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'Selection' row over tenants' representatives
A WYRE Forest councillor has called a housing association’s proposal to select, rather than elect, tenant representatives “undemocratic”.
Labour councillor Adrian Sewell hit out at the decision by Wyre Forest District Council’s cabinet to allow the tenant services committee/central tenants’ forum of the Community Housing Group (CHG) to change the way its tenants become representatives. Council leader Conservative Marcus Hart said the agreement of the authority was not needed for the forum to change its constitution in that way.
The change came despite a response from Wyre Forest’s overview and scrutiny committee last month which recommended appointments continue to be made by an election process.
A spokesman for the central tenants’ forum said the change would mean individuals “with the right skills, experience and knowledge” would be appointed but Mr Sewell said people wanted to elect those who represented them and not to do so would be “undemocratic”.
Mr Sewell said: “Tenants should select who they want to represent them and if they are not happy with them they can kick them out.”
He added: “The proposal is insulting to tenants, people who are put on the council’s planning committee for example are not necessarily planning experts.”
The forum statement said: “Part of a new regulatory requirement is for all independent board members to be appointed through a skills-based selection process and we believe tenants should be selected on the same basis. This would mean individuals with the right skills, experience and knowledge would be appointed to represent tenants. The selection process being proposed would be open to all tenants and based on them demonstrating through application and interview by fellow tenants their experience of being a tenant of the Community Housing Group and skills relating to community representation and communication.”
It added: “As elections are due to take place again this summer, we believe it’s the right time to consult all tenants on a proposal to move away from election to a selection process and our fellow tenant representatives have shown support for this.”
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