Acis Group’s Together with Tenants action plan

Acis Group have adopted Together with Tenants a sector wide initiative, led by the NHF, to help strengthen relationships between residents and social landlords. We adopted the initiative as part of our commitment to improving our homes and the services we offer.

Our work has been led by our newly formed Customer Voice Panel (CVP) and our Scrutiny Group, who are responsible for holding us to account and ensuring we deliver on each of the Together with Tenants Charter commitments and agreed action plan.

What's the story?

Acis Group has a longstanding commitment to resident engagement and since gaining our TPAS accreditation in 2008, we’ve developed a strong culture of involvement across our organisation and drive business improvements with residents and customers.

Adopting Together with Tenants has given us the opportunity to build positive relationships with residents and go further as a social landlord by taking the lead in accountability and resident oversight.

The first step was adopting the Together with Tenants Charter and action plan to underline our commitment as a housing association to driving change and improving services. This commitment was important, as it helped as our starting point to building trust and strengthening relationships with residents.

In February 2021, we invited all our residents and customers to join the conversation and take part in a short survey providing their feedback on our services. We contacted residents through a range of communications channels, including email, rent statement letters, our website, and via internal communication channels. 

As part of Improve it (an initiative focused on residents having a say on what matters to them) we have two resident groups: 

  • Customer Voice Panel - meets every three months to independently review and analyse our performance. 
  • Scrutiny Group - looks into particular service areas chosen by the CVP and make recommendations on how we can improve.

Our newly formed CVP and Scrutiny Group have both played an important role in helping us to implement an independent review of our performance, how we deliver our services and how we could do better.

Both groups have given residents a great opportunity to develop their skills and work collaboratively with like-minded people to make sure their voice is heard at the highest level and help improve our service.

Our CVP has oversight of our Together with Tenants action plan and reviews progress as a standing agenda item at quarterly meetings. Each action is subject to a RAG (red, amber, green) rating to indicate its status. The CVP raises challenges and queries as required and their review findings are included in a quarterly report to our board.  

In working to meet the accountability commitment, our CVP identifies areas for scrutiny. The main findings and recommendations are presented to our Operations Committee by the members of the Scrutiny Group. 

The groups have also helped create more engaging communications for residents who are more likely to get involved by using videos to share key report findings with wider residents and the local community. This tailored approach to engaging with residents means they can be reached through a range of digital channels including social media, our website, and our customer magazine ‘Home News’.

What was the impact?

Since launching our Together with Tenants action plan in 2021, we’ve been working closely with residents and customers to deliver on the actions set and improve our overall service.

Key milestones include:

  • Launching our new website in March 2022 after consultation with customer groups who helped us to shape the structure and content. Since launching, we’ve received positive feedback from those involved in the project.
  • Reviewing the content, format, and presentation of our performance reporting to customers with the CVP and building a new dashboard to help our residents gain a better understanding of how we review our performance.
  • Creating new customer groups focused on repairs and complaints as key areas of interest highlighted by residents.

Your Voice programme 

As part of our commitment to continually improving our homes and the services we offer we’ve created a ‘Your Voice’ programme. This is made up of six different ways residents can get involved, and help improve our service. Residents have a range of opportunities to engage with us and have a say on what matters to them – whether that’s our performance, reviewing our processes and policies, or just giving us their views.

Your Voice features:

  1. Say it – residents are encouraged to contact us via phone, email or online whether they’ve got something to say – good or bad, we’d like to hear it.
  2. Talk it – we help residents living near to each other to join forces to discuss issues affecting their community and not just housing-related issues. Groups could even choose to become a formal tenant and resident group, sometimes known as a TARA with their own committee.
  3. View it - residents are invited to join us on neighbourhood visits and point out anything they think we need to do something about. 
  4. Discuss it – we regularly hold small group workshops where residents can discuss or answer questions on a variety of topics to shape our services going forward.
  5. Review it - we invite our residents and customers to have their say on any new policy or strategy we’re proposing before it goes to our board for approval. They have the option to review every document we publish or just the ones that take their interest.
  6. Improve it – our group takes an independent view of our performance, how we deliver our services and how we could do better. As part of Improve it, we've got two groups who include our CVP and Scrutiny Group.

The best way for residents to help us shape the services we provide is to get involved and have a say on what really matters to them and the local community.

We don’t just make changes for the sake of it as it’s important to hear feedback and fully understand what our residents and customers think. Through ‘Your Voice’ we want everyone to feel empowered and build positive relationships for the future with their social landlord.

View photos below from our 'Love Your Street' event during Your Voice month in March 2022.

What barriers, challenges or points of learning did you identify?

Like other organisations in our sector, the pandemic had a big impact on the work we did to engage with our residents and customers. At the time of the first covid restrictions, residents were interested in our engagement activities and committed time to meeting virtually. However, as expected, the numbers reduced as restrictions eased.  

We’ve experienced both positives and negatives with using virtual platforms such as Teams and Zoom to engage with involved residents: 

  • Training has been required with residents on how to use Teams and Zoom on different devices, which hasn’t been easy with the allocation of time for staff and a digital skills gap with residents.
  • Varied internet quality and speed across our wide operational geography, including many rural locations.
  • We’ve seen benefits in using Teams as a platform for CVP/Scrutiny Group members to collaborate virtually by sharing files, ideas, and communicating more effectively.

We’ve now adopted a hybrid/flexible approach, depending on what works best for residents, to help work around their availability. Due to internal challenges (competing demands and re-prioritisation of some operational activity), some timescales in the original Together with Tenants action plan have been revised and outlined with our CVP as part of their oversight.  

What can others learn from your experience?

Adopting Together with Tenants has been an important step in putting our customers first and building trust with our residents, helping to create positive relationships with the people living in our homes.

Adopting the Together with Tenants Charter and action plan allowed us to set out in clear terms what residents can and should expect from us. By working with our CVP and Scrutiny Group, we’ve given both groups the platform to influence our customer service and drive further improvements.

It’s important for housing associations to be flexible in their approach to resident engagement. Each resident is different in how they want to engage with their social landlord, and engagement opportunities on offer need to reflect that.  


"The best way to provide services that residents want to see is to adopt a flexible approach to resident engagement to get more people involved and to have a wider say on what really matters to them, their family and local community. We want our residents to feel empowered and think positively about their future with us. "

- Acis Group

That’s what makes it so exciting working with our residents to make their voices heard and help shape the services we provide at Acis Group.

Learn more about Together with Tenants

Who to speak to

Evelyn Williams, Policy Officer