newsletter | Issue 5

About our members for our members

Welcome to your latest issue of

Inside RoundUp: er P3 • Stronger Togeth P6 • Real Life Reform P9 • Tenant Scrutiny P13 • My Story


Tenant Empowerment Conferences

/tpasengland @tpasengland


Tenant Central shows you how • Do you want to learn how to use Social Media as an effective communication tool? • Do you want to know more about volunteering and being involved in your community? • Do you want to know more about complaints handling and the role of designated persons? • Do you want to know what scrutiny is and how it works for tenants and landlords?

Have a look at our How to Guides We have produced a series of introductory guides that offer tenants information and good practice in a range of subject areas. The guides will help tenants to be more involved with their landlord or lead change in their local communities. The guides are available online and can be downloaded. They include:

• Social Media • Get Involved • Complaints • Scrutiny

We will be producing more guides over the course of the programme. Keep a look out for our Tenant Panels and Service Improvement Panels guides which will be coming soon! KEEP CHECKING OUR WEBSITE.

For more information about Tenant Central contact: Freephone Email Visit Write

0800 035 6351 and subscribe to our mailing list. Tenant Central Team, TPAS, Suite 4b Trafford Plaza, 73 Seymour Grove, Manchester M16 0LD.


Welcome to your latest issue of Michelle Reid Chief Executive

Hello and welcome to your latest edition of RoundUp. By now you may have heard the news that I will be leaving TPAS to join the tenants, staff and board as Chief Executive of Cynon Taf Community Housing Group. I’ve described my time with TPAS as being a roller coaster ride for tenant empowerment in England and I feel extremely privileged to have led a national organisation that values people and their contribution to communities.

Steve Meakin MBE Chair

Many of you will know Jenny Topham, our current Head of Corporate Services who will become acting Chief Executive in the New Year whilst a recruitment process gets underway. Jenny has been with TPAS for 11 years and helped shape TPAS into the organisation it is today. In this edition we are unashamedly focusing on the TPAS North and South Conferences. Over 80% of delegates were TPAS members so it really felt like

your conference, filled with your issues and your debates. In other news, this month has seen a true first for TPAS; we’ve just awarded Sovini Group and One Vision Housing with three of our coveted accreditations; Landlord Accreditation, Contractor Accreditation and Quality Assured Scrutiny. It was a fantastic day of celebration and congratulations to all! If you have a story to share, please get in touch.

In this issue of


Stronger Together


Real Life Reform

Page 3

Page 5

Page 6

Conference Diary

Conference Diary

My Story


Page 11

Page 12

Page 13

Page 14

TPAS Conferences Page 7

Tenant Scrutiny Page 10

Find out more at: the links on the home page to follow us on: & 2

Stronger Together - Welfare reform

Stronger Together celebrates TPAS tenant and landlord members who are facing up to the challenges of the welfare reforms in partnership. Bringing real tenants and landlords from around the country to share their interesting stories of success.

See how they’re Stronger Together.

Gilbert Stowe – Welfare Reform Manager, Hyde Group. Why do you want to face the challenge together with your residents? Our residents are ambassadors and an asset in shaping effective communication. Many are strong community voices and their volunteering makes a valuable difference to Hyde’s services and their communities. 3

what they were doing. Everyone thought welfare reform was just bedroom tax. No-one was aware of the benefit cap, the extraction of Personal Independance Payment (PIP) or that the reforms could carry on until 2017. I wanted to be able to support vulnerable people especially to get prepared for Universal Credit. This could increase resident arrears, putting Income Officers immediately on the back foot and it’s not either party’s fault!

Our trained Resident Welfare Reform Champions attend events to raise awareness, create referrals to support services and reassure residents that Hyde is here to help. Their contribution increases engagement, including with unengaged and vulnerable residents who may not want to contact Hyde directly e.g. a tenant with agoraphobia so severe they couldn’t even speak over the phone. Many Champions are affected by the reforms, but use this as motivation to organise activities to bring the community together; some are even supporting residents of neighbouring Local Authorities. Some have completed market research training qualifying them to work alongside our Customer Insight Team as Community Researchers. This is an exciting project through which residents will collect qualitative data through face-to-face interviews with other residents, and monitor the long term impact of the reforms on quality of life. This data will be used to inform and improve Hyde’s ability to best support our residents.

Keith Gallagher – Welfare Reform Champion and Community Researcher, Hyde Group. Why did you want to work together with Hyde on tackling Welfare Reform? I have been aware of the reforms for some time and was concerned about the impact on Hyde and the injustice of the effect on residents. My main concern was that the government weren’t publicising

I assisted some neighbours with a mutual exchange; they were having another baby so required more space; the other party were affected by bedroom tax so wanted a smaller home. They weren’t literate and I could see the potential impact so signposted them to Hyde’s new Housing Options Officer. I hope that the Community Researchers project will highlight the impact of the reforms and help this to be understood at a high level such as Hyde’s CEO, Hydewide Residents Voice and the Board. I hope other housing providers will do the same so that this evidence can be shown to the Government. We want to make sure that the people that we speak to at a grassroots level are listened to.

Email us at: to tell us how you’re Stronger Together in your area. Visit: 4

TPAS Membership

Welcome to new members... It’s been a busy couple of months for TPAS membership with lots of new members to the TPAS family. So a warm welcome to:-

TPAS AGM 2013 All TPAS members are invited to attend the AGM. Thursday 12th December, 2pm - 3.30pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Birmingham, 12 Holloway Circus, Queensway, Birmingham B1 1BT. The AGM is an important meeting in the TPAS calendar to ensure we share with members our performance in the previous year and discuss our plans for the coming year. This year will be even more special as it will also be a chance to say a fond farewell to Michelle Reid who

is leaving TPAS at the end of the year for pastures new in Wales.... Registration and refreshments will be from 1.15pm and after the meeting please feel free to join us for a festive drink and mince pies. If you would like to attend please contact or call 0161 868 3500. Further information, including AGM Minutes 2012 and a copy of the Annual Accounts, can be found on the members page at Hope to see you there!

Contact Jenny Topham for Membership details on: 5

• Arun DC • Selwood housing • Oaklee Homes • Sovereign Housing • Byker Community Housing Trust • Impact Housing • Peter Bedford HA • Darlington HA • Boston Mayflower

Looking forward to working with you all very soon.

Got an Email address? Make sure we have your email address so you can receive our weekly members only Ezine. Every Thursday, straight to your inbox. Lots of news, views and stories that you will want to read about. Subscribe today by emailing

Call 0161 868 3500 or email: Follow us on @tpasengland Like us on /tpasengland


A Study of Welfare Reform Changes

Real Life Reform but, equally, if not more TPAS were delighted impact importantly, the experience and human to welcome Lisa impact welfare reform changes may Pickard, Chief Executive have on families and communities. of Leeds and Yorkshire The report was shared for the very first Housing Association time at the TPAS North conference and the findings resonated strongly and Andy Williams, with delegates in the room. Director of 65% of households have less than Neighbourhood £10 per week to live on following rent services at Liverpool and essentials such as food and bills. Housing Trust to talk to our delegates about 37% have nothing left each week. Households are intending to cut the Real Life Reform back spending on food and fuel. Project.

The project is designed to bring together case studies of social housing tenants affected by a variety of welfare reform changes. Tracking real tenants’ experiences over a period of time it will help explain not only the financial

25% spend less than £20 per

Over half of those in debt doubt they’ll ever be able to clear these debts. Quote’s from Delegates: “There are people out there who want to understand and we are not on our own to get trampled on” “I now feel that I am not alone, I could tell you some stories of my very own battles to try and survive in this life”.

week on food.

8 out of 10 households are already in debt and 83% are worried about getting into more debt.

“ the TPAS North Conference, the findings resonated strongly with delegates in the room.”

To read the full report type; ‘Real Life Reform Report’ into 6

TPAS Conferences 2013

TPAS Tenant Empowerment Conferences:

It’s over, but what happened? A repeated topic on everyone’s lips at the TPAS North and South conference was ‘Everyone is obsessed about the money, but what about the people’?

This was summed up by one keynote

There was lots of networking amongst

speaker, Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive of

delegates and many new contacts and

Wigan and Leigh Housing when he said

friendships were formed.

“The real impact of welfare reform cannot just be measured in pounds and pence –

From listening to your feedback this

the true picture is only borne out by the

year we did things differently, and we

human impact of these changes and the

are delighted delegates embraced

hardship that many families and disabled

this change to create two very special

people now face”.

conference experiences for all.

Both the North and the South conferences

For more information about both tenant

responded by being filled with workshops

empowerment conferences visit

focusing on tenant involvement skills like

scrutiny, handling complaints and getting

or call us on 0161 868 3500.

online. We focused on the skills tenants need to face the challenges ahead.

“There was a lot of networking amongst delegates and a lot of new contacts and friendships were formed.” 7

Find out more at: 8

What makes scrutiny successful? Tenant scrutiny aims to give tenants the power in holding their landlords to account for their decisions, performance and conduct. TPAS are proud to play a role in helping tenants and landlords to establish and maintain excellent scrutiny standards and are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise with our members. With this in mind here is how we can help you:


The TPAS Three Key Principles of Scrutiny


Independence Scrutineers need to have the independence to choose the areas they wish to scrutinise and carry out that scrutiny; however, they need a proper methodology to do this.


Formality They need a formal remit with clear terms of reference which clarifies the role and boundaries of scrutiny, including how it relates with other resident involvement activities, the landlords and the Board/Council.


Resident Power For scrutiny to be effective it has to be able to influence the direction of the organisation and its services. It requires clear powers and linkages in the form of a Terms of Reference to ensure this is the case.

The TPAS 9 steps to Scrutiny panel review We’ve produced a handy guide to raise the standard of your scrutiny. It’s tiny, but mighty helpful to pass along to your colleagues and fellow panel members to follow an agreed process. Call 0161 868 3500 and we’ll pop you a free copy in the post. Be Inspired: We’ve published some case studies that are exclusively available to you as TPAS members about how landlords and tenants have made their scrutiny panels successful. For example read

about how Cottsway Housing Resident Scrutiny Panel have identified £11,000 worth of savings in their very first scrutiny report on the repairs service. You’ll find a range of case studies to read and download by logging into the TPAS website. If you have any trouble finding them call the membership team on 0161 868 3500.

“... Cottsway Housing Resident Scrutiny Panel have identified £11,000 worth of savings...”

Further reading: If you’re still eager to learn more about raising the standard of your tenant scrutiny then tap into google ‘Tenant Scrutiny: now and in the future’. This briefing document was produced by TPAS along with CIH and Housingmark to provide a clear

TPAS are committed to working with tenants and landlords to develop, identify and share good tenant scrutiny practice as well as provide practical support training and advice. To find out about our latest training courses on tenant scrutiny, visit our website.

message about what scrutiny is and what it is not. We can also email you a copy, just ask us by emailing

Get connected: We’ve just started rolling out the ‘Scrutiny Lounge’ events across the country. These events are all about giving tenants the space and the time to focus on discussing how tenant led scrutiny can work better. The events are tenant led with no speakers or presentations. TPAS have ran 3 of these ‘sold out’ events up to now and are committed to helping to run more in 2014 across the country. Give us a call on 0161 868 3500 and ask for Leanne to find out more.

Forthcoming Scrutiny Lounges • Saturday 23rd November - Stevenage • Friday 6th December - Liverpool • Wednesday 11th December - Exeter

To book, please email; or call us on 0161 868 3500 10

Member diaries:

My Diary from the North Conference Elaine Rank. Tenant Inspector, Wakefield & District Housing. Day One - 24 September 9:30am: I’m looking forward to this event and meeting and sharing ideas with other people. My first impression was that the registration process was well organised with friendly helpful staff, and the main hall looked very impressive. 10:30am: I’m feeling a bit nervous as I’m on the platform with Kevin Dodd our Chief Exec for the opening session. Been ‘miked up’ and know which chair I’m sitting in. Also got my crib cards ready!

12:00noon: Just out of the opening session and listened to lots of different and challenging questions from other delegates in the room. I’ve got a busy next few hours as I hope to now go to two workshops and get round all the stands in the exhibition – with lunch too of course! 4:45pm: I’ve been to a workshop on Welfare Reform and one on the scrutiny process, both of which were very interesting and informative. I’ve also managed to visit all the stands. I’m now going to the ‘Refresh Hour’ as I want to reflect on some of the tips and discussions I’ve heard from today.

“...our table for the ‘Asking the right questions’ was labelled the naughty table! Well we did laugh a lot.” 11

Day Two – 25 September 10:15am: Today I’m planning on learning about ‘Challenging Effectively’ and my second workshop is on ‘Asking the right questions’. 12:00noon: Another lovely lunch and chats to interesting people. 4:00pm: Just out of two more excellent workshops but our table for the ‘Asking the right questions’ was labelled the naughty table!!!! Well we did laugh a lot. This has been my first conference experience and has taught me the importance of sharing and learning from other people’s experiences. It’s been a very interesting, informative and thoroughly enjoyable two days.

Find out more at:

Member diaries:

My Diary from the South Conference Alexa Loukas. Head of Communications & Involvement, Sutton Housing Partnership. Day One - 11 September 9:30am: I’ve arrived at the TPAS South Conference. Everyone is very welcoming, there is a real sense of diversity as I look around the room – and plenty of refreshments! There is a big vertical wine bar in the middle of the foyer which is a real talking point as I meet the other delegates. 12:00pm: Just out of the opening session. It’s good to hear that everyone in the room shares the

same challenge – working with residents to tackle Welfare Reform. I’m about to sit down to lunch and I’ve spied a couple of delegates who asked some insightful questions during the floor discussion.

delegates too. Cliff Haynes who ran the workshop with me has offered to set up an information sharing email group so residents can share what is working well.

2:45pm: I’ve been in the ‘Get Connected’ workshop with the Tinder Foundation. It’s given me a lot of food for thought of how we can support our tenants help their friends and family to get online. Speaking of food, it’s the coffee and cake break now.

11:50am: Now off to explore some of the exhibitors. I’ll definitely be going over to the Tenant Central stand to see how our tenants can access free online courses from their own home.

Day Two - 12 September 11:45am: Sutton Housing Partnership have just ran a workshop of our own about how we’re working together with tenants to mitigate the impact of the welfare reform. It was good for us to share our best practice but also hear what works from

“...It’s good to hear that everyone in the room shares the same challenge – working with residents to tackle the Welfare Reform.”

4:00pm: Home time for me. I’ve come away inspired about how we can work with our resident networking group to lobby about Welfare Reform. It’s been a fun, open and informative couple of days!

Find out more at: 12

My Story

Muna Mohamed - Gateway Housing Association:

TPAS Tenant of the Year 2013 What inspired you to get involved with your landlord? I became an involved resident to get my voice heard. When I realised that my landlord did value and listen to my suggestions, it inspired me to contribute in more ways so that I could influence the way the organisation was run and make it one that worked for its residents. What do you see as the main challenges in your neighbourhood over the next few years? Maintaining our fantastic community spirit, it has taken us many years to create this community and I am determined that we keep this community together in these times of high unemployment and hard times.


How did it feel to be named TPAS Tenant of the Year? I was surprised to receive the award and honoured that I had been chosen over the other entrants in that category. I felt proud that my work with the community had been recognised. What part of being an involved resident do you enjoy the most? I enjoy being part of the Resident Scrutiny Panel and feel that my views and opinions are taken note of and considered. I most enjoy being involved in my local community and meeting with residents that come and support our events.

“I felt proud that my work with the community had been recognised.�

What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting involved with their landlord? Being an involved resident is great; however it does require you making a commitment of your time. When you see that your views are taken into account and acted upon, that is when you feel that it is all worthwhile.

Training at the TPAS Conferences

Training The training team had a busy time at the conferences offering a range of skills sessions that proved popular and fun. What links elephants and tenant representatives and rubber gloves with Value for Money? Well all was revealed in the conference workshop sessions where elephants played an unusual part in helping people examine the role of tenant representatives in the I’m a representative, get me out of here! session.

The How to challenge effectively workshop showed delegates that they could really deal with things once they adopted a positive mindset and ‘Learnt how to overrule our own emotions and about controlling my brain’. Delegates sampled chocolate and had fun trying on various types of rubber gloves in the ‘For what it’s worth’ workshop as part of their examination into what we really mean by “Value for Money” and how tenants can ensure their organisation is achieving it. A great way of ‘presenting value for money and social value in easily ‘digestible’ ways for residents’.

Skills for Procurement session led by our ‘infectiously enthusiastic’ trainer emphasised ‘the right of tenants to be involved, and insistence on high levels of resident involvement throughout the process’. All these sessions are delivered regularly by the TPAS training team. For more information visit or call 0161 868 3500.

Other popular sessions included How to be an Effective Chair that helped delegates define the role of chair and enjoy ‘Learning about intervention techniques and the tips for the trickiest bits’. Practical sessions on Asking the right Questions provided some top tips for successful interviewing asking questions.

For more information contact the TPAS Training Team on: 0161 868 3520 or email:



an event by

Nominations now open!

Celebrating the achievements of trailblazing tenants, landlords and partners Dates

• Southern final: 14th February 2014 London Nomination deadline 14th December 2013 • Central final: 7th March 2014 Birmingham Nomination deadline 14th December 2013 • Northern final: 11th April 2014 Manchester Nomination deadline 24th January 2014

Categories • • • • • • • •

Tenant of the Year Award Young Tenant of the Year Award Tenant /Resident Involvement of the Year Landlord Award Tenant /Resident Involvement of the Year Contractor Award Excellence in Equality & Diversity Award Excellence In Youth Involvement Award Excellence in Tenant Led Scrutiny Award Excellence in Annual Reports Award   


for 2014

• Excellence in Digital Engagement Award • Excellence in Co-Regulation Award

For more information contact Penni Pennington on: 0161 776 7192 or email:





TPAS membership magazine November 2013  
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