At the beginning of 2023, Bolton at Home, a housing provider in Greater Manchester created the Youth Scrutiny Panel a pilot programme for young residents aged 16-25 to shape their policies and services. Bolton at Home asked us to collaborate with them on this project, so we recruited a group of young people to get involved and be a part of the Scrutiny Panel.
Thanks to the Scrutiny Panel, young working-class people can voice their concerns, and actively participate in changing housing policies for many tenants. This can further help create meaningful and systemic change across communities and finally hold housing providers accountable for existing disparities within their policies.
Over the course of this year the Scrutiny Panel have worked together to focus on improvements in Bolton at Home's Repairs policy. The Panel came up with some specific changes they wanted to see in the policies themselves and a further list of areas they wanted the organisation to address. After assessing the Anti-social Behaviour policy, they fed back on their likes and dislikes, stating “We wouldn’t feel good if we got this at sign-up. We would feel like there were rules we had to follow and not welcome.” This led Bolton at Home to release a Good Neighbours Policy and leaflet to promote community togetherness and strengthen communities.
On the 4th of October, two members from the Panel attended the national TPAS conference alongside Izzy our programmes manager and Bolton at Home's community development manager Kirsty. The young people held a 40-minute session to discuss why they joined the Youth Scrutiny Panel, what they got out of it, how professionals can best work with young people and the importance of getting it right when working with working-class young people. It was great to join up with Bolton at Home to express the importance of partnership and how to share best practices.
We will continue to work with Bolton at home for the second year of the Scrutiny Panel, and with TPAS to support young tenants to campaign and work with local and national housing associations.
If you would like to find out more about the Scrutiny Panel you can view our blog and to hear more about our scrutiny package you can contact Issy at email@example.com.