Balloting Tenants – Questions and Answers

Below are some questions I raised during Public Question Time at the Swindon Council meeting yesterday, and the answers from the Lead Member for housing. You can judge for yourself whether the answers are satisfactory. I will comment on them in a later post.

Questions:

  1. Does the Council accept that tenants should have the right to hear the case for and against transfer before deciding whether transfer is in their best interests?

  2. Will it commit to providing a list of addresses to the campaign against transfer (Swindon Defend Council Housing campaign)?

  3. Does it accept that ballot papers should go out with no accompanying material on either side of the argument?

  4. Will all registered tenants be balloted (i.e. some households have one registered tenants, others two, jointly)?

The Cabinet member responded

  1. The Council is working with tenants to ensure they receive the highest levels of repairs and maintenance on their homes. The government proposals are based on delivering the Decent Homes Standard only and the minimum standard will not meet the aspirations of both Swindon’s tenants and the Council as their current landlord. If Council decides that the most appropriate course of action is to offer tenants a formal ballot then there will be a range of opportunities for tenants to engage in the process before voting takes place. During the consultation, tenants have been presented with a balanced case and, should Council decide to proceed to ballot, that will continue to be the case. Tenants will also continue to be supported by an Independent Tenants’ Advisor who will provide an unbiased view.2.

  2. The content of any offer documentation has not yet been considered and this request will be given serious consideration, however, any information released by the Council involving individuals’ personal details must comply with the Data protection Act.

  3. The information on the ballot documentation should be as clear and direct as possible so that tenants can make an informed choice. The guidance is clear in that, the ballot cannot be undertaken by the Council. The ballot would be conducted by an independent organisation such as the Electoral Reform Society they would have the final decision on what would be appropriate at this final stage of the ballot.

  4. The Council will seek Government guidance on the matter if we proceed to ballot.

Martin Wicks

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2 Responses to Balloting Tenants – Questions and Answers

  1. […] ballot of Council tenants on transfer to a Housing Association. (See the questions and answers at: https://swindontuc.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/balloting-tenants-questions-and-answers […]

  2. […] ballot of Council tenants on transfer to a Housing Association. (See the questions and answers at: https://swindontuc.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/balloting-tenants-questions-and-answers […]

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