Improving tenant engagement for effective Board members

Social housing providers across the country place a high value on tenant contribution, this is because residents of social housing bring a unique perspective to housing association boards and representative structures. What’s more, as direct users of the service, residents are able to offer invaluable insight into how an organisation is run and how it might be better improved.

So how do housing providers continue to ensure community growth? 

Social housing providers are becoming more ‘switched-on’ to the importance of engagement within communities, as a result this culture is embraced by senior staff members for many housing organisations across the UK, especially when it comes to electing tenants to the management Board.

Tenant Board members bring a significant contribution, candidates represent the community’s views and implement board policies and strategy.  For this reason chief executives and chairs of housing associations are seeking the assistance of electoral specialists such as UK Engage, which has experience of working in the housing sector and improving tenant engagement, which ultimately leads to representative and more-effective board members.

The election process should deliver effective tenant Board members

In order to run a successful election and to achieve your organisation’s Board-level management objectives, the community (including potential tenant Board members) must ‘buy-in’ to the process at an early stage. This is done through the constant dissemination of information. In addition, the community should be made aware of, and encouraged to participate in the nomination process. Furthermore, tenants should be inspired to vote for the candidates as a part of the final election process, ensuring they get to vote for the most representative and enthused nominees.

Raising awareness before your Board election

In order to raise awareness of the election, housing associations must communicate the election message to the wider community to ensure tenants understand the purpose of the election, including how their nominations and votes can help shape the way they are governed. UK Engage helps housing associations communicate this message in a number of ways, some more traditional such as posters, newsletters and postcards, other are more interactive – events such as workshops or community days whilst other methods cater for those candidates that embrace technology such as e-shots and websites.

Encouraging participation of (potential) tenant Board members

Getting involved is what makes an election a success, whether its tenants standing for election or voting, participation at the stage is of paramount importance. During this stage of your election UK Engage likes to ensure that efforts are focussed on gaining a cross-representation of candidates and that the nomination process is simple.  Support at this stage comes in many channels, for example: online and printed nomination forms that are easy to follow and outline the knowledge, skill and experience required to stand, other items that we find popular are posters, banners, candidate telephone follow-ups and SMS reminders.

Improving turnout – electing the most effective and enthused tenant Board members

Supplying clients with all of the tools they require to run a successful election should be more than simply printing ballot packs.  At this stage in your election UK Engage continues to engage, encourage and remind the electorate. Some of the ways we’ve helped increase turnout is through professionally-designed, colour ballot packs that are more appealing to the voter, easy-to-follow and simple to return.  In addition, reminder postcards and texts can also encourage turnout.  At the end of the election you may need counting or adjudication support as well as daily turnout updates and post-election analysis, all of which UK Engage provides to complete the election process.

Visit ‘Our Clients’ page to read about the great work we have done with Kensington & Chelsea TMO and Homes for Haringey.

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