Since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, the Regional Networks have been embracing new ways of working to ensure the voices and views of tenants, residents and communities continue to be heard despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Each of the Regional Network committees has met on a virtual basis via Zoom with the support of the Tenant Participation team, ensuring continuity of committee business. And we have also met remotely to compile responses to Scottish Government and Scottish Housing Regulator consultations.
The pandemic has also raised specific challenges for tenants and residents and Regional Network members have been involved in contributing views and suggestions in a variety of ways. In the spring, three representatives held telephone discussions with Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning to talk about their lived experiences of lockdown. And in August, a small group of Regional Network members met remotely to contribute their views on Scottish Government proposals to further extend the emergency laws protecting renters in the social and private sectors from eviction unless the tenancy is being ended for specific reasons such as antisocial or criminal behaviour. This law was extended for a further six months from 3 October 2020.
Good communication has been vital during the period of the pandemic, and we have also been working during this time to redevelop the Regional Networks website to ensure that information on our work is easily available and accessible.
One of our great regrets of this year is that we have been unable to hold our Annual General Meetings (AGMs), which normally take place during May and June each year. As with all of our face-to-face meetings, AGMs will be postponed until 2021.