Northern Housing Consortium launches tenants’ climate jury

The jury will bring together social housing tenants and experts to decide how best to retrofit homes in the North of England.
A white house with its doors and window frames painted green.

The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) has launched a new tenants’ climate jury to decide how social landlords in the North of England can work with tenants to tackle climate change.

The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury will bring together social housing tenants and experts to decide how best to lower carbon emissions from the North’s housing stock.

The NHC, which represents housing associations across the North of England, says the concept is based on forms of “deliberative democracy” such as citizens’ assemblies and juries.

Citizens’ assemblies see citizens selected at random to deliberate and seek consensus on particular issues before producing recommendations for policymakers.

According to the NHC, over one million social rented homes across the North will require green upgrades to support the UK’s move towards net zero, while homes currently account for around a quarter of the North’s carbon emissions.

Launching the jury via Inside Housing, Tracy Harrison, chief executive of the NHC, said: “We want to put tenants at the heart of our work to make homes fit for the 21st century and we know that a positive tenant experience is a core part of successful and sustainable retrofit projects.

“Social housing is the perfect sector to lead on this; it is an early adopter of technology, landlords are owners and managers of stock at scale and they have a duty of care towards tenants.”

The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury will bring together 30 social housing tenants from across the North of England for a series of online meetings between July and September this year.

The tenants will be drawn from a pool of residents from project partners Karbon Homes, Thirteen Group, Yorkshire Housing, Salix Homes, and First Choice Homes Oldham.

The jury will particularly explore tenants’ views on home retrofitting and their preferences for how retrofit measures should be undertaken in their homes.

Tenants will also be given the opportunity to share what information they feel they need before, during and after the retrofit process to make the most of low-carbon heating technology.

During the final weeks of the jury, participants will work with expert facilitators to produce recommendations for the sector in the form of a report.

The process will be facilitated by direct democracy experts Shared Future and overseen by an independent oversight panel made up of key sector stakeholders.

Members of the oversight panel will include Matt Harrison, project director of the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund; the Affordable Housing Commission’s chair Lord Best, and Jenny Osbourne of the tenant engagement experts Tpas, as well as local authority and housing association representatives.

The findings of the jury will be presented at the NHC’s Northern Housing Summit early this November.

Image credit: Pixabay.

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