Radius has become the first housing association in Northern Ireland to achieve the Tenant Participation Standards Accreditation from Supporting Communities.
The TP Standards are ten criteria for tenant involvement that an organisation must meet to become accredited. Accreditation is awarded at three levels based on the Scottish model and adapted for Northern Ireland by Supporting Communities.
"It is a brave decision for any organisation to put their activities under the microscope to be independently examined. Radius was braver still to be the first in Northern Ireland to do so," said Sheenagh McNally, Head of Corporate Services.
The accreditation process includes a self-assessment, focus groups with tenants, board, and staff from throughout the organisation, an independent assessment by Supporting Communities, and finally independent validation from an external panel, in this case, chaired by Lesley Baird, CEO of TPAS Scotland.
Sheenagh McNally and Colm McDaid from Supporting Communities presented a plaque to Radius' Chief Executive, John McLean, in recognition of this tremendous achievement.
"First of all, I must pay tribute to the staff team involved in completing a very impressive self-assessment that included two very large lever arch folders of documentary evidence," Sheenagh remarked.
“Radius Housing has made significant strides in engaging tenants over the last four years since its merger in 2017. There are excellent examples of good practice throughout the submission that can be described as sector leading. As the first housing association in Northern Ireland to put your tenant engagement activities under the spotlight, you have certainly set the bar high for other organisations wishing to do likewise," Sheenagh told Radius.
Supporting Communities led a robust assessment of Radius' tenant participation work to date, highlighting good practice and making suggestions for improvement in areas. An independent panel then individually rated the standards against a set of competencies before collectively discussing their findings and awarding an overall rating of Sliver Level 2. A remarkable achievement straight out of the gate!
Radius Housing Chief Executive, John McLean, remarked, “It is paramount that tenants have a meaningful say in how we prioritise and deliver our services. Right from the outset at the planning stage of new homes through handover to the creation of diverse and shared neighbourhoods, we learn so much from our tenants and welcome their input.
“We have hard-working staff engaging daily with tenants, building thriving communities. But we know we can do even better, and that’s why we embraced the Tenant Participation Assessment, overseen by Supporting Communities.”
“Yes, we are delighted to be the first NI-based recipient of the assessment and to win the much-coveted Silver Award. However, more importantly, we look forward to enhancing our partnership by implementing the really positive recommendations from the assessment panel. I have no doubt that the TP Assessment will increase tenancy sustainability and resilience across all Radius communities and, indeed, the wider social housing sector, should other providers follow suit."
Tenant Participation accreditation will help raise the standard of tenant involvement in Northern Ireland. It is a robust and structured process for assessing how well landlords involve tenants and residents in their services and flagging opportunities for improvement.
Colm McDaid, Chief Executive of Supporting Communities, said, "We look forward to working with many more housing providers to achieve the standard and improve the ways in which they engage and involve the people that matter most - their tenants. The TP Standards are one more way we can take tenant participation to the next level in Northern Ireland."