Awards recognise work of South Lanarkshire consultation groups

Showing off the award won by South Lanarkshire’s Budget Scrutiny Group are (front, left to right) Mary Ann Patrick, Jean Ramage, Jean Gilfillan and Jim McGeachie, with (rear, left to right) Ross McKie (South Lanarkshire Council), Adam Patrick, Aileen Muir (South Lanarkshire Council) and Stephen Connor (South Lanarkshire Tenants Development Support Project)

Tenants and residents from across South Lanarkshire have been recognised at a national level for their dedication and achievements.

The TIS National Excellence Awards are run annually to recognise truly outstanding work by those who are making a difference in their communities and in the housing sector.

At this year’s awards – held at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld – South Lanarkshire Council’s Budget Scrutiny Group won the award for Most Inspiring Scrutiny Group, while Rigside and Douglas Water Tenants’ and Residents’ Association took the Tenants and Residents Group of the Year award.

Annette Finnan, the council’s head of housing services, said: “The achievements of both groups demonstrate the work and dedication of our tenants, residents and community groups in making a real difference to the lives of tenants and residents in South Lanarkshire – work that is done in their own time and from a desire to improve life for those in their communities.

“They do not look for any recognition and that makes me even more delighted that they have received this award at a national level.

“The contributions these people make to the delivery of housing services are vital, influential and significant and it is only right that their work and its importance are marked by these well-deserved awards.”

The members of Rigside and Douglas Water Tenants’ and Residents’ Association who gathered with their trophy are (left to right) Jackie Fernie, Jackie McLeish (both South Lanarkshire Council), Betty Kerr, Nigel Love, Irene Bell, Helen Ramage, Ian Mitchell, Cath Armstrong, Billy Hamilton, Margaret Hamilton, Kate Cowan and Jan McLaughlan

The tenant-led Budget Scrutiny Group was formed by the council in 2009 to enable open and consistent monitoring of the housing budget, but it has evolved to play a key part in a range of regular council processes including responses to the Scottish Housing Charter.

The Charter contains a number of outcomes – results that the council should be intending to achieve – and the group monitors financial reports that include all of those outcomes.

As a result, tenant scrutiny is firmly embedded in the process of reporting on the council’s work in following the Charter. Benefits of this include increasing tenants’ knowledge of how services are delivered within a budget and providing full transparency of the Housing Service’s financial performance.

Rigside and Douglas Water Tenants’ and Residents’ Association has been running for more than 20 years and has a track record of effectively engaging with South Lanarkshire Council to ensure the views of tenants and residents help influence and shape the housing services it provides.

Within a challenging environment, the group has worked closely in partnership with the council’s Housing Services to develop a local area plan and have been instrumental in the ongoing planning of their local community’s future. In doing so, they have encouraged a range of organisations to work together to help improve the lives of residents and make Rigside and Douglas Water attractive places to live and visit.

With support from Housing Services, the group has helped to develop a community spirit, encouraging residents to get to know one another and improving communication throughout the villages to ensure everybody has the opportunity to know what is happening locally.

Annette Finnan added: “Rigside and Douglas Water Tenants’ and Residents’ Association works hard to represent the views of the wider community, encouraging involvement and bringing opportunities to the area.

“In working closely with Housing Services, they are able to use our knowledge and resources to combine with their local knowledge, enthusiasm and relentless effort to help shape and monitor progress of our shared plan for the local area.”

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