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Understanding the approaches to tenant participation in social housing: An evidence review

This evidence review explores research into tenant participation in social housing (local authorities and housing associations). It discusses conceptual issues, approaches to tenant participation and how these have changed over time, and perceptions of the purpose, drivers, barriers, and benefits of tenant participation for different groups.

The key findings include:

  • Academic research has been concerned with understanding the nature of power, the growing ‘responsibilisation’ of tenants through participation processes, and the ways in which incorporation within governance arrangements may impact on ‘tenant identities’
  • Tenant participation activities can be seen as happening along a spectrum of involvement, from the provision of information to involvement in the governance of social housing providers. However, many of these activities are landlord-initiated and take place within participation structures created by landlords
  • There is some evidence of a shift in tenant participation activities, towards the use of technology and customer data analysis
  • Tenant motivations for participation are diverse, but it has been acknowledged that some individuals and social groups may face barriers to participation, which may relate to structures, perceptions of lack of influence, institutional atmospheres, or practical issues
  • Housing providers have different motivations for promoting tenant participation, for example improving housing management functions and contributing to value for money agendas. Regulatory requirements can also drive approaches to tenant participation, but regulatory frameworks differ between devolved nations

The review finishes by identifying a number of evidence gaps. This is the first output from the project, which will inform further research with key stakeholders and landlords. If you would like to find out more, please contact one of the project team.

Author: Dr Jenny Preece


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Date: July 29, 2019 9:00 am

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