Panel set up by residents

A RECRUITMENT drive is underway for motivated people who would like to have a say in how their homes and neighbourhoods are run.

Residents of local housing association South Anglia Housing are invited to apply to be part of a new group which will independently analyse the performance of their landlord and help improve homes and services.

The new group, which will be called the Scrutiny Panel, is being set up by tenants and leaseholders who are already actively involved with South Anglia Housing, part of Circle.

It will however operate separately so it can remain independent. Its role will be to check the landlord’s performance and challenge how it is operating services, for example the appointments for housing repairs or how it deals with reports of Anti Social Behaviour.

Norman Pascoe, an electronics systems reliability consultant, has been a member of South Anglia Residents’ Forum since it was formed four years ago and he is helping to set up the Scrutiny Panel. He lives in Bishops Stortford and is celebrating his eightieth birthday this month.

He said: “In my experience, there is abundant evidence that serious resident involvement enables landlords to provide much higher standards of properties and services and we hope many new South Anglia residents will want to join the panel.”

The Scrutiny Panel is being set up as part of South Anglia’s response to a wide survey it did last year when over 1,000 residents fed back their thoughts and ideas about the service levels they would like to see in areas such as neighbourhood management, rent information and repairs to homes.

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As a result, South Anglia produced a new set of commitments and new ways of monitoring performance including the Scrutiny Panel.

Emma Jackson, South Anglia Housing Group officer, said: “The Scrutiny Panel puts residents at the heart of what we do by asking them to hold us to account on areas where we can do better. It’s about continuous improvement.”

No previous experience is necessary and volunteers for the new Scrutiny Panel will be paid travel expenses and receive training. They will need to attend four main meetings per year.

A recruitment day is being organised on Saturday June 11 and any interested tenant or leaseholder can find out more by calling Emma Jackson on 01376 559401 or Oonah Lacey on 01284 729005.