As I am sure you are now aware, Mondays Cabinet meeting (12th Oct at the Karibu Centre) will have a proposal before it to terminate both Tenants Council and all of the Housing Fora.
Under the discreet title, “Improving Housing Management Services and Wider Integration”, and hidden away on page 599, it is proposed to replace both of these democratically accountable groups with ill-defined alternatives which will not have any mandate to oppose any Council proposals where they might be inimical to tenants interests, agree any such proposals, or suggest alternatives or new policies. The proposals replace independent active citizen participation with supermarket style focus groups with no mandate or power – in the councils eyes, we are all customers now.
Many of the proposals are positive where they increase support for TRAs, but that could and should be done anyway. There is, however, no argument made that establish a rational for killing of the current independent structures. The proposals are also intellectually vapid. TRAs would be left isolated, unable to address wider concerns, and with no independent place to go if they are not happy. Forums have been drowned in irrelevant paperwork, and been allowed no useful or decisive say in the delivery of services. The council claims the problems are structural; I would argue that the problems are of management and support: changing the structure without addressing the real problems of content are the last desperate steps of inept management (and generally happen just before the company goes bust).