In Queensland, with the proposed enhanced collaboration between the department and community housing providers that was contained in the report, opportunities would have existed for tenants to be actively engaged in improving and developing the delivery of housing assistance through the now cancelled Tenant Participation program.
In the now buried report, recognition of the following principles was considered integral to the successful delivery of Tenant Participation:
Involving tenants is critical to providing good value, quality services that are future focused.
Participation is highly beneficial to both tenants and the housing organisation. Tenant Participation can help build social capacity, reduce isolation and enhance skills
Tenants should be given equal opportunities to be involved in the program. Extra steps may be required to engage with under represented and/or vulnerable groups and thus remove barriers to participation.
Acquiring knowledge about the people living in a social housing portfolio, and acquiring market intelligence, is important to ensure the program remains relevant and responsive.
Delivery of Tenant Participation needs to be flexible with good practice built into the program. A process of continual learning and regularly reviewing practice elsewhere ensures the program is current, sustainable and functions to assist both tenants and the tenancy manager/landlord.
Tenants are knowledgeable about the places where they live and can be a useful source of information about the services being delivered and opportunities for improvement.
Tenants need to be enabled/resourced to get involved. Appropriate resources, capacity building and training opportunities may be required to equip tenants with the necessarily skills to offer valuable input and improve their circumstances.
Varied and flexible methods of involvement are required to ensure people can be involved on their terms.
Six outcomes were identified in the buried report to guide the Tenant Participation program in Queensland:
A strengthened capacity of social housing tenants to be both active and engaged members of their community, which would promote social inclusion and enhance employment opportunities.
Embedding of Tenant Participation in core program and service delivery requirements for all social housing providers, and thus ensuring program delivery is consistent across Queensland.
Recognising, valuing and acknowledging Tenant Participation as a key enabler for the delivery of a varied range of departmental services.
The Tenant Participation program recognises and acknowledges the varying capacity, willingness, and desire of tenants to be involved and provision of opportunities for diverse groups to get involved
The Tenant Participation program is delivered through a range of channels and mechanisms to allow for broad participation and flexible delivery options.
Tenants are provided with the opportunity to have meaningful input to decision-making about matters that affect their tenancies.
The decision to forgo the widely recognised benefits for both government and tenants of an active Tenant Participation program was made in order to direct funds to providing housing assistance for the thousands in need, according to the Queensland government. The “thousands in need” of housing assistance included the Queensland government itself, as evidenced by the planned new government headquarters and a new pedestrian plaza in front of Parliament House on Alice St.