Tenants will have the opportunity to shape the council housing service after plans were agreed today.

Wiltshire Council leaders approved the setting up of a management board for the governance of council housing at their cabinet meeting.

Tenants will also have the opportunity to be part of an advisory panel. The panel will oversee the project of setting up the management board.

The board will consist of an equal number of councillors, tenants and relevant experts - finance/legal/housing management - with a recommendation that it be in place by April. This will enable time to consult on the proposals and carry out a recruitment process.

The intention of the new board is to give tenants more choice and for them to have a genuine influence on the service. The board will act as a forum where tenant representatives meet with senior housing managers and councillors to discuss and influence the development and management of council housing services.

These changes are as a result of the Localism Act, which has changed the way council housing is financed and made additional funding available locally. The previous system saw Wiltshire subsidising other authorities which were in a poorer housing situation. Now, Wiltshire Council is able to keep some of that money to invest in its own housing stock.

Thanks to prudent accounting measures over the last few years, and these changes an extra £35m will be invested. This will include energy saving and environmental measures, and improvements to the current housing stock.

John Thomson, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is important tenants are able to have a real influence on their service. This board will make them a vital part of the decision-making process.”