THE BENEFITS OF ENGAGEMENT • The opportunity to: – – – – – – – – – – – – – start engagement and ask your landlord to give consideration to issues that are important to you express your opinion, make your voice heard and be more involved in the decision making processes increase your landlord’s awareness of issues they may not have considered or have been aware of influence your landlord’s short, medium and long term priorities; and help ensure they make the right decisions about issues that concern or affect you learn more about how your landlord makes decisions help your landlord identify solutions to issues and help them avoid or resolve conflict help ensure your landlord’s services are of use, benefit and relevance to you learn new skills, gain knowledge and confidence in expressing and presenting your views become a more active member of your community meet new and like minded people, discover more about the different people and communities living in your area and learn from the experiences of others gain a better understanding of viewpoints that may be different from your own, so that you can better relate to people and communities you may be involved with or aware of be informed of proposals, decisions and changes to your landlord’s services at the earliest opportunity feel listened to and that you can make a difference ENGAGEMENT TECHNIQUES – WHAT’S WORKING? • • • • • • • • • • • Using Facebook to engage with our tenants that are under 25 – Launching a Youth Focus Group online only Training our mystery shoppers to learn specialist housing management skills – so they can audit services from a position of knowledge Using one off Task and Finish groups to consult on policy and strategy Using a reading panel for any publication which is going out to more than 50 tenants (via email only) Tenant and leaseholder conference for the last two years has taken the form of a market place of money saving ideas, including make do and mend style workshops including knitting, bling up a bag, making decorative cards, boxes and book covers (as gifts), creating stuffed toys We have trained people in the basics of face painting – including our own staff – so we can engage with the parents of children as they are waiting in the queue for their child to have their face painted at summer fetes and fairs We take our large scale games – Giant Jenga, Connect Four, and draughts to summer events to draw people into talk to us We use our Wishing Tree to help us prioritise our annual delivery plan We created an art competition to give us content for our annual calendar – but we engaged with a whole new group of tenants in the process as we held a private view to honour everyone that took part We incentivise our QAA’s, our Mystery shoppers and we offer shopping voucher prizes for every survey we run We use our Make a Difference Day to create volunteer opportunities BARRIERS TO INVOLVEMENT • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Age related – the young and the older – and all those in between! Attitudes - within your organisation, and of researchers/consultants Lack of understanding Physical barriers Inability to get out into the public domain (by any means) Information not made available, or simply not stating that it can be made available as required Jargon Child Care Lack of transport - to reach venues which are not on a public transport route Rural remoteness IT Inconvenience - such as limitation on the time people are available Low income - they may feel that they won't be listened to or can't afford to get there and so choose not to take part Homelessness or temporary residence - such as Gypsies/travellers, students, migrant workers Holidays Cynicism, apathy and contentedness with the current situation SOLUTIONS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Young people and some older people will require innovative ways of engagement – ask staff from the age group you are targeting what would get them engaged Choose people who have empathy as well as objectivity to do the engaging Ensure adequate cultural awareness training – for the whole company Ensure easy access to buildings/venues, provide hearing loops in meetings Think about how to include people with long-term illness, infirmity due to old age or imprisonment/curfew Provide it in a different language, or format such as large print, Makaton or CD – we have used Sound Cloud to upload an audio version of our tenants magazine Avoid it – ensure all communications to the public are in Plain English! Offer support and payment to enable people with caring or child care responsibilities to attend Avoid booking them! Go out to them – we took our annual tenant and leaseholder conference out on tour this year – visiting three areas including a rural location Remember some people have no skills or access to a computer Experienced by commuters, parents or voluntary groups Consider offering prizes or expenses Go to where they are and at an appropriate time Avoid summer or religious festivals when many people are away or are focussing on other issues These barriers to engagement are harder to overcome – please send us your answers!