City of Wolverhampton Council has set up a new City Housing Oversight Panel to empower council tenants and leaseholders.

The launch of the new scrutiny panel took place last night (Tuesday) at the Civic Centre, with the panel consisting of residents, facilitated by tenant engagement experts Tpas, and supported by the council’s city housing team.

It will form part of a new scrutiny process aimed at increasing engagement with residents of council-owned housing across the city and establishing mechanisms to enable them to hold the council to account and influence service development and improvement.

The council is landlord to almost 22,000 homes, and holds the lease for almost 2,500 properties, and is embracing the new proactive approach to regulating social housing landlords laid out in the Social Housing Regulation Act (2023).

The council is also working to deliver a new residents charter across all providers which will be published and promoted to ensure all residents have access to information about services. This will enable transparency and allow individuals to hold organisations to account.

The new City Housing Oversight Panel will meet once a month and the venue will alternate between a day meeting at Bushbury Hill Estate Management Board and an evening meeting at the Civic Centre to ensure as many residents, who have shown an interest in being involved, can be.

Panel Member and St Peter’s resident, Gemma Taylor, said: “We’re not here for ourselves we’re here for the city. We want to make sure tenants and residents’ voices are heard and to improve people’s lived experiences.”

Councillor Steve Evans, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The policy and legislative landscape for social housing is changing; increasing the emphasis on regulation, transparency, and accountability of landlords. We welcome this change. 

“We are committed to providing safe and healthy homes for all, to listening to our residents’ voices and understanding their experiences. 

“We want residents of council-owned housing to feel empowered to share their views and experiences and feel confident that their feedback is being listened to and acted upon.”