THE IMPACT OF A TENANT’S VOICE
Tenants have the greatest influence over all major decisions affecting Ongo Homes with a 51% voting share.
The decision to hand over the majority share to tenants was taken as part of Ongo’s recognition of the essential role they must play in shaping the future direction of housing. Tenant group Community Voice also has approval rights for all operational policies, again handing direct influence over to those who understand our services best.
“To be successful in business, you must listen to your customers. We go one step further. Our tenants care as much about the success of Ongo as we do which is why their voice is equally important,” said Jo Sugden, Director of Corporate Services.
“We care about getting it right for our tenants and we want to demonstrate that by trusting them to make decisions which influence our policies.”
Recently, a Local Lettings policy was approved by tenants to reduce tenancy turnover, address crime and disorder and ultimately strengthen the community.
A robust resident scrutiny process also helps provide Community Voice with the insight and direction for approving, or challenging, policies and practices.
The outcome of an investigation can even prompt a full policy review. For example, tenants carried out an investigation into how Ongo worked with tenants to address changes in welfare policy. This was triggered from concerns that tenants would fall into financial hardship, resulting in increased arrears.
Janine Garner, chair of Community Voice, said: “Our scrutiny panel gives us assurance that Ongo practices are fit for purpose through independent checks and critical challenge. With that and delegated authority to approve operational policies, we have a direct hand in shaping services.
We see our role as one that drives change and influences improvements for the benefit of all Ongo tenants. We are as much part of the business as the staff.
To be successful we need the trust, respect, support and cooperation of our landlord. Ongo gives us this and it has allowed us to develop a strong relationship which has real impact.”