Council housing handbook

Getting involved

Chapter 9: Getting involved

In this section:

Tenant scrutiny panel

The tenant scrutiny panel (TSP) is a group of trained volunteer council tenants who review the services delivered by Swindon Borough Council's (SBC) housing departments. 

It came into being as a result of the Localism Act 2011. This gives social housing tenants new ways of holding their landlords to account. The panel works alongside the council's Housing team to improve services provided to all council tenants, but is self-determined in its decision making.

What the panel does:

  • Scrutinises the housing services we deliver to all tenants
  • Gives an independent view of SBC’s housing performance compared to other Local Authority landlords
  • Works separately to, and independent of, all other existing tenant groups
  • Highlights what SBC's housing teams do well and what they need to improve
  • Reports back to tenants, service managers and councillors on recommendations to improve services and implement change
  • Networks with other tenant scrutiny panels and housing organisations
  • Contributes to and supports the annual report to tenants
  • Sit as the tenant complaints panel at the final stage in the council's complaints procedure for housing issues. See chapter 10: Complaints, feedback and procedures

The panel members all have:

  • A genuine interest in helping to improve SBC housing services
  • A commitment to attend meetings with other tenants, officers and elected members and to take part in the discussions
  • An interest in attending training sessions to develop their individual skills

Skills you will need to be an effective panel member:

  • Common sense
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Be able and willing to express views clearly and objectively
  • Respect the views of others
  • Be able to challenge constructively

In return for your commitment, we will offer you a chance to learn new skills and to be part of the shaping of future services.

We will also reimburse approved out-of-pocket expenses, including travel and childcare.

For more information please contact:

Housing Participation Lead
E-mail: ccuthbert@swindon.gov.uk

Swindon Tenants Voice

Swindon Tenants Voice (STV) is a long-established group open to all housing tenants and leaseholders. It covers a wide range of discussion topics, including: 

  • promoting tenants' rights
  • maintenance and improvement of the housing service
  • housing conditions
  • amenities and the environment

Meetings are held approximately every six weeks. For more information, contact Paul Wilkins:

Tenants Association Sheltered Housing

Tenants Association Sheltered Housing (TASH) meetings are open to all Swindon Borough Council sheltered housing tenants. The purpose of the meetings is to ensure residents' views are heard and understood by those responsible for the decisions that affect them.

TASH members help make a positive difference to sheltered housing by influencing important decisions at an early stage, and addressing shared concerns. Key to this is effective communication with other residents and sheltered housing staff.

For more information, contact Paul Wilkins:

Street reps

Street reps are community champions who are involved in improving where they live. They join in with community projects and activities and give feedback on the services they receive from SBC Housing.

Street Reps work with the Housing Participation Team to make their neighbourhoods safe, clean and a nice place to live.

There are currently groups across the borough. We will always help tenants who want to establish a new group where they live. To find out more about becoming a street rep, email  NBrock@swindon.gov.uk.

Refresh - communities making a difference

Refresh is a pot of money set aside by SBC for tenants to use to improve where they live. Tenants can apply for funds to enable projects that enhance their neighbourhoods.

Projects need to be maintained by the community in the long-term and enable residents to learn new skills, bring neighbours together and improve environments. Examples of previous projects include support for community gardens, environmental works, road safety campaigns and community cafes.

A tenant group reviews the completed projects and they talk to the local residents to find out what benefits have been brought to the community.

To find out more, or to join the tenant group, email: getinvolved@swindon.gov.uk  or visit the apply for funding to refresh your neighbourhood webpage.

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