The latest graduates of the Tenants' Housing Academy
A night-school course where Hull council tenants can learn all about the city's housing service has produced more graduates.
The 13-week course, known as the Tenants, Housing Academy, covers topics such as housing law, equalities and customer care.
"I am delighted to see it's such a success," said Cllr Allen Healand, who is responsible for housing services in the city.
"Improving the housing service is a priority for the council and this allows tenants to be more fully engaged in that process."
Last year, the Academy won national recognition from the Chartered Institute of Housing, a charity that promotes education and training of people working in housing services in Britain.
Since it was started by the council's Tenant Participation Team in September 2005, the Academy has produced 38 graduates.
Thirteen graduates have since re-visited the Academy to receive updates on antisocial behaviour law.
"In future, we hope that tenants will deliver some of the learning sessions at the Academy as their knowledge and experience develops," said tenant participation officer Penny Dixon.
For more information about the academy, contact the Tenant Participation Team on 300300.
A tenants, and Residents, group is urging more people to become involved in the management of their neighbourhoods.
HURAT (Hull United Residents, and Tenants, Federation) says the benefits of people becoming involved are enormous.
"The key to neighbourhood management is that the concerns of tenants and residents are vital in helping to make decisions that will affect them," said a HURAT Director.
"It's about communities working together with local agencies to improve services.
"We're talking about increasing community safety, engaging young people, improving housing stock, and encouraging employment opportunities."
If you would like to know more about neighbourhood management or any other tenant and resident issues, contact HURAT on 01482 331313.
Area Housing Boards
Following city-wide elections, 32 council tenants have taken their seats on Hull's Area Housing Boards (AHBs).
Along with ward councillors, the tenants are now recruiting independent members (who are neither councillors nor council tenants) to join them on the boards.
The AHBs have been set up in six of the seven committee areas of the city, with the task of improving local housing services and setting priorities for action.
The newly-elected tenants are currently undergoing training before they receive full decision -making powers in April 2007.
The election for the Wyke area will take place in early February 2007.
Tenants, Forum meetings
The next meeting of the Tenants, Forum will be held on February 22, between 1pm-4pm, at the Guildhall.
The Forum is a group of tenants and residents from across the city who are dedicated to improving Hull Housing services.
March's meeting will be held on Saturday March 24, between 10am-1pm, at the Ferens Art Gallery.
For more information, or to join the Tenants, Forum, contact 300300 and ask for the Tenant Participation Team.
An inspector calls
Hull Housing tenants Bert Dockerty and Helen Jessop, who are both inspectors of housing services
With more than 28,000 homes to manage, Hull Housing is looking for inspectors to make sure the council department is providing a first-rate service
Imagine being landlord to thousands of tenants. Imagine working through the endless 'to do, list: the maintenance, reletting, rent collection, antisocial behaviour, estate management, customer access and public involvement, to name a few of the issues handled by staff at Hull Housing.
But it's up to the tenants to make sure that the staff who are responsible for this do a good job.
And this month, more tenants are being recruited to join a team of tenant inspectors, who look into the quality of service delivered by Hull Housing.
"Carrying out the inspections means we provide a written report feedback about what we've discovered, so that alterations and improvements can be made," says council tenant Helen Jessop, who became an inspector two years ago.
In that time she has interviewed a wide range of staff at the Hull Housing service, from directors to front-line staff in housing offices.
"It brings you a lot of respect. You can really see behind the scenes and meet the people who make the service work," she adds.
Another tenant inspector is Bert Dockerty, who last year specifically looked into the HomeSearch service, the council's home-letting scheme that ensures families find the right council homes for their needs.
"We were given a list of staff involved in HomeSearch, and we picked who to interview. Most importantly, no-one has the questions in advance, so there is no time to prepare answers!" said Bert.
Could you be a tenant inspector?
This year's tenant inspection of Hull Housing will begin at the end of March and will focus on the service surrounding empty homes.
Recruitment for more inspectors, who should always be able to work as part of a team, will start at the end of February. They will be fully supported the council's Tenant Participation Team.
If you are interested in becoming a tenant inspector, call 300300 and ask for the Tenant Participation Team.