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Aragon Housing Association has introduced a new way that residents can get involved within the organisation. Scrutiny is form of resident involvement which scrutinises the services which Aragon provides, in a way which has not been done before.
It involves a Scrutiny Panel of Aragon residents (tenants, leaseholders and shared owners) being asked by others (Aragon residents, management, Board and Customer Committee) to review a service if there are concerns about how it is operating or if it is thought it could be improved.
Scrutiny requires the use of a range of skills including planning, investigating, effective questioning, evaluating and reviewing evidence, and reporting on findings.
The Scrutiny Panel will scrutinise the services which Aragon provides, as well as any other behind the scene work which supports these services. It is separate to other forms of resident involvement and is supported by a number of external organisations, including:
The Scrutiny Panel plays a large part in ensuring the success of Aragon, including:
The Panel works independently from other forms of involvement and makes its own decisions on which reviews are carried out, based on the requests it receives.
Requests for a review can be made from Aragon’s residents, management, Board or Customer Committee. The Panel will then make a decision on which reviews will be carried out and in which order. If a request is submitted from Aragon residents, it must be supported by a minimum of 50 tenants / leaseholders / shared owners. Reviews can include looking at policies and procedures and talking to Aragon residents, staff and contractors about the service.
So far, the Panel has completed two reviews.
The first review was on the bathroom refurbishment programme and looked at how it works from a resident's perspective. The review included learning about the current service provision and talking to residents, officers and contractors about the service. The majority of feedback was positive, however some of the recommendations to improve the service include:
Improve communcation with residents when bathroom refurbishments are due to take place
Improving information to residents on a wider scale about the bathroom refurbishment process and what bathroom options are avalable
To implement checklists where necessary to ensure all aspects of a bathroom review are covered and residents know what will happen
Contractors to wear photo ID at all times
The second review was on resident's understanding of the role of the housing officer and how they can be accessed. The review and action plan is currently being finalised, ready to send to the Aragon Board, however a key learning point through this review was the role of the Customer Services Team at Aragon and how they support and work with other departments at Aragon. Further details about this review will be added here after the Board meeting in February.
The Scrutiny Panel can have a maximum of 12 members including 10 tenants, one leaseholder and one shared owner.
Scrutiny Panel members don’t need any qualifications, as full training and support will be provided to enable them to fulfil their role, however any previous experience you may have will be considered during the selection process.
Currently we have spaces for residents and a shared owner on the Scrutiny Panel.
Aragon will cover expenses incurred by residents during their work on the Scrutiny Panel. This can include:
If residents think a particular service should be reviewed, they will need to submit information to the Scrutiny Panel. They will need to complete a form that gives details of the request for a scrutiny review, along with a petition form, which requires names, addresses and signatures of a minimum of 50 residents.
A scrutiny review involves looking at an existing service. They look at information available on the service and talk to Aragon staff, contractors and tenants about the service. This information is compared with other housing associations' services.
Once the review is complete, a report is written with recommendations on how to improve the service. Each Scrutiny review will look at good aspects of the servie as well as areas which could be improved.
The final report will go to Aragon's management and Customer Committee for information, and Aragon's Board for approval. All agreed recomendations will be monitored by Customer Committee until they have been implimented.
If you are interested in joining the Scrutiny Panel or would like any more information on the work of the Panel, please contact Sasha McGregor, Community Consultation Officer on 01525 844510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org