THE BENEFITS OF ENGAGEMENT - Chartered Institute of Housing

Report
THE BENEFITS OF
ENGAGEMENT
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The opportunity to:
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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?
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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
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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
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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!

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