What is the Tenant Scrutiny Panel?
The Tenant Scrutiny Panel is an independent body, made up solely of tenants. The idea of a Panel such as this came out of the Localism Act 2011, under co-regulation. Our duty and responsibility is to achieve greater transparency in Housing Services across the board.
We have had extensive training, and this coupled with a stringent Code of Conduct, means we have real influence to shape services to reflect local priorities. We scrutinise Swindon Borough Council's performance and identify and recommend areas for improvement. This influences future delivery. We continue to strive to develop our skills and capacity to ensure that our engagement and scrutiny are effective.
We also received very detailed and thorough training in dealing with complaints, and the Tenant Scrutiny Panel are the final stage in the complaints procedure. Under Housing law, if a tenant wishes to make a complaint, and is not happy with the outcome, they can escalate it to the Housing Ombudsman. However, if they choose to do this without first utilising the services of the Tenant Scrutiny Panel, there is a statutory further 8 week delay before the Housing Ombudsman will even consider it. On the other hand, if a tenant chooses to go through the various stages of a complaint, and then wishes it to come to the attention of the Scrutiny Panel, it can frequently be resolved at that level. There is, of course, then still the option to have the complaint heard by the Ombudsman after the Panel have heard it, but the time taken for it then to be heard is very much reduced.
The Panel do not receive many complaints, as most are resolved at a much earlier stage, but of the ones the Panel have heard, only one tenant chose to continue with the case on to the Ombudsman. In that particular case, the Ombudsman upheld the Panels decision.
What do we do, and what have we done?
So far, the Panel has:
Reviewed 6 Housing services
Made recommendations to improve both services and value for money
Approximately 85% of our recommendations are agreed and implemented and these are closely monitored by us
Implemented and advised on the tenant satisfaction survey
Attended quarterly performance monitoring meetings
Liaised closely with officers and tenants
Been involved extensively with the Annual Report
Looked at trends in comments and complaints from tenants and act upon them
Scrutinised Swindon Borough Council's Housing services
Heard tenants' complaints at the highest level before the final stage of the Housing Ombudsman
Advised and implemented the STAR survey
Liaised with Housing Cabinet Members
Undertaken and achieved a nationally recognised CIH Housing qualification
Been nominated for several awards
Advised other Scrutiny Panels across the country on how to achieve Best Practice
Spoken to tenants and shared our findings with them
All of our Reviews currently to date can be found at:
We welcome interaction and comments from other tenants, and would love to hear about your experience whether good or bad. We also currently have one space on our Panel for another member, so if you think that this is something that you would like to be involved with, please contact us for an informal chat on: