West Dunbartonshire Council’s work to engage with tenants has been recognised as among the best in the country.

The Tenant Participation Advisory Service Scotland (TPAS Scotland) awarded the housing team a gold accreditation - the highest rating available for local authorities.

The council has a statutory obligation to produce and resource a Tenant Participation Strategy to ensure a strong commitment to involve tenants in shaping and improving housing services.

And their “Involving You” strategy, that was launched in 2017, has many aims including promoting and providing a wide range of options for tenants to get involved and ensuring that they communicate effectively with tenants to provide good quality and accessible information.

The strategy was awarded following an examination of practices as well as interviewing staff members and tenants.

TPAS credited the council’s strategy as a useful reference tool for tenants and staff which gave an excellent overview of how tenants could get involved.

They also highlighted the council’s regular liaison meetings with the West Dunbartonshire Tenants and Residents Organisation (WDTRO) and the Pre-Housing and Communities Committee Forum as demonstration of the willingness to increase tenants’ ability to influence decision making.

The WDTRO is an umbrella organisation for tenant and residents’ associations and they have joint responsibility for chairing the liaison meetings and are able to put issues on the agenda.

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At a council meeting on Wednesday, May 1, councillors noted and celebrated the recent award which was collected at the end of last month.

Councillor David McBride said: “The team obviously deserve a lot of credit, but an awful lot of credit goes to really committed people who attend these meetings on a regular basis.

“It is quite often that they are involved in different aspects of it, so they are involved in many different meetings all on a voluntary basis. Their level of knowledge is incredible, so to receive this award is fantastic. Well done to everyone.”

Councillor Diane Docherty, convener of housing and communities, said after the meeting: “Our tenants are at the heart of everything we do and so we are delighted that they have been recognised for their hard work.

“We want our services to reflect their needs and the only way to do this is by engaging with them and listening to their views and ideas.

“We are lucky to have a strong partnership with our tenants and resident’s association and particular thanks must go to the WDTRO group who meet with us regularly to discuss our next steps.”