Challenge and Change Group
Welcome to the Challenge and Change Group webpage. Scrutinising the service is the role of this Group and group members explain a bit more:
Scrutiny is a great system because it means residents work in partnership with Wiltshire Council and can take an in-depth, fair and balanced look at a specific part of the service and then make recommendations about how things can be even better plus there's a great social element too! We are a group of residents (tenants and leaseholders) and independents that work together to help improve services for council housing tenants and leaseholders. This is a part of co-regulation, which means housing services self-regulates subject to challenge and scrutiny from its residents. This is a great way for us to get involved and deliver benefits to residents and their families.
We all really enjoy what we're doing and we are fortunate to have a great group of people involved in the Group, so it never feels like work! In fact, it's a great way to socialise and meet new people.
Once the Group have settled on a topic, which is decided by the Group and Wiltshire Council's Housing Board, the group gets together and scopes the project - this is defining the boundaries of what the Group will and will not be looking at.
Group members explain what happens next:
With the project scope agreed, we move onto planning the project, which includes deciding which tasks we think are appropriate. For example, we might carry out a telephone survey of residents or interview an officer of the council; we sometimes go out on accompanied visits to some of the housing stock and on other occasions we organise mystery shopping exercises; as well as many more tasks. It really all depends on the project that we're looking at, although a managers' briefing and desktop research are really important for every topic because this helps us understand what Wiltshire Council and other housing providers are doing.
Overall, the Group looks at performance and resident satisfaction to establish if services are provided in the way housing services claim they are being delivered. After this, the Group produces a report and then presents it to the service. The service responds to the Group and can produce an action plan. If the Group is dissatisfied with the response and / or actions undertaken by the service, then the Group can raise these concerns to Wiltshire Council's Housing Board.
There's quite a bit of work involved group members said,
although we do divide the different tasks up, so it's fair for us all. Plus, because we all really enjoy what we're doing and we're fortunate to have a great group of people involved in the Group, it never feels like work! In fact, it's a great way to socialise and meet new people.
For more information about the Group and what it does, please read its terms of reference. Each project normally takes around 7.5 working days and the members spread this over a number of weeks, while aiming to look at a number of projects throughout the year.
The Group is always looking for new members and they'd be thrilled if you wanted to get involved with them. You can find out some more about what's involved by speaking to a council officer who supports the group.
You can send an email to: Tenantparticipation@wiltshire.gov.uk.
Or write to:
Governance and Scrutiny Officer
P.O. Box 2281
There's a leaflet coming soon which you might like to have a look at or give to someone you know. If you'd like to suggest some future topic ideas you can email them to Tenantparticipation@wiltshire.gov.uk we'd be delighted to hear from you.
Challenge and Change Group Members
Philippa Heseltine (Leaseholder Member)
Having been self-employed for 25 years, I know how important it is to get things right, to be an effective communicator, and to add value at every stage through objective analysis and reasoned argument. Coupling my business awareness skills with my strong interest in leaseholders such as myself, I help to ensure the panel looks at matters from both tenants' and leaseholders' perspectives. This is vital, given that leaseholders represent a significant percentage of residents and have traditionally been an under-represented group. I maintain the confidentiality of all information and encourage more leaseholders to engage with the council, particularly in relation to maintenance. I am a co-founder of a performance dance group in Salisbury and a member of Hearts & Minds, a sub-group of Salisbury Transition City, both of which support holistic health and wellbeing for us all.
Teresa Middleditch (Tenant Member)
Focuses on all sides of problems and researches solutions. Listens well, is objective, thinks positively and maintains the confidentiality of information. Has worked with vulnerable people and is a committee member of a Neighbourhood Association. Training courses have included engineering, mechanics, welding and steelwork; also engaged in Wiltshire Council's Tenant Equality and Diversity Training, TPAS Become a Better Representative and Tenant Central's Effective Meetings and participated in Shine's Money Matters; volunteers for HealthWatch, including child and adult safeguarding awareness training.
Jenny Bolwell (Tenant Member)
Volunteering is in my DNA - in addition to the Challenge and Change Group, I'm involved with Christians Against Poverty, St Michaels Community Fridge Project and Bemerton Heath Residents Association, to name just a few. Residents' having a voice motivates me, helping to add extra weight to this fills me with pride.
Jo Butler (Tenant Member)
Governance and Scrutiny Officer
The Council House
The completed reports below were presented to Wiltshire Council's Housing Board by the Challenge and Change Group and include management responses.
Our scope: To examine, evaluate, comment and report upon the documentation and policies and procedures used in dealing with tenants, from the point of offer acceptance to the nine-month tenancy check visit, to determine the customer experience and satisfaction levels.
Introduction to a tenancy
Challenge and Change Report
Our scope: To ensure that when a property is void, the best property letting standard is applied. This is to include the importance of the decoration allowance arrangements, how inspections assist in delivering what residents and potential residents want, minimising rent loss, aiding quick service turn-around and the overall quality of a void property to the satisfaction of the resident.
Void properties and processes
Our scope: To evaluate and compare current planned maintenance arrangements for the renewal of kitchens and bathrooms against resident expectations and satisfaction levels, value for money, and to consider the appropriateness of a completely new structure for service delivery, whilst maintaining high standards of quality and ensuring effective communication throughout the whole process, and to comment and report upon the cost and time effectiveness for all.
Planned maintenance: kitchens and bathrooms
Our scope: To consider strengthening the focus of 'Housing Matters' on the reader, incorporating residents in the production cycle and being alert to the language register used, which would broaden, encourage and increase the level of readership. Evaluating the layout, presentation and delivery mechanisms, in the context of a continuously evolving environment which presents potentially growing challenges including but not limited to timeliness and finances, whilst delivering high standards of quality, thereby ensuring an up-to-date and value for money publication is produced
'Housing Matters' publication