Resident Engagement Strategy Best Practice from Poplar HARCA, United Kingdom.
Poplar HARCA (UK) is committed to engaging residents in decision-making. Residents are involved in shaping regeneration, community development, and the provision of services in their neighbourhood. In 2022, in its response to the UK Government’s White Paper on Social Housing, Poplar HARCA launched the Community Panel to lead on developing a new resident engagement strategy. The aim was to recommend how Poplar HARCA could improve on listening and acting on residents’ feedback. This included how residents can inform, get involved, and shape Poplar HARCA decisions.
Poplar HARCA appointed six residents to form the Community Panel. The Panel heard evidence and expert views from a variety of organisations and agencies both in and outside of the housing sector on what strong resident engagement looks like. The Panel put forward its findings as recommendations to Poplar HARCA’s board.
Who could take part in the Community Panel?
Poplar HARCA tenants, resident leaseholders, shared owners, and anybody living in a Poplar HARCA home were eligible to apply. No specific skills were necessary apart from a willingness to help improve Poplar HARCA’s strategy, be open-minded, value diversity and inclusion, and work well in a team. Poplar HARCA provided contributions to expenses to ensure equitable opportunities for participation.
How was the process structured?
The community panel ran from September 2022 – April 2023. There were five key phases to the community panel process:
- Understanding the brief – getting to know the team and task, planning the way forward
- Exploring data and resident feedback – better understanding the current situation, challenges, and needs
- Research and expert evidence – meeting with numerous stakeholders to obtain evidence
- Consolidate findings – developing a vision statement, strategic objectives, and success measures
- Present the Resident Engagement Strategy – finalising, testing, and presenting the strategy to the board
Outcomes of the community panel
The Community Panel produced a resident engagement strategy that sets out a vision for engagement developed by residents. The expert insights along with their own lived experiences and feedback from residents were instrumental in developing a set of resident engagement objectives in line with what residents truly need and expect from their housing provider. Participants reported feeling empowered by the process and the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community they live in.
This best practice was presented at our Leadership Summit 2023.