The people who live in our homes are at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to working in collaboration with them as part of our continuing drive for higher standards. Residents are represented on scrutiny committees in each of the regions where we have homes. The committees focus on specific areas of our service and report back to our Housing Association Board on what they find, with the feedback helping to determine our future work.
Our regional scrutiny committees switched to virtual meetings during the pandemic and continued to progress their respective reviews. During 2020-21, the South Regional Scrutiny Committee reviewed the 2021-24 Resident Involvement Strategy. Its recommendations, such as moving to a ‘Task & Finish’ approach where we set specific deadlines for set tasks, were accepted by our Housing Association Board in March 2021 and the new strategy was officially launched in April 2021.
The new Resident Involvement Strategy was developed through surveys with involved and non-involved residents, as well as focus groups, and it offers a variety of ways residents can get involved and help Clarion improve its services. There are both digital and face to face options on national, regional and local levels.
New opportunities we have opened up for residents to get involved include:
- Community Inspectors – an opportunity for residents to carry out regular checks on Clarion’s communal areas and grounds maintenance, against a checklist of expected standards.
- Resident Writers Group – for volunteer resident writers and photographers from across the country who are interested in providing articles and photographs of local interest.
- Shared Owners digital engagement – a digital forum for a Task and Finish group made up of Clarion shared owners.
In May we held our first virtual, national residents’ event called ‘More than you think’ which was attended by nearly 800 residents across the country. Residents were able to hear from Clarion’s Chief Customer Officer, Michelle Reynolds, and the Chair of the housing association, David Orr, who answered questions directly submitted by residents.
Following the virtual event residents submitted over 1,200 enquiries and comments and these were responded to individually by senior management from across the organisation by letter, e-mail, or telephone. Face-to-face visits were also arranged to discuss and follow-up in some cases.
Jackie Andrews, Regional Director and Clarion’s Resident Involvement Lead, said:
“Like all of our services, Resident Involvement has had to adapt to the pandemic and many of our residents have got to grips with the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams so they can continue to work with us to help shape what we do. This has actually never been so important while we have navigated through the challenges the pandemic has brought for both our organisation and our residents.
“The launch of our new Resident Involvement Strategy was timely and includes many more digital opportunities to engage. This has also made it much more convenient for our residents who work, or have other responsibilities, meaning we have been able to really broaden representation across our resident networks.”