NHG ‘Resident Involvement.’ Now is the time for real democracy not ‘selected’ resident representatives!

We have been communicating with the ‘NHG Resident Involvement’ people about the ‘Residents Services Committee’ – which is meant to be the key forum in which residents can bring up concerns to the management and Board. 

So here is what we found out:

1. All six residents members of the new ‘Residents Services Committee’ have been ‘selected’ from previous NHH and Genesis committees, made up of – you guessed it – ‘selected’ residents. 

2. There is no democratic vote for residents – just previously selected residents ‘were invited to apply’ (1). 

3. NHG confirm that these ‘selected’ residents are not the ‘representatives’ of residents: “Board and committee members are not elected and do not represent a constituency of residents…”

4. There are no public minutes of the meetings of the Residents Services Committee  although we may get a ‘summary’ if we are lucky: “Whilst the minutes are not currently published as some are Board papers, we would like to be as transparent and will provide summaries and key actions on our website.”

5. You cannot listen to your representatives speak at meetings: ‘The Resident Services Committee Meetings are not open for others to watch or contribute.”

6. You cannot have direct contact with your residents representative except through NHG staff:  “residents can send enquiries to the Resident Involvement team or the Governance team.”

7. The ‘governance’ of NHG is completely separate from ‘resident involvement’. “We consulted widely about the new resident involvement model (which is separate to the governance of the organisation).” In other words the entire ‘residents involvement’ structure has no power to make decisions.  

8. And finally the local meetings that NHG are holding are nothing to do with resident involvement. They are: “not about resident involvement (although we are using all forms of contact to encourage people to get involved) but are to talk to residents about the delivery of housing management services.”

You can see the exchanges below:

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1. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: Who is a member of it now?

NHG reply: The members of ]the Customer Services Committee] are [six names] Both [name] and [name] are also resident Board members.

2. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: How were these members chosen?

NHG reply: The members from legacy Genesis were part of a similar committee and so were asked if they would like to continue their roles. Former members of the services committee and Local Scrutiny Panel Chairs in legacy Notting Hill Housing were also invited to apply. Board and committee vacancies are usually advertised. The process was slightly different in this instance since we were merging two organisations rather than starting from scratch.

3. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: How often does it meet?

NHG reply: The committee meets every 2 months.

4. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: Are the minutes of its meetings made available to residents?

NHG reply: Whilst the minutes are not currently published as some are Board papers, we would like to be as transparent and will provide summaries and key actions on our website.

5. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: Is it open for residents to watch/talk to the committee? In other words, is the committee ‘open?’

NHG reply: The Resident Services Committee Meetings are not open for others to watch or contribute, however the committee carry out visits every 2 months to different areas where they will also meet and speak to residents. There are other open meetings which residents can attend which are arranged in local areas. Feedback from these meetings is fed up to the Resident Services Committee.

6. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: How does a resident raise an issue with members of this committee?

NHG reply: Residents can send enquiries to the Resident Involvement team or the Governance team, who can either pass these on or will advise if the information needed can be found elsewhere.

7. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: Are RSC members accessible to residents (through publication of their e mail address or something like that)?

NHG reply: Email addresses of Resident Services Committee members are not published. As we have previously explained, the governance model is that the committee members bring the resident perspective to the Board, rather than acting as representatives for all residents.  

8. The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents: Does it have terms of reference and are those terms public?

NHG reply: There are Terms of Reference for this group which was shared on 20 September with residents who attended sessions on the Resident Involvement model. This can be re-shared if requested and is attached.

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And a further set of question and answers about the recent meetings that have been held in Westminster, Willesden and Barnet. This is form a Resident Involvement officer of NHG:

“As I’ve explained previously, the arrangement at Notting Hill Genesis is that Board and Committee members are recruited, so that there are the right mix of skills to have proper oversight of the organisation. Board and committee members are not elected and do not represent a constituency of residents…

We consulted widely about the new resident involvement model (which is separate to the governance of the organisation), both with residents who are already involved and with those residents who expressed interest, through a series of drop in sessions at different locations earlier this year. We shaped the model in response to the feedback we received and are now implementing it. We are committed to reviewing it next year.

The recent meetings are not about resident involvement (although we are using all forms of contact to encourage people to get involved) but are to talk to residents about the delivery of housing management services in the merged organisation. These meetings are led by operational managers. We are trying to speak to as many residents as possible and a series of meetings are being organised inviting those living closest to each location.”

And finally here are the terms of reference of the the Customer Services Committee

 

  1. Former members of the services committee and Local Scrutiny Panel Chairs in legacy Notting Hill Housing were also invited to apply.”

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