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Longhurst Group Customer Forum - Annual Review 2022


As Chair of the Longhurst Group Customer Forum (LGCF), I am pleased to present this report to the wider customer base, but also to the officers and the Group Board. This report defines what we do as a voluntary forum to ensure that Longhurst Group delivers to the customer base what is both expected and required of the Consumer Standards.

The LGCF is not a body that just ticks boxes. We act on a wide variety of information and data that encompasses the whole business of Longhurst Group. Areas of concern are determined by the members of the LGCF and are escalated either to the Group Board or to officers of the various departments within the business. We are there to challenge performance that falls below par and ask what steps they will take, or are taking, to rectify the situation. The Forum is here to make a difference and provide a benefit to all customers in accordance with the following standards:

  • Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard.
  • Tenancy Standard.
  • The Decent Homes Standard.
  • Neighbourhood and Community Standard.

The Customer Forum members (see appendix B) are now fully aware of the Social Housing White Paper (November 2020), which is in line with Government legislation. Once the regulation becomes law and the revised Consumer Act is published, we will ensure that all members are fully updated with this. I thank my fellow Forum members for helping to compile a wide ranging and hopefully informative report for 2022.

John Cole - Chair

Our achievements as a Forum

The committee decided to increase the number of meetings, but reduce the meeting length; this keeps members more engaged and focused. This new format was put forward by the new Chair and Vice Chair and agreed by all members.

The Forum requested a move away from long presentations and more towards balanced discussions. Preparation meetings take place to give members an opportunity to talk about the key points.

The Forum receives regular updates, for example repairs, voids standard, call handling and complaints handling. Opportunity is given to escalate areas of concern to the Board.

The topics covered in meetings were as follows:

February 2022 Q3 Performance dashboard
Customer satisfaction
Clean and Green Inspectors - Update
Scrutiny Team documents
Domestic Abuse policy
May 2022 Q4 Performance dashboard
Mystery Shopping report
Under 25s’ survey
Customer satisfaction
Update on Procurement process
August 2022 Q1 Performance dashboard
Leasehold communications survey
Consultation report - Communal services in sheltered schemes
Progress report - ‘The Hub’
New Scrutiny Review matrix
Q1 Customer Experience - Update
November 2022 Q2 Performance dashboard
Customer Engagement policy
Customer Perception survey - Update
Customer Experience - Satisfaction and customer complaints
Customer Scrutiny Review - Together with Tenants
DBS Checks
Training topics – Discussion

Policy reports are presented to the Customer Forum members to provide assurance that customers have been consulted with prior to the policy developments and that their recommendations have been considered.

Policies approved during 2022:

  • Domestic Abuse

In addition to policies, the Customer Forum was updated regarding the implementation and outcomes of:

  • ‘The Hub’ - a web based interactive platform launched May 2022.
  • A pilot for the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures Survey (TSM) carried out between November and March 2023. This becme regulatory from April 2023.

New contractors - A move to three new repairs contractors took place in July 2022 followed by a new heating contractor in November 2022. Change was welcomed by the Forum and repairs performance continues to be regularly monitored.

Customer scrutiny – The Scrutiny Team completed a review of the ‘Together with Tenants’ standards and reported the results to the Customer Forum who will monitor the recommendations through to completion.

The Customer Forum has introduced a new matrix to decide on the topics they will select for scrutiny and is using this framework to ensure it prioritises a fair selection of scrutiny topics for review.

IT integration - LCGF is updated regularly on the status of a new IT integration aimed to improve the effectiveness when dealing with customer enquiries.

Intensive Recovery Plan - The number of repairs within the sector has been challenging under the increasing pressures on resources. The sector has seen a spike in complaints and Longhurst Group have been responding to this through an Intensive Recovery Plan. The Forum has had transparency over the ongoing plans and is kept informed with the expected timeframes to getting back to business as usual, in accordance with our customer charter. The Forum continues to monitor this situation and to hold Longhurst Group to account.

Improving Lives Panel – The Improving Lives Panel was set up at the end of 2022 and works in partnership with members of the Group Board and Customer Forum to ensure the voice of the customer is represented.

As part of a co-regulatory approach, the panel works to strengthen the link between the Board and the Customer Forum to ensure that customers’ views influence and contribute to strategic decision making.

Continuous improvement

Training topics covered:

  • Compliance seminar.
  • Environmental sustainability overview.
  • Q&A Buildings insurance.
  • Complaints self-assessment and next steps.

Members confirmed they wish to continue the subscription to ‘Inside Housing’ magazine to keep up-to-date with housing debates, current affairs and legislation.

Our aspirations for 2023

Repairs service

For Longhurst Group to provide and deliver a repairs service that meets the expected customer standard.


Longhurst Group is following the decarbonisation road map. The Forum is interested to see plans that lay out a clear vision of the milestones and pathways to achieve the decarbonisation targets. The Group has managed to secure Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding (SHDF) for this.

The Customer Forum envisages that Longhurst Group will take steps to construct the whole three pillars of the ESG framework and it looks forward to future updates.

Not only is this a regulatory requirement, but it’s used for measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of the Group’s operations and can demonstrate that Longhurst Group is transparent and accountable, providing evidence of its commitment to reducing risk and complying with future environmental legislation.

Jennifer (Vice Chair)


The Forum is looking for teams to take ownership and responsibility as well as showing evidence of clear communication throughout the customer experience.

Customer engagement

We’re looking for more customers to get involved and help improve services provided by Longhurst Group. Some of these improvements include:

  • Customer involvement recruitment drive to raise awareness of what we do and what involvement opportunities are available resulted in the development – ‘The Hub’.
  • The Customer Forum welcomes feedback from other engagement groups to keep them up- to-date with ongoing developments and outcomes.
Face to face meetings

To work towards an annual, in person, get together.

Membership of the Customer Forum

The Forum is looking for four new members to ensure it meets its ideal 12-member capacity:

  • We would like to recruit from a diverse range of groups and are looking at ways this might be possible, including the use of Housing Officers so we are representing Longhurst Group customers.
  • We have enabled current members to access meetings and information by providing used laptops. We could extend this where possible to ensure customers can get involved regardless of income levels.

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