A Salford housing association claims to have given its tenants a “real voice” in the running of the business, with the launch of a new customer committee.
Salix Homes says the new body, which is made up of 12 residents, will be granted “unfettered access” to scrutinise the organisation. Members are drawn from a range of backgrounds and occupations and it will sit alongside Salix’s board in how it is governed.
“Salix Homes has always worked closely with its customers, but the development of our new customer committee has taken our customer engagement to an exciting level,” said Anne-Marie Bancroft, the housing provider’s customer engagement manager, who will be overseeing the committee.
“Our tenants are the ones living in our homes and communities, so there is no better voice to help shape our services than our customers. We’re looking forward to seeing what positive impacts the group achieve together with our full support.”
According to Salix, members of the customer committee are being remunerated for their time, insight and opinions, putting them on an equal footing with board members. Furthermore, two board members will also sit as part of the committee. This is said to provide assurance to the board that the “customer voice” is being heard.
“To get a truly representative and engaged group of residents, we realised we couldn’t continue to rely on goodwill and free-time,” said Lee Sugden, chief executive of Salix Homes. “It was important to us that our members were paid for their time and insight and given parity in our governance structures – the same way we would recognise an accountant or lawyer on our board for theirs.”
He added: “As we approach our five year anniversary this month since we transferred from Salford City Council, the launch of the customer committee feels like a big step in the right direction for us and honours the commitment we made to enhance how we give our tenants a real say in how we are run. It’s a real step change for customer engagement within the housing sector and we’re proud to be leading the way.”