Getting the Tenants’ Voice heard – Safer Buildings in Wales
TPAS Cymru is always keen to get the voices of tenants heard in Wales: particularly when looking at housing policies.
With this in mind we invited Mike Corrigan from Welsh Government to join us for the August Tenants’ Network: it was a fantastic opportunity for tenants from across Wales to give their views on the Safer Buildings in Wales White Paper.
Over 25 tenants from RSLs and Local Authorities from all areas of Wales attended the online network. Mike Corrigan explained that this was just one piece of consultation work being carried out by Welsh Government. Mike asked for tenants’ thoughts on some specific questions around, responsibility for building safety and the type of information tenants should be supplied with automatically, and what additional building safety information they would like and/or could ask for.
One tenant said “Mike Corrigan is well clued up on the subjects at hand and willing to discuss complex issues and simplify them so all can understand”.
The input from tenants was invaluable: their lived experiences, the input they hear from the wider tenant body, and their desire to improve services for all tenants gave Mike Corrigan and his colleague a wealth of information and opinions.
Among the topics discussed were:
fire safety issues relating to tenants living with disabilities;
the need for plain language building safety information to be provided to tenants by Landlords;
tenants wanting to know the name of the individual who is responsible for the Safer Building policy of their Landlord (this was seen to help build trust and the relationship between landlord and tenants in relation to Safer Buildings);
whether fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets should be made available to tenants living in flats.
All the contributions will be fed back by Mike and his colleague to Welsh Government for them to consider when further developing the Safer Buildings policies and procedures.
One of the tenants present said “Everybody who asked to speak were heard and Mike took notes about everything we mentioned, you felt that you had a useful input”.
The network was originally scheduled for one and a half hours, but because of the interest shown in the questions and the subject in general, delegates were invited to stay for an extra half hour to continue discussions.
Mike expressed his gratitude to everyone who attended, for their vital contributions and their questions. Later this year TPAS Cymru will be inviting Mike to give an update on how the input from the tenants’ network was used by Welsh Government to shape the Safer Buildings policy.
Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to this really important subject. The TPAS Cymru Tenants’ Networks are held monthly and are free for any tenant who’s interested in joining online. They’re a source of good practice and provide opportunities for tenants to network and to get their voices heard.
Last, but not least, here is one tenant’s response to the question: What was the best thing about the event? “The opportunity to have great conversations with a Welsh Government official who really listened to what all the tenants had to say. A really important subject, but also a really enjoyable and valuable session”.