Well it has been an extremely busy year for the Tenant Scrutiny Panel. We have completed one Review - 'Right First Time', and started not one, but two new Reviews on Tenant Participation and Voids (empty properties). We expect to complete both of these in the first half of 2018.
We have also welcomed a new Panel member; Alan. Alan joined us in September, and has slotted right into the team, picking up everything we have been doing with ease. Welcome on board, Alan - it's great to have you!
In addition to this, we have invited various guests to come in and talk to us, so that we can forge links with them, and they, in turn, can find out more about what we do. These guests have included the Mayor; Police and Crime Commissioner; Robert Buckland MP (Solicitor-General); and both our current and shadow Cabinet members for Housing. Other guests have included Scrutiny Panels from Bath and Bristol.
In such a great year, and with so many fabulous visitors to choose from, it is difficult to identify what stands out the most. But I think, as a team, we feel if we had to pick three highlights they would be:
The meeting with Robert Buckland, Solicitor General. He was very interested in the work that we do, and was keen to not only promote the Tenant Scrutiny Panel, but to work actively with us. In the light of this, Mr. Buckland extended an invitation to the Panel to visit him in the Houses of Parliament for lunch, and potentially a one-to-one visit with the Housing Minister! The Panel is very excited about this, and hopefully, this visit will take place in early 2018.
The meetings with both Cabinet Members for Housing, Elected and Shadow - Cathy Martyn and Emma Bushell, also has to rank up there as high point of the year. Both were extremely interested in the work of the Scrutiny Panel, and asked to be kept informed about current and future Reviews.
Another highlight of the year for the Panel has to be the networking event we held in October for Bath and Bristol Tenant Scrutiny Panels. This is becoming a regular event, and is always incredibly informative and useful. These events allow the Panels to share information about Reviews, and working practices. This last event resulted in an invitation for us to shadow Bath, as they have just completed their Review on Voids, so their experience will be invaluable when working on our own Review. We have also offered the same to Bath, for them to shadow us, as they are just about to start on a Review around Tenant Participation, so this mutual exchange of ideas will prove beneficial all 'round!
I think 2018 will prove as busy, if not busier, than this year and the Panel are anticipating several new challenges, all of which we will tackle with enthusiasm and professionalism.
So on that note, all that is left to say is that the Tenant Scrutiny Panel would like to wish all tenants and staff of Swindon Borough Council a very happy, health and peaceful Christmas and an enjoyable, exciting New Year.