BMG is in the middle of a three-year programme to measure satisfaction levels among tenants of Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) – with fieldwork complete on the latest annual survey the headline results are now available. These findings will form part of SBHA’s Charter return and help SBHA to identify where it needs to improve.

The 2014 survey pinpointed opportunities to participate in decision making as a key area where SBHA tenants were less likely to be satisfied than the Scottish average. SBHA used these findings to achieve higher levels of participation in tenant scrutiny, through promoting the various ways tenants can get involved and through contacting survey participants who’d agreed to be sent further information. Satisfaction with opportunities to participate in decision making processes has increased by 6 percentage points in the latest findings, a sign that tenants are noticing the difference.

In the 2014 findings we also highlighted an issue frequently seen in social housing research both north and south of the border – lower satisfaction levels amongst younger tenants. Whilst this pattern is commonly associated with higher service expectations amongst this group, we conducted qualitative focus groups amongst younger SBHA tenants to find out what else SBHA can do to improve perceptions amongst this group. What they told us has helped SBHA to enhance the levels of involvement amongst younger tenants and to tailor its communication to meet their needs. Younger tenants are, unsurprisingly, more interested in updates via text/SMS and email, but the research also revealed that younger tenants also value certain traditional forms of communication – for instance, the SBHA tenant calendar is a valued tool in giving tenants of all ages quick information about key telephone numbers, rent-free weeks and staff training days.

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