'Selection' row over tenants' representatives

Kidderminster Shuttle: Labour councillor Adrian Sewell Labour councillor Adrian Sewell

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.”

Comments (1)

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4:12pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Primrose Coley says...

I would take you more seriously councillor Sewell if you were rowing over the 'Bedroom Tax' or the sale of Sheltered - housing stock by Wyre Forest Community Housing. Both of which are being sanctioned by the current government. If you wish to help Wyre Forest Community Housing tenants, rowing about the tenant's- representatives selection process, is not the road to travel. Look at the cuts in Government funding to County Councils , and ultimately to Wyre Forest Community Housing and other organisations. Namely the Supporting People fund. Wyre Forest Sheltered housing tenants have lost their gardening services, alarm services, some warden services, subsidised hot meals and even the garden refuse collection - the latter obviously applies to all householders.
So councillor Sewell, Most sheltered housing tenants are elderly, disabled or in need of support in varying degrees. They are being asked to pay extra tor the above mentioned services from an already limited income, which swallows up, over and above this year's and the previous two year's pension rises. Then, to add insult to injury, the housing company is selling off some of the sheltered housing stock too. All with the blessing of today's government. I have this in writing, which is proof enough for me.............
How about you Councillor Sewell? Sort this out first, before you wade in to the democratic processes of tenant representatives, because from where I'm sitting, there's nothing remotely democratic about the above either.
I would take you more seriously councillor Sewell if you were rowing over the 'Bedroom Tax' or the sale of Sheltered - housing stock by Wyre Forest Community Housing. Both of which are being sanctioned by the current government. If you wish to help Wyre Forest Community Housing tenants, rowing about the tenant's- representatives selection process, is not the road to travel. Look at the cuts in Government funding to County Councils , and ultimately to Wyre Forest Community Housing and other organisations. Namely the Supporting People fund. Wyre Forest Sheltered housing tenants have lost their gardening services, alarm services, some warden services, subsidised hot meals and even the garden refuse collection - the latter obviously applies to all householders. So councillor Sewell, Most sheltered housing tenants are elderly, disabled or in need of support in varying degrees. They are being asked to pay extra tor the above mentioned services from an already limited income, which swallows up, over and above this year's and the previous two year's pension rises. Then, to add insult to injury, the housing company is selling off some of the sheltered housing stock too. All with the blessing of today's government. I have this in writing, which is proof enough for me............. How about you Councillor Sewell? Sort this out first, before you wade in to the democratic processes of tenant representatives, because from where I'm sitting, there's nothing remotely democratic about the above either. Primrose Coley
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