Tracking pixel
Graphic which reads 'The Charter for Social Housing Residents Social Housing White Paper'

Together with Tenants and The Social Housing White Paper 2020

In November 2020 the Government published a White Paper entitled ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’, which outlined their short- and long-term plans for social housing, including making major reforms to support housing customers in England, addressing the lessons learnt as a result of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy.

The White paper, which is a statement of government policy, continues a strong focus on health and safety and customer involvement in how we deliver their services. It builds on the themes of a continued strong focus on Health and Safety and placing a greater emphasis on tenant satisfaction, engagement and how we listen to our tenants in the delivery of our services.

It presents a charter setting out seven commitments that social housing residents should expect from their landlord. 

  1. To be safe in your home.
  2. To know how your landlord is performing.
  3. To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly.
  4. To be treated with respect.
  5. To have your voice heard by your landlord.
  6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in.
  7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership.

You can view the Charter for Social Housing Residents White Paper here.

In 2019 we became early adopters of the National Housing Federations (NHF) ‘Together with Tenants Plan’, which underpins the Government’ White paper.

Together with Tenants is a sector-wide initiative focused on strengthening the relationship between residents and housing providers and embodies all the great work happening across the sector to create positive relationships with customers. 

This emphasis is very much aligned with Torus priorities. We already have a clear vision for tenant engagement, with Tenant Voice, a dedicated team of staff and involved customers, which looks to ensure that tenants are at the heart of everything we do.

“If you really want to know what Torus does for you as a tenant on your behalf, get involved with Tenant Voice. It gives you the opportunity to witness first-hand the results coming to fruition and acted on from all the hard work from involved tenants. 

Also, through training and attending the meetings, I have a greater understanding of all the work and time spent by Torus to contribute to the welfare and lives of tenants and their families behind the scenes.”.

James, Landlord Operations Committee

Torus officially adopts the Together with Tenants Charter

In 2020, Torus joined 130 other early adopter organisations, working with our residents to test out the charter, adapting it to our own local contexts, and sharing what we learnt in order to support even more housing associations to adopt it.

Together with Tenants developed a four-point plan, that sets out in clear terms what customer can and should expect from their housing provider:

A new requirement in the National Housing Federation Code of Governance for boards to be accountable to residents – this will help ensure all organisations value the voice and experience of residents and use their insight to inform decision making.

A new Together with Tenants charter – this will ensure all residents know what they can expect from their housing association landlord, regardless of where they live, the type of home they live in, or who their landlord is.

Resident oversight and reporting of progress against the charter – this will give residents a stronger role in holding their landlord to account, and boards would be expected to take action where required.

Giving residents a stronger collective voice with the regulator – issues that are uncovered by resident oversight and reporting could be referred to the regulator, so that action is taken where appropriate to protect residents’ rights and interests.

The charter is designed to ensure that all customers know what they can expect from us as their housing provider, regardless of where they live, what type of home they live in.

You can see the charter here.

You can see the Together with Tenants Early Adopters Report here.

Charter Commitments - consulting tenants

Torus and other Housing associations that adopt the Charter commit to: 

  1. Relationships – treating residents with respect in all interactions. Relationships between residents and housing associations will be based on openness, honesty and transparency.
  2. Communication – providing residents with clear, accessible and timely information on the issues that matter to them, including how the organisation is working to address problems.
  3. Voice and influence – seeking out and properly analysing the views of residents and using the information inform decisions.
  4. Accountability – working in partnership with residents so they can independently scrutinise issues affecting the quality of their homes and services.
  5. Quality – providing good quality, well maintained, safe and well managed home.
  6. When things go wrong – providing simple and accessible routes for raising issues, making complaints, getting timely advice and seeking redress.


Between July and December 2021, Torus carried out three consultation sessions with involved tenants from across all three heartlands regarding the Torus adoption of the Charter commitments, to find out what worked well and what could be improved, this is what our tenants said:

What works well?

Voice and Influence

“There are lots of opportunities for all tenants to be involved.”

“We are kept well informed though policy reviews.”

“I feel confident in holding Torus to account and that my opinions are listened to, I find if staff are aware of your personal circumstances they do best to help, and my point of view is taken into account.”

“Torus are one of the better landlords and the Tenant Voice team do offer tenants a wide range of options to get involved and have their say.”

“Torus provide comprehensive support to involved tenants, they are always available to help, guidance and training is excellent.”

“I have received a laptop from Torus, receive quality digital training and the ongoing support is excellent so I find it now much easier to attend online meetings which I enjoy very much, I’m now much more confident in raising issues with Torus.”


“There is a wide range of options available to contact Torus, they can contact the Torus Hub, write a letter, email in enquires and request support or advice.”

“The websites and social media forums Torus use, Torus use social media well, giving access to a wide range of information including the tenant’s online portal.”

“Issues with repairs were dealt with in a professional manner, staff were exceptional and kept me fully informed on progress throughout.”

“I have received timely responses, majority of staff are knowledgeable, helpful and I appreciate their hard work.”


“Torus staff are broadly helpful and professional.”

“Torus response to COVID was exceptional, residents received wellbeing phone calls and a range of support, Torus did more than other landlords to support vulnerable, isolated and elderly residents.”

When things go wrong

“Torus promote the complaints process and Housing Ombudsman service well.”

“You can always get to speak to a manager or named officer if you need help.”


“My home is well maintained by Torus, and I accept there are some repairs that I as a tenant are responsible for, in general terms quality excellent.”

“Improvements especially kitchens and bathrooms have been carried out to a high standard.”


“The annual report highlights how tenants can contact Torus and hold them accountable

I feel confident in holding Torus to account and that my opinions are listened to, I find if staff are aware of your personal circumstances they do best to help, and my point of view is taken into account.”

What can we improve?


You said

We did, we are doing

Voice & Influence

“Increase Diversity & Inclusion, ensuring involved customers are representative of Torus customers.”

“More young people including young families need to be encouraged to get more involved and have their say how Torus works for them.”

  • Set up a new Tenant Diversity & Inclusion panel.
  • Introducing new ways to get involved and have your voice heard, including the Greener Initiatives Panel and Development Panel – find out more ways to get involved here.
  • Tenant Voice roadshows in community venues libraries, Firefit, community venues and impact days.
  • Review Tenant Voice strategy.

“Take time to listen to customers to build a strong relationship.”

“Build on the positive online engagement and use of technology.”

  • Offers a range of ways for customers to get involved and have their voice heard.

    Tenants are provided with support, training and equipment to enable them to get involved.

    Customer Satisfaction surveys are carried out to monitor satisfaction with services.

  • Torus continues to offer digital equipment and training to involved tenants.


“Improve communication with tenants.”

“Improve communication between Torus teams.”

  • Worked with customers to develop new Torus Service Standards, with clear timescales for staff to respond to customer queries, launched July 2022.
  • Focus group with tenants to discuss how we can improve communication.
  • New single website for all Torus tenants, developed in consultation with involved customers, due to launch Summer/Autumn 2022.
  • Torus receptions have reopened post COVID in February 2022 to allow more face-to-face contact. 
  • Delivering impact days in communities – giving customers the opportunities to speak to Torus staff face-to face to discuss issues.
  • Scrutiny Panel review of communication and recommendations made to develop Customer Service Standards, which can be viewed here.
  • Increase opportunities for joint working and deliver Customer First training sessions to Torus staff.

“Present complex information in a way that is easier for tenants to understand.”

  • Torus staff are encouraged to communicate using plan English and make reasonable adjustments to respond to individual requests.
  • Tenant to be involved in testing the new website, which will feature the ‘Reachdeck’ accessibility panel.

“Ensure there are a range of ways to contact Torus which includes digital and face-to-face.”

  • Customer can contact Torus by phone, email, online and now face to face at customer receptions, which re-opened following COVID in February 2022.
  • Neighbourhood Teams regularly visit, and a programme of impact days has been launched across all Torus areas.


“Staff should always be professional and show respect to customers by being open and transparent and keeping promises.”

“Improve staff knowledge of all areas where Torus has properties.”

  • Ongoing training for staff
  • New Customer Service standards introduced in July 2022, following consultation with customers, with performance against these to be monitor and published.
  • Further staff training.

When things go wrong

“Improve complaint handling.”

“Support tenants who may find it difficult to raise their complaint.”

“Ensure customer know how to complain.”

  • Complaint Handling procedure reviewed.
  • Customer satisfaction survey introduced.
  • Training for all Complaint Managers.
  • Complaint letter explains how customers can escalate their complaint.
  • New Landlord Complaints Team introduced in January 2022, to support an improved customer focused complaints management process and a need for all complaint managers to improve the speed and the way in which we deal with customers.
  • New Customer Complaints Panel to introduced to improve how Torus responds to and learns form complaints to improve the customer experience
  • Complaint’s procedure updated to ensure it is accessible and complaint with the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code.
  • Customer made aware of their right to contact the Ombudsman as any stage in the complaints process.
  • Customers involved in reviewing the complaints page on the website.
  • Staff trained in complaint handling
  • Information on how to make a complaint available on the website and promoted regularly in customer communications including monthly eNewsletter, social media and in supported living schemes and by phone from the Customer Hub.


“Ensure customer queries get to the right person to respond.”

“Ensure customer moving into new build properties receive a good standard of service and issues are resolved.”

“Ensure properties are clean and safe when new tenants move in.”

“Ensure green spaces are well maintained.”

“Communal areas need to be clean and well maintained.”

  • Training for the Torus Customer Hub.
  • Process in place to request call-backs from the relevant team.
  • Torus Development team and Customer Care Manager assist tenants moving into new properties to ensure any issues are quickly resolved.
  • Torus has an agreed standard when letting properties. Tenant Inspectors will review how we are meetings this standard.
  • Torus has Service Standards for grounds maintenance. Tenant Inspectors will review how we are meetings this standard.
  • Torus has service standards for communal areas. Tenant inspectors will review how we are meetings this standard.


“Ensure all tenants including those with a disability are able to hold Torus to account.”

“Ensure documents providing information on Torus performance are easy to read and less corporate and avoid jargon.”

  • Wide range of ways for tenants to get involve, including a new diversity panel.
  • Housing Diversity Network assessment to identify and gaps and areas for improvement including staff training.
  • Tenants are involved in reviewing and approving the Annual Report, policies and a range of customer communication.

Find out more about how our involved customers are influencing decisions here.