Co-op housing apex gets government funds for tenant empowerment scheme

The Confederation of Co-operative Housing will co-deliver a training package to help social tenants engage with their landlords

The Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) has been drafted by the UK government to help deliver a scheme to teach social housing tenants to engage with their landlords to demand better service.

The project, which comes in the wake of the death of a two-year-old boy made ill by mould in a flat at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, sees CCH and its partner organisation Public Participation Consultation and Research (PPCR) given £500,000 to roll out a training package open to any social housing tenant in England.

Residents will learn how to take an active role in how their home is managed through a series of workshops, forums and online resources that will run over the next two and a half years.

The goal is to drive “a process of cultural change in the social housing sector leading to a better balance of power between landlords and residents”, improving residents’ awareness of their rights to raise complaints and to access the services of the Housing Ombudsman.

Related: Rochdale Boroughwide Housing loses £1m in government funding over mould death

It will focus on activities that achieve a maximised breadth and diversity of resident involvement in the programme through a tiered approach to raise awareness and provide access to information and resources.

Blase Lambert, CEO of CCH, said: “CCH and PPCR is receiving support from government to enhance our work empowering and inspiring social housing residents in England.

“We exist to promote resident empowerment and control and want all residents to understand their rights, be able to raise issues with their landlords, hold them to account, and to be able to shape and improve the services they receive and the homes they live in.

“Our vision for this programme is for it to be a catalyst for change, complementing other government actions outlined in the Social Housing White Paper, helping to drive a process of cultural change in the social housing sector, and leading to a better balance of power between landlords and residents.”

Social housing minister Baroness Scott said: “Landlords are responsible for giving tenants the decent home they deserve and the government is taking action to ensure tough consequences for any who fall short.

“We also want to make sure every resident is heard and has the opportunity to be actively involved in how their home is managed.

“This new government-backed scheme will help to do just that – empowering residents to challenge their landlord where needed and contribute to positive change in their homes and communities.”

The programme activities will commence in spring 2023 with a series of training sessions across the country, monthly online webinars, and the publication of a wide range of resources for residents through online social media and click to view platforms.

Meanwhile, ministers are preparing the Social Housing Regulation Bill, delivering new powers for the Housing Ombudsman to take action on complaints. It will also provide the regulator with tougher powers to enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants and the landlord has failed to act, with landlords footing the bill