East Lothian is the first local authority in Scotland to receive re-accreditation at gold standard for its work with council tenants.
The Accreditation programme, developed by TIS (Tenants Information Service) and Scotland’s Housing Network harnesses expertise to measure performance, and highlight the initiatives that housing organisations across the Scottish social housing sector are taking to lead the way and sustain tenant scrutiny.
The robust framework recognises a level of tenant, resident, and community engagement, participation, and influence by a standard of bronze, silver, or gold.
East Lothian Council was first accredited in 2017 with a three-year term and is the first housing organisation of its kind in Scotland to trail-blaze, and uphold its first class standard for a further three-year term.
Together with a number of tenants, the council celebrated its achievement at East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel (ELTRP) Sparkle Awards ceremony, which took place virtually on the evening of Thursday 17th December 2020.
Ilene Campbell, Chief Executive of TIS, was thrilled to award the council with the highest standard at the online gathering. She said: “It is critical that housing organisations across the sector provide a platform and empower tenants, residents, and communities to have their say and shape the housing services that they receive. This remarkable level of award is a testament to the commitment of East Lothian Council to deliver the very best services. Their vigorous methods of partnership working makes it clear to see that customers are at the forefront of moulding the Council’s future.”
East Lothian Council submitted an impressive portfolio of information that evidenced efforts to maintain and strengthen a Gold level of scrutiny.
An independent panel of assessors reviewed the data and formed a final audit report. The panel were unanimous in their decision to award Gold, and in their report hailed the council’s commitment to encourage tenants to steer policy, and have a meaningful role in scrutinising and shaping housing services.
Andrea Finkel-Gates, Chief Executive Officer of Scotland’s Housing Network, said: “A Gold standard is truly deserved. It is evident that scrutiny runs throughout, and is embedded within the culture of East Lothian Council at all levels. The scrutiny work that takes places informs real service improvements, and engagement with hard to reach groups is excellent.”
Councillor Jim Goodfellow, the council's spokesperson for Housing, said: “This is fantastic news. Our partnership working with tenants has been a real strength for a number of years, and aids us in ensuring we are providing the best possible service as a landlord. I would like to thank all colleagues and our tenant partners who have been involved in ensuring that we are leading the way in tenant participation. This reaccreditation, and the fact that we are the first local authority in Scotland to achieve this, is testament to the quality of the work done by housing staff and the genuine regard in which we hold our tenants’ opinions and contributions.”