You said, we did... Helping us improve our services - 2022/23
From your feedback, we recognised that it was important for you to know what you can expect from our contractors and when this work is to be carried out. That’s why we’ve now launched Grounds Maintenance customer portals for Idverde and Burley and Firths. There are two portals, one for each contractor.
Simply enter your address and your next and last visit dates will be shown.
We can assure customers that leaves will be collected by our Grounds Maintenance contractors. We’d also like to remind you that the Grounds Maintenance service now runs once a month rather than every fortnight over the winter period.
We’ve reviewed our working practices and now have a dedicated team member working closely with our contractors to monitor the promises we’ve made to our customers.
As a result of this feedback, all boiler installers have been spoken to and will ensure that switches are back on after any work is carried out.
A dedicated person has been appointed at Mears and their job is to monitor the live tracking of appointments, working alongside the planners
Mears were made aware of this through our complaints procedure. A call back system is now in place to make sure calls are returned by the end of each day.
As a result, it’s been agreed to review the wording in the stage one letter and for compliance coordinators to ensure they check the service history with Mears before these letters are sent out.
Mears have now increased their oil resources and restocked in everything needed for oil boilers.
It was apparent that this was an issue for several customers. Mears have informed us that they’ve now recruited an extra air source heat pump engineer and are offering further training to other engineers.
During our investigation, it was discovered that this information wasn’t available as supervisors don’t record visits to customers’ homes as an engineer would. Mears said they’d change this so all visits are recorded on the system.
We’ve worked with Mears to improve the communication between them and customers when appointments are cancelled. They’ve increased the number of customers they’ve contacted to inform them about cancelled appointments from 26 percent to 71 percent. These have then been rebooked.
We’ve ensured that damp and mould issues are being prioritised and have a new approach to dealing with them.
The first step now is to treat the symptoms by carrying out a mould wash to deal with what’s currently present. We’ll then diagnose what’s causing the issue and go about repairing this cause as quickly as possible. Often these causes include gutters needing repairing and a lack of ventilation requiring an extractor fan.
Once these works are done, homes are then re-inspected and a second mould wash completed if any symptoms have returned.
We’ve adapted the way we repair storage heathers. If the storage heater issue is in a liveable space such as a bedroom or living room, the job is raised as an emergency.
An electrician will attend within four hours and attempt to fix it. If they’re unable to, all electricians now have a stock of oil-filled temporary heaters in their vans which they’ll offer to you.
This means nobody is left without heating in a liveable space if repairs cannot be completed on the first visit.
The service specification has been added to customer surveys and can be found on our repairs and maintenance page.
As a result, grounds maintenance and cleaning quality assurance checks are being carried out by the Estate Contracts Team where there are low scores received for these services, and we’ve identified areas for immediate improvement.
Policies and processes
We know the repair service accounts for the majority of complaints we receive, so it’s important we work closely with our contractors. We’ve used our learning to review the complaints process with our three new repair contractors, Ian Williams, Fortem and Morgan Sindall Property Service – all of which have dedicated colleagues who work with us to resolve complaints.
We recognise that performance is below our targets and requires improvement. This has been a challenge due to the high number of complaints we’ve received and the changeover to our three new repair contractors. However, we’re committed to delivering a better complaints service and, in response, we’ve diverted resources from other areas of the business, as well as recruiting additional Complaint Resolution Officers to support customers with their complaint. We’ll be reporting our performance on our website every three months, so you’ll be able to see how we’re doing in this area.
We’ve introduced new procedures and training guides that focus on communication and, in particular, keeping customers up-to-date on a regular basis and the consideration of vulnerabilities and individual needs when resolving complaints. We’ve also brought in additional colleagues to strengthen our Complaints team’s resources.
Previously, flats above ground floor level would not be let to families with children aged under 10. As a result of customer consultation, we amended this policy and will now let flats above the ground floor to families with children over the age of seven.
The process of letting a property has now been digitalised to make it more efficient. During September 2020, we called customers to ask for their feedback about the experience and 96 percent said they thought the new process worked really well.
We’ve committed to meeting this timescale. We’ve trained ‘mystery shoppers’ who test our core services and they began working in September 2020, initially focusing on our Customer Service Team. A total of 19 mystery shops were completed and 15 received a response within two working days. The overall response was very positive, gaining more ‘excellent’ results than ‘poor’. We’re continuing to work with colleagues to improve this service even further.
This situation highlighted a need for members of the Customer Service Team to be fully aware of end of tenancy processes.
It’s also revealed that there needs to be a process in place for how end of tenancies should be monitored, in particular if there are reimbursements to our customers. Work is being done to ensure this is the case.
We revisited our recorded message and changed the sequence so that after the message had been played, music followed, before the message was repeated. This removed the pauses and eliminated the confusion.
Leasehold and Shared Ownership
Following this feedback, we’re working with our leasehold customers and shared owners to establish and introduce a Customer Charter which relates specifically to them. This will be developed through close working with these customers.
A new lettable standard document has been drafted which is much clearer and includes pictures of acceptable standards.
We agreed with this excellent idea and decided to tie it into the pricing review.
We’ll also add a last reviewed/next review date to the front of the document, as we’ve got on policies.
Kitchens and bathrooms will be decorated in empty properties for cleanliness and hygiene reasons. Teams will decide on a case-by-case basis if further decoration is required, based on customer need.
We’re looking at using customers to inspect the quality of empty properties and to help ensure the new standard is being applied.
All compliance items are monitored when properties become empty before they’re let again. This’ll continue to happen in all re-let instances to ensure
that all legal requirements are met.
Within the new process, we’re proposing that some repairs could be completed after the re-let, providing this has been agreed with the incoming customer.
This should be minimal, but could be something such as a fence panel needing replacing or single tiles needing replacing. The condition of this is that
the customer is provided with a date for when the repairs are going to be completed and there should be a target of seven calendar days after re-let. Our
ICT system will be able to track targets as well to ensure they’re completed.
We’re reviewing the information available to our Customer Service Advisors regarding our leasehold and shared ownership customers.
This review is being carried out by our Customer Service Managers as well as our Head of Leasehold Services.
In the past, customers may have waited longer because a house wasn't available in the desired location. Under our new process, we'll ensure that an application to transfer is only accepted if we have an available property that meets the customer's needs.
In addition, your Housing Officer will complete a review after three months, and then each three months thereafter whilst you're waiting for a home.
The purpose of this review is to keep you up-to-date and to discuss all the options available to you.
We're working to have this information displayed on The Hub so our customers can see this information at any time. We’re also working to have this information on display in communal areas, where available.
We'll be adding the Estates Team structure to The Hub, along with information on how we manage the service day-to-day.
Air source heat pumps
Our teams will be providing this information to customers at the earliest opportunity. The information is also now on our website.
We’ve worked with our contractor Aaron Services, which has now established a dedicated Renewables Team that’ll respond to these repairs and undertake ASHP servicing.