Resident scrutiny means a better service
Phoenix Community Housing’s Resident Scrutiny Panel scrutinises our performance, ensures we’re meeting our standards, and looks at complaints and comments to see how we’re doing. For Tpas England's National Scrutiny Week, the panel has written about why their work is important.
The Resident Scrutiny Panel exists to make sure Phoenix residents are getting a good deal.
We start off each year by thinking about what topics we should look over this year. That could be based on comments that other residents make about Phoenix services to us, complaints made to Phoenix, or services that Phoenix staff think would make for a good review.
In the Scrutiny Panel, while we have different experiences, we all come together as residents and knowing some of the common issues we and our neighbours experience.
The most important thing about it is that we go into our review with open minds. We don’t scrutinise services for the sake of it and for “gotcha” moments if we find huge faults – these are services for us and our neighbours after all, so of course we don’t! We want to find they’re working exactly as they should be, but will always be honest when we find things that could be done better.
It’s really important that we say job well done when it is. One of the things we enjoy most is a review that finds a really well run service: not least because, we hope, our review will inspire other services at Phoenix to take on ideas for what might work for them.
And we think it’s just as important when we say: “this needs to improve.”
Phoenix, as a resident-led housing association, is run by trained professionals, some with decades of experience in the housing sector. However we don’t ever forget that, in the end, it’s the residents who are in charge.
We shape and steer decisions to ensure that residents are always at the heart of services. It’s not that we think Phoenix staff don’t know what they’re doing or that they don’t care about us – it’s just that we believe residents know best what our community needs and what our priorities are.
Things like the Scrutiny Panel are so important because they offer a way for residents to make a change. We think that, aside from the formal ways we work, having a Scrutiny Panel and being resident-led means that everyone shares the attitude that we are a community and that, together, we can address challenges our community faces.
Being resident-led means that residents can influence and help to deliver the best service, and control what and where money is spent to provide the best use for residents. And, if we can help find savings, then Phoenix can invest that money elsewhere in the community.
We’d really encourage all residents to get involved. The opportunities are there. It doesn’t have to be with us in the Scrutiny Panel (although we’re always looking for more residents to take part!). There are lots of opportunities to get involved, whether you have time on your hands or just a few minutes every so often to fill in a survey and give your views.
Whatever you do, you have a say in your community. Phoenix is resident-led and we can’t waste that chance.
Ultimately, we’re working to make sure that we can all take pride in our community. That’s what we’re here for and that’s why we’ll keep on scrutinising the good and the bad to help make every resident proud.
Eileen Davies, Frank Osborn, Gwen Smith, Karen Stokes – Resident Scrutiny Panel
If you’re a Phoenix resident and would like to join the Panel or observe a review to find out more about the panel’s work, we’d love to hear from you.