Tenants are key to better social housing

29 Jun 00
Councils and registered social landlords must involve tenants at every level if strategies to tackle problem estates and urban regeneration are to be successful.

30 June 2000

That is the clear message from a Public Services Productivity Panel report, Putting your house in order, published this week.

The report examines how tenants are affected by improvements and repairs to their homes and focuses on eight capital schemes around the country. It recommends that tenants should be involved in determining overall priorities and should work in partnership with contractors.

It also urges councils and RSLs to ensure minimum disruption to tenants while capital projects are carried out. They should check that repairs and improvements to housing are linked to social objectives.

The report refers approvingly to an improvement scheme which has transformed the Monsall Estate in Manchester 'from the worst estate in the city to a flagship project, with long waiting lists for potential tenants'. Here, the capital scheme not only transformed the quality of the housing but also removed a network of alleys and dead-end roads which had been a 'hotbed for drug-dealing and crime'.

Andrew Foster, author of the report and Audit Commission controller, said: 'Good quality housing has a huge impact on people's quality of life, so it is vital that improvements to social housing are focused on social objectives, not just bricks and mortar.

'Good practice by the best councils and RSLs demonstrates the critical importance of involving ordinary tenants in capital projects, to ensure that public money is spent on improvements that matter to residents.'


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