Promises Update 2011
Back in 2002 when St Helens Council transferred its stock of homes to Helena Housing, every tenant was given a promise – that we would invest in our homes, improve the environment on our estates, provide services tailored to your needs and tackle the issues that matter to you the most. We are well into our ninth year now and have seen many changes since our inception. However we are still committed to fulfilling our promises to you and strive to ensure that we are providing the best service possible. Our Customer Excellence Panel or ‘CEP’, a group made up entirely of tenant volunteers, continues to monitor and challenge our performance, ensuring that we are providing the level of service that you, our customers, expect and deserve. In 2009 we undertook a series of listening events with tenants to find out what your priorities were and we used this information to create a brand new set of promises and customer charter which were sent to all our tenants’ homes. Over the next few pages, we will be looking at the promises we made and see how we are measuring up so far.
2 Promises Update 2011
Promises Update 2011 3
Performance is improving.
Performance remains stable.
Performance needs to improve.
An improved repairs service You said: Get the repair right first time. We did: Weâ€™ve set ourselves a challenging target to complete 90% of all responsive repairs in a single visit. How are we doing? We have recently carried out a comprehensive review of the repairs and maintenance service and have developed proposals to change and improve the way that we deliver your repairs. The changes that we are consulting on involve changing how we decide the priority of repairs. In practice this would mean that we will be able to carry out many repairs quicker than we do now with only a small number taking a little longer than they do now. Our current target to complete responsive repairs â€˜Right First Timeâ€™ is 92% and the proposed changes will help us to achieve this. Members of the Customer Excellence Panel have scrutinised these proposals to make sure that they meet the needs and expectations of our tenants. 100 90 80 70
% of responsive repairs completed right first time
Better services for those who need extra support You said: Identify those applying for a home who may be at risk so that they get the support they need before moving in.
We did: Our scheme managers are now completing risk and needs assessments with applicants who are looking to move into accommodation with a scheme manager service at the joint viewing stage. This gives the applicant the opportunity to discuss their needs with the scheme manager prior to their move.
You said: Give advice and support that helps people live independently.
We did: All new tenants now receive a housing benefit assessment at sign-up so that they are aware of how much rent they will have to pay. The week after a tenancy starts, the Welfare Benefit Advisor makes personal contact with those tenants who are under 25 or moving into sheltered accommodation to offer them a welfare benefit check. All other new tenants are sent a letter inviting them to take up the offer of a benefit check.
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Improving the Environment on our Estates
You said: Provide better maintenance for green spaces. We did: In Spring 2010 we introduced a new in-house Green Space Service that delivers improved maintenance across all our estates.
How are we doing? We recently conducted a follow-up survey on our Green Space Service to see how you felt the introduction of the new service had impacted on your local environment. 100
SEPT 2010 AUGUST 2011 % of respondents who have noticed postive changes to their local environment
SEPT 2010 AUGUST 2011 % of respondents who rated the grass maintenance as ‘good’ or ‘very good’
SEPT 2010 AUGUST 2011 % of respondents who rated the landscape maintenance as ‘good’ or ‘very good’
You said: Improve the estate caretaking service. We did: We published a clear standard for our estate caretaking service, including flat block maintenance. We have also put in place a programme to install noticeboards in all flat blocks, providing tenants with information on how to contact their estate caretaker and the frequency a flat block is cleaned.
Promises Update 2011 5
Tackling anti-social behaviour You said: Respond more quickly to complaints about anti-social behaviour. We did: We made a promise that all tenants reporting anti-social behaviour would be contacted within 48 hours of making their complaint. In addition, we also pledged to provide contact details for the officer dealing with the complaint and arrange an appointment with them within 5 working days.
How are we doing?
% of respondents contacted within 48 hours of making their ASB complaint % of respondents given the name and contact details of the officer dealing with their ASB complaint
Not recorded Not recorded
% of respondents given an appointment within 5 working days
% of respondents contacted on a weekly basis to review their case
We have shown steady improvements in our performance and aim to achieve 100%.
Keeping our Promises The Customer Excellence Panel have well established arrangements in place to make sure we are keeping our promises and they are able to challenge us if they feel we are falling short. Every three months they check how well we are doing using bespoke measures designed to keep track of the promises we have made. In addition, if they feel that they need additional information they also have the ability to commission research, customer surveys or speak with managers about performance in their particular area of service. The Panels findings are fed back to the Management Board of Helena Partnerships who are in turn required to consider and act upon their recommendations. In this way we can truly demonstrate accountability to you, our customers. Regular readers of Helena Headlines will have noted that, for over a year now, the Panel have been reporting back to you on their findings. Each year we also publish information on how well we have progressed towards delivering our promises in our annual report to tenants.
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Making it easier to get in touch and have your say
You said: Make it easier to get in touch with your neighbourhood officer. We did: Now when you ring One Call to speak to your neighbourhood officer you are either put through straight away, or if telephone contact is not possible at that time, you are offered an appointment for the officer to visit you at home or your details are passed on to the officer who is then required to call you back within 24 hours.
How are we doing?
PROMISE Calls answered within 20 seconds Calls to One Call resolved first time
84%* * Target: 80%
You said: Give you a choice about how you can have your say. We did:
arlier this year we published our â€˜Menu of Opportunitiesâ€™ which details all the ways that you E can get involved and have your say. We offer a wide variety of opportunities from filling in a customer survey to becoming a member of the Customer Excellence Panel. All elements of resident involvement are reviewed by our Resident Involvement Monitoring Group (RIMG). RIMG is an umbrella group made up of tenants which holds Helena to account if it finds that we have not effectively consulted tenants, or if feedback has not been used to influence policy and the decision-making process. RIMG also evaluates involvement initiatives in terms of value for money.
Promises Update 2011 7
You said: Resolve your complaints and put things right. We did: Drawing on the findings of the Customer Inspectors, a complaints focus group, staff suggestions and survey findings, the Customer Excellence Panel made a number of suggestions for improvement. As a result, we have revised our complaints policy and procedure. We now aim to make personal contact with each customer making a complaint, allowing us to better understand the reason why they are unhappy with the service they received. Staff are also encouraged to deal with issues at the first point of contact, where possible, which we hope will lead to a more effective, simpler and less bureaucratic service. Our Customer Excellence Panel are keen to monitor our progress and receive regular performance updates and customer feedback for review.
How are we doing?
PROMISE Percentage of Stage 1 complaints responded to in 5 working days Complaints satisfaction with outcome
If you have a complaint to make, get in touch with us using the contact details listed on Page 8.
Investing in your home
Investing in new homes
You said: Make our homes more energy
You said: Build more affordable homes.
We did: We have worked extensively to update our homes and make them more energy efficient; making them environmentally friendly and helping you to reduce your fuel bills. Some of the highlights of our work so far: •
e have completely refurbished 107 BISF W homes at Moss Bank and made them energy efficient. The scheme has received an international green apple award.
e have piloted solar photovoltaic panels on W 46 homes.
hen we replace boilers we fit energy W efficient condensing boilers and, where appropriate, also fit gas saver devices to reduce the cost of hot water.
e are currently working with British Gas and W REECH to obtain millions of pounds in funding in regard to energy efficiency at Four Acre where we will insulate properties and install a variety of retrofit technologies aimed at reducing fuel bills.
We did: To date we have completed 175 new homes, with a further 144 currently in progress.
You said: Ensure that new homes are built to energy efficiency standards.
We did: In addition to the Lifetime Homes Standard, which ensures that new homes are accessible and can be adapted to meet the changing needs of tenants, all new homes built using government funding meet the mandatory standard of Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. This means that they meet high standards for energy and water consumption.
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Providing value for money for your rent You said: Use your rent money wisely on things that matter most to you.
We did: We work with consortia such as Procurement for Housing, Fusion 21 and the National Housing Consortium to ensure we get the best deal when buying materials and services. In our last STATUS survey, conducted in 2009, 77% of those tenants surveyed were satisfied that the amount of rent they paid represented good value for money. We are currently in the process of carrying out our most recent survey which will tell us if we have managed to improve on this figure.
You said: Tell you about how your rent money has been used. We did: The Customer Excellence Panel reviewed the results from the ‘Activity Based Costing’ exercise which we carry out annually. This is where we assess the value of money of the service that we offer, taking into account cost, quality and performance, comparing ourselves with a large group of other similar housing organisations. The results of their review were published in the Annual Performance Report to Tenants called ‘Keeping our Promises’. This report also contained details of how your rent money is spent and a comparison of our performance with other similar organisations.
Come and look what’s on offer at our new Helena Central!
We want to make sure you, our customers, have an opportunity to shape our services. Come along to our ‘drop in’ style open day at Helena Central, between 3pm and 6pm on Wednesday 23 November, to discover more about opportunities for you to make a difference. Everyone who attends will get a free goodie bag! To find out more, contact Hannah Fitzhenry on 01744 67 15 57 or email Hannah.Fitzhenry@HelenaPartnerships.co.uk
How to contact us Phone:
01744 63 73 83
Post: Helena Partnerships, Helena Central, 4 Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA9 1LD Web: www.helenahomes.co.uk Email: email@example.com Digital TV:
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Virgin viewers: Press ‘home’ button; choose ‘interactive’; click on ‘news & info’; click on ‘Looking Local’; enter Quick Code 4488.
o access through Nintendo Wii or internet-enabled mobile phones, type this into your T browser: http://www.lookinglocal.gov.uk/helena