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ng homes seeks to boost communication and tenant engagement after TPAS Conference

written by Anne-Marie Taylor, following the TPAS Scotland Tenant's Conference held 21-23 June in Glasgow.


We spoke with Lynne Cooper, Director of Housing Services at ng homes, about key lessons from the recent TPAS Annual conference, which centered around the importance of communication and tenant engagement.

Communication was a constant theme throughout the event. From discussions on improving communication from politicians to a panel session highlighting the need for active listening, the conference emphasised the critical role communication plays. “We all might believe we’re communicating effectively with our tenants,” Lynne acknowledged, “but sometimes it’s simply not enough.”

ng homes, the headline sponsor of this year’s TPAS Scotland conference, faces challenges attracting new tenants to their Board, particularly from younger demographics. “We need a new approach,” Lynne emphasised. “We must continuously listen to what people want, not make assumptions. We need to be open to improvement. By combining these elements, our communication will undoubtedly strengthen.”

The conference explored communication channels, from traditional print newsletters to modern, digital channels including social media. Looking back at the discussions and workshops, Lynne posed an important question: “We currently distribute our newsletter twice a year, supporting our efforts to engage with our tenants and residents in other ways.”

“The challenge we, like many housing associations, face is identifying where we next focus our efforts to bring tenants and residents into discussions, or how to best share important updates and information. Should we speak with them over digital channels such as TikTok or Instagram?”

“The need to connect with tenants through their preferred methods and platforms is recognised by ng homes – and we have already started the journey, using a range of channels and methods to ensure we reach our tenants and residents. Our challenge will be to keep developing that two-way communication in ways that are flexible, sustainable and contribute meaningfully to the challenges set for the housing sector, such as Net Zero targets.”

The value of scrutiny groups is recognised by ng homes. Pre-pandemic, they had three active focus groups, but attempts to transition online via platforms like Teams and Zoom proved unsuccessful in engaging tenants. Re-establishing in-person engagement is another current hurdle.

“As an organisation,” Lynne stressed, “it’s crucial to listen to our tenants’ perspectives and understand their desires. Moving forward, our focus is on identifying ways to get tenants involved. If the Board isn’t their preferred avenue, perhaps they’d be interested in subgroups or sessions focused on areas they’re passionate about.”

“We acknowledge that Board membership comes with significant responsibility and time commitment, and that’s not ideal for everyone. Tenants seek tangible outcomes from their involvement. They want to influence decisions that lead to improvements in their communities, increased local engagement, and enhanced services.”

A renewed focus on tenant engagement will be a key part of exciting changes for ng homes over the upcoming six to twelve months. Discussions and workshops at the TPAS conference have provided inspiration and Lynne is looking forward to bringing fresh ideas to efforts to engage with tenants and residents in North Glasgow.

John Devine, CEO of ng homes added, “Attending the TPAS annual conference is a great experience for our staff and tenants.  The sharing of learning and knowledge from other housing associations and tenants is invaluable and we would like to thank TPAS Scotland for putting on such a fantastic event.”

Jacqueline Norwood, Interim CEO at TPAS Scotland said, “ng homes’ backing and support at this year’s Annual Conference was invaluable. Their support allowed us to create a bigger and better event, resulting in a truly positive experience for all attendees. We’re looking forward to working further with ng homes to develop their tenant engagement strategy.”

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