The government has published plans this week for an independent 'national tenant voice', board to give tenants a say on the housing issues affecting them.

The proposals suggested by tenants include a National Tenant Council made up of 50 social housing tenants from across the country to advise the new board on issues concerning them.

The board's role will include:

* enabling or facilitating tenants to speak for themselves to influence national policy;

* undertaking and commissioning research to ensure that the views and experiences of tenants, particularly those who are not in tenants organisations, are taken into account;

* supporting national and regional tenants organisations - helping build and strengthen tenants organisations at regional and national level;

* developing 'new ways of speaking to and listening to the views of tenants'.

Communities minister Iain Wright, said:'The National Tenant Voice will give tenants a real opportunity to have their views heard at the national level and I welcome the Project Group's proposals. 'Never before have social tenants had a national body with the capacity to represent them at the highest level and I would encourage tenants across the country to get involved in its work.'

The board will be a non-departmental public body with a tenant-majority board of directors. It will comprise of 50 tenants, 24 will be nominated from existing tenant organisations, 26 will be nominated through open recruitment.

It will be funded by the government and should be in place by the summer.