Since 2004 a comprehensive long term strategy has been developed by the Council for tenant and leaseholder engagement and participation which has resulted in residents working with elected members through the Wrexham Tenant and Member Partnership to improve service delivery.
Strategy was developed following a 2004 "No" vote by residents in a stock transfer ballot. Aims of the strategy were to:
- Offer a range of options for tenants, leaseholders and stakeholders to participate both collectively through tenants and residents groups and on an individual basis.
- Ensure tenants and leaseholders were adequately encouraged and resourced to fully engage in the participation process and be involved in decisions affecting them.
- Continuously develop ways of improving communication and information dissemination to meet the needs of all our tenants and leaseholders.
- Develop and support involvement across the Council ranging from simply receiving information to becoming a member ofthe Wrexham Tenant and Member Partnership.
The Partnership was a key part of the strategy and comprises equal numbers of elected councillors and tenant and leaseholder representatives.
The aims ofthe Wrexham Tenant and Membership Partnership are:
- To regularly meet monitor and review the activities and performance ofthe Council's Landlord Services/and services delivered by the Authority which directly affects tenants.
- To consider and make recommendations to the Executive Board on future service delivery options for the Council's Landlord function.
- To consider and make recommendations to the Executive Board for the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan.
- To consider and make recommendations to the Executive Board for an annual service operational plan consistent with the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan.
- To consider and make recommendations to the Executive Board to adopt and revise policies and procedures for the delivery ofthe landlord services.
- To promote the engagement and participation of tenants in all aspects ofthe delivery of the landlord services
The partnership has been effectively functioning for over six years and its meetings and recommendations are communicated to residents through newsletters and the Council website.
Although the overall condition of the housing stock has deteriorated over the last five years, as no alternatives to capital funding through stock transfer have been available, a number of improvements to the delivery of housing services have been achieved. A Satisfaction Survey was sent to all Wrexham Council tenants in August 2010.
The survey asked for views on issues relating to the tenant and their household, contact with Landlord Services within the last twelve months, tenant participation, condition of the home, day to day repairs and improving the housing stock. The survey also asked tenants for their \/iews and priorities for improving their home. A total of 2,676 forms were returned which is a 23.5 per cent response rate and showed across a range of indicators improved higher satisfaction levels with the council as a landlord.
The Council has made improvements in service delivery and implemented the recommendations of previous WAO reports from 2005 and 2007 on voids and rent arrears. The operation of its DLO has improved with a series of modernisation measures including mobile working, introducing flexible working practices, and investment in improved housing management IT. Key performance measures on rent arrears and responsive repairs have improved.
Name: Fred Czulowski
Title/role: Landlord Services Manager
Organisation: Wrexham County Borough Council Housing Services
Telephone: 01978 315401