A final report on the achievements of a four-year training and learning programme ‘Stepping Up to Scrutiny’ has been published by CIH Scotland.
Delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government through a partnership between CIH Scotland and HouseMark Scotland, the scrutiny programme comprised a series of focussed workshops aimed at helping tenants and social housing landlords to work collaboratively on decisions about service delivery through a detailed understanding of performance, including performance data.
The workshops were designed to be suitable for tenants, staff, Board and Committee members, councillors and senior managers.
The scrutiny programme has achieved a number of lasting successes, detailed in the report. In total, 19 organisations completed the programme. Of the 577 participants 30% (172) were tenants. Additionally, by the end of the programme, 28 candidates from 6 different organisations had achieved a CIH Level 3 Award in Resident Scrutiny, which participants from the programme had the opportunity to take. Nine of those completing the qualification were staff members and 19 were tenants.
There are also several outputs which will ensure the legacy of the scrutiny programme, now that the formal delivery of the training has ended:
- The guide ‘Developing Effective Tenant Scrutiny – A Practice Guide for Landlords and Tenants’ has disseminated good practice across the sector.
- The training toolkit ‘Stepping Up to Scrutiny – Trainer Toolkit’ has allowed organisations across Scotland to use the materials from the programme within their organisations in a structured and focussed way.
- The establishment of a CIH Scotland Excellence in Scrutiny Award gives landlords and tenants the opportunity to celebrate achievements and put them forward for external assessment.
Commenting on the ‘Stepping up to Scrutiny’ programme, Anne Cook, head of social housing services team at the Scottish Government, said: “Scrutiny involves adopting a tenant-centred approach to landlord activities. The commissioning of the scrutiny training and learning programme was underpinned by a vision to embed tenant scrutiny into landlord and tenant activities across Scotland.
“The development of the scrutiny programme was therefore focussed on encouraging and facilitating culture change within organisations, as much as the delivery of a series of focussed workshops on scrutiny. I am delighted that the programme has helped embed tenant scrutiny as a mainstream activity for many social landlords in Scotland and has been a key factor in the expansion of tenant scrutiny across the country.”
CIH Scotland executive director, Annie Mauger, said: “As the home of professional standards for the Scottish housing sector, CIH Scotland is delighted to have been part of the scrutiny programme over the past few years. We hope the final report, practice guide and training toolkit will support CIH members and others in their ongoing work to deliver services that are responsive to the needs of their tenants.”
Kirsty Wells, head of HouseMark Scotland, added: “Along with CIH Scotland we are delighted to have been involved in the successful delivery of the Stepping Up to Scrutiny programme since 2013.
“Tenants’ understanding of performance and cost data is critical if they are to scrutinise the success of their landlords in delivering the Charter outcomes in line with the regulatory framework. The training provided through Stepping Up to Scrutiny ensured that tenants had access to data to enable them to assess service quality and value for money.”