NORTH EAST PARTNERSHIP VYING FOR RECOGNITION BY NATIONAL ORGANISTION
NEWS RELEASE: ISSUED ON BEHALF OF HOUSING HARTLEPOOL
An innovative joint venture by Housing Hartlepool, Gentoo and HouseMark is vying to be adopted as a trial model for service standards.
The three organisations have joined forces to launch the first housing association peer review on estate services in the North East.
This involves residents from Hartlepool and Sunderland helping evaluate estate management services provided by each organisation.
This customer-led inspection embraces the Audit Commission’s and the Tenant Services Authority’s (TSA) desire for residents of housing associations to be involved in setting and monitoring service standards.
Now the Teesside and Wearside joint venture is bidding for its conclusions on standards to be adopted as a pilot with the TSA.
The peer review involves the checking of ground maintenance, garage sites, cleaning of communal areas, conditions of gardens and play areas and the management of open spaces.
A team of six tenants from Housing Hartlepool’s Tenant Consultation Panel make up the review team alongside seven from Gentoo with each group touring each other’s estates.
This inspection squad has received training from HouseMark on how to carry out the evaluation of estate management services. HouseMark has developed, in consultation with the sector, a set of standards and a ‘photo book’ which helps tenants understand the level of estate services they should expect to receive.
Helen Ivison, Housing Hartlepool’s Housing Manager, said: “Resident involvement is a high priority at Housing Hartlepool with tenants often best-placed to identify ways to improve services and how their local areas need to be looked after.
“The scheme is working well. We hope that the quality of the collaboration will lead to its outcomes on best practice being chosen as a pilot for the setting of local standards by the TSA.”
Michelle Meldrum, Deputy Director of Gentoo Sunderland, said: “The peer review is an excellent way for Housing Hartlepool and Gentoo to learn from each other to formulate strategies and future improvements which will benefit our tenants and residents.”
HouseMark, which is jointly owned by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation, is a consultancy helping the social housing sector to improve performance and achieve value for money.
CONTACT: Helen Logan on 01325 363436
Notes to editors: Housing Hartlepool is the largest housing association in Hartlepool.
It was set up in March 2004 to take over the ownership and management of the Council's rented housing stock following a positive ballot by tenants. It is a not for profit charitable organisation.
Housing Hartlepool is run by a voluntary board that consists of four tenant members, four council nominees and four independent people.
The company manages 7,000 properties throughout the Hartlepool area and surrounding villages. These range from five-bedroom family houses to flats for single people. In addition there is a wide range of bungalows and sheltered housing complexes for the elderly.
In addition to its core landlord role Housing Hartlepool is also the main housing regeneration agent in the town and is developing much needed affordable homes in the area.
For more information, go to: www.housinghartlepool.org.uk
Helen Ivison, Housing Hartlepool Housing Manager and Colin McCartney, Gentoo Sunderland Head of Operations(front) with Peer Review residents