Views from a KRiSP panel member
David West, KRiSP Chair 2013 - 2019, looks back at how the panel has gone from strength to strength over the last 5 years.
How it all started
Several years ago changes were made to the Housing & Regeneration Act which included a need under Tenant Involvement & Empowerment for all landlords, including Kingston Council, to involve residents in “the scrutiny of landlord’s performance and the making of recommendations to their landlord about how performance might be improved.”
Following this, in the Autumn of 2013, RBK housing started recruiting tenants and leaseholders for their own Scrutiny Panel. Designated as Kingston Resident Scrutiny Panel, someone decided to add an “I” to reflect the “all seeing eye”, thus KRiSP was formed. I should point out that nowadays the members regard the “I” to stand for Independent and they guard that independence with a passion!
What we do and what we don’t
Early the next year the successful candidates underwent training and produced their first report into Garages in April 2014. Garages was considered an easy subject for KRiSP to undertake with no real issues to be addressed.
However it turned out to be a perfect educational aid not only for KRiSP, but also the Housing Management Team and Councillors, highlighting as it did issues that have recurred in many of the other bi-annual reports produced. Since then we have undertaken 2 reviews every year covering a range of subjects which have included Parking Issues, Service Charges & Sheltered Housing.
We are pleased with the reports we have produced and also with Management Team’s response to our recommendations, leading we believe, not only to an improved service level for residents but improvements for employees and a better understanding of the other sides point of view.
Lastly, I must touch on what we do not do. We attempt to represent residents across the borough on the larger issues and this means that although we can sympathise with residents who have issues around their property or quality of life we are unable to represent them on an individual basis. We do however listen to resident views to help us decide what areas we should be investigating.
We’re looking for new members
We are a mixed ability group of Tenants & Leaseholders coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. KRiSP started with a membership of 15 members from the proposed 20 and currently we have only 8 members. For this reason we are actively inviting residents to apply to join us. Don’t worry we will provide Training and a Mentor for all successful applicants.
KRiSP is a welcoming and sociable group and members are reimbursed for their time in the form of shopping vouchers. To find out more or for details of one of our information sessions visit www.kingston.gov.uk/KRiSP