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news July 2012

Helping people back into work and training More on page 10

Give us your feedback for Win ÂŁ1 a chance 50 to win ÂŁ150 supermark vouche et vouchers! r Pages 4-5

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Important information on benefits Pages 8-9

Gearing up for RHS Tatton Flower Show Page 10


Events and classes

Welcome to

July 2012 Monday 16 July 10am-11.30am

Wednesday 18 July 6pm-8pm

Mystery shopping/resident inspectors Venue: Cavendish 249

Are you someone that likes to investigate things? Attend this session and become a mystery shopper or resident inspector. Join other residents to investigate New Charter’s services.

Money, money, money! Venue: Harbour Farm Surgery, 37 Acresfield Road, Hyde

Take control of your money! Learn different ways to make your money go further.

August 2012 Monday 6 August 10am - 12pm

Recruitment and selection training Venue: Cavendish 249

Learn how New Charter recruit staff, and train to take part in interviewing candidates.

Wednesday 15 August 10am-12pm

‘From small acorns oak trees grow’ Venue: Micklehurst Greenhouse

Come along and see what our gardening experts at Micklehurst have grown. Learn how other residents turn soil into supper by growing their own vegetables and herbs.

September 2012 Tuesday 11 September 2pm-4pm

Tame your computer demons (Basic I.T. training) Venue: Cavendish 249

Learn how to use a computer and surf the internet in this six week course.

Thursday 13 September 1.30pm-3.30pm

Sheltered forum meeting Venue: Leesfield, Ashton

Join other sheltered housing residents to discuss services and issues affecting you.

Tuesday 18 September 2pm-4pm

Tame your computer demons (Basic I.T. training) Venue: Cavendish 249

See above.

Wednesday 19 September Money, money, money! 6pm-8pm Venue: Waterton Estate Office, 149 Waterton Lane, Mossley

See above.

Saturday 22 September 11am-3pm Tuesday 25 September 2pm-4pm

‘Jewel in the crown’ showcase event Venue: Cavendish 249 Tame your computer demons (Basic I.T. training) Venue: Cavendish 249

Wednesday 26 September Leaseholders forum 6pm Venue: Cavendish 249

A day of fun! See what New Charter has been up to at this interactive residents’ event, with entertainment, workshops and stalls. See above.

Calling all leaseholders! Come along to our meeting to give us your views and opinions on issues that affect you.

For more information on events or to register your place, contact the Resident Involvement team on 0161 331 2400 or email xtrafactorteam@newcharter.co.uk

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news Welcome to the July edition of New Charter News. Summer is an exciting time for us as we get ready for some of our biggest events. Later this month we will be competing in this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show at Tatton Park, and are busy putting the final touches to our Show Garden entry. (See more on page 10) During July, we will also be asking tenants for feedback on our services and some of you may be contacted by phone to take part in this survey. Your views are very important to us as they tell us what we’re doing well and where we can do things better. If you are contacted, please take the time to answer the quick questions and be as honest as you can. You could even win £150 of supermarket vouchers for taking part! (See pages 4 and 5)

CONTENTS 2

Events and Classes

4-5

Tenants’ Survey

6

News Round-up

7

GREAT Opportunities

8-9

Money Matters

10-11 Your Great Gardening Stories 12-13 How we’re doing 14

Green Charter Update

15

Community Dragon’s Den

16

Helping people to live independently

17

Update from your Tenant Management Team

18

Neighbourhood plans

19

Complaints update

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Contact us

On pages 8 and 9 there is some important information about benefits. The Government is making changes to people’s benefits which may affect you and if you have any questions or need any support, please get in touch. Finally, as the weather starts to get warmer (hopefully!), we’re looking forward to seeing your gardens in full bloom. It’s always a joy to see the bursts of colour they give your neighbourhoods and we hope you enjoy your gardens and open spaces as much as we like to look at them.

Your Communications Team 3


WIN Supermarket vouchers with New Charter Once again, it’s time for our customer survey. During July and August, some of you will be contacted by a company called Explain to complete a survey asking for your views on New Charter’s services. Simply answer the short telephone survey and you will be entered into our free prize draw to win £150 supermarket vouchers.

Tenants’ Survey - Help us to improve your services We would really like to hear your views on our services. Your feedback will help us to find out what we do well and what we can do better. We need to carry out customer surveys regularly to monitor how we are doing and to see what improvements we can make. We cannot do this without your help!

Tackling antisocial behaviour You said

“We would like to see changes to the way antisocial behaviour is dealt with on our estates.”

We did

We take all complaints about antisocial behaviour very seriously and last year we had our highest ever success rate at the courts – taking action against 32% more of our tenants who were causing a nuisance in their communities.”

Out-of-hours emergency repairs service

We asked for your views last year and these are just some of the ways we have changed our services as a result of what you told us.

You said

inner, r’s lucky w a e y t s la being Here is Stalybridge, m o fr ly d a o Mrs Br ers h her vouch it w d te n e s pre

“We’re not happy with the emergency out-of-hours service and think that changes need to be made to improve it.”

Support for new tenants

We did From August we will be taking these emergency calls ourselves.

You said

“We’d like to have more support as new tenants living in our own homes for the first time.”

We did

Looking after your estates

We’re now running a project called ‘Key to the Door’ to help new tenants prepare for taking on a new home. All new tenants will be asked to complete the course. It involves a series of workshops designed to offer a helping hand to those moving into a New Charter home for the first time. Support ranges from financial advice to cookery lessons.

You said

“We’d like to see changes to the way our outdoor areas on our estates are looked after.”

We did

Grounds maintenance on estates is now being run by New Charter rather than an external company. A new team called Green Charter has been set up to carry out this work with new vans, better equipment and more trained staff. This is not only helping to provide a more customer focused and improved service, it’s helping New Charter to save more than £1m over the next five years. These savings will be put back into your communities.

Getting in touch You said

“Sometimes we can’t reach the right person when we call your offices.”

We did

We’ve set up a dedicated customer contact centre called ‘Connect’ to make sure your queries are dealt with correctly and you can speak to the right person quickly.

You said

“We’re really busy and don’t often have the time to write a letter or phone you when we have a query. Is there another way we can get in touch with you?”

We did

You can now contact us quickly and easily through Facebook, Twitter and our Looking Local TV service. The sites can help you with a range of things whether you want to give us some feedback, request a repair, or keep up-to-date with all our latest news. You can also search for available properties on Looking Local.

Vouchers worth £150. All New Charter customers aged 18 and over are invited to enter. To be eligible to win you must have a clear rent account or be keeping a financial agreement with us and not have any action against you for antisocial behaviour. The judge’s decision is final. The winners to be published in our newsletter.

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Litter

You said

“Something needs to be done about the litter on our estates.”

We did

We now have a caretaking team called Cleancare to help keep your estates clean and tidy. Teams will carry out a range of cleaning duties including litter picking, removals of fly tipping and graffiti clean-ups.

During July and August 2012, a research company called Explain will be calling a random selection of tenants on our behalf to find out what you think about services you receive from New Charter. The phone call will last for about 15 minutes and the research company will clearly introduce themselves to you and explain they are acting on behalf of New Charter. If however you have any concerns, please contact the Customer Experience team on 0161 331 2198. As an added bonus and to show you how much we appreciate your help, all those who complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win £150 vouchers for a supermarket of your choice.

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News round-up

GREAT Opportunities Helping people back into work and further training

New £3.5m extra-care scheme to open its doors

New Charter has launched a three-year programme called GREAT Opportunities to help reduce unemployment in its communities.

New Charter has been handed the keys to Beatrix House, its new flagship development to provide state-of-the-art accommodation and support for older residents and people suffering from dementia. Named after famous author Beatrix Potter who has family connections to the area, it is one of only four extra-care schemes in Tameside. The building on Gorse Hall Road in Dukinfield is due to open in the summer. Its 31 apartments will help people to live independently with round-the-clock tailored support from health care professionals. On-site facilities include a café bistro, hair salon, communal and private lounges, games and activities rooms, laundry and an electric scooter store. There will also be walk-in shower rooms, assisted bathing facilities and the latest care technology. Gardens with different smells and colours and a reminiscence room will help to aid people’s treatment. The community will also be able to use many facilities at Beatrix House.

First primary Academy in Tameside New Charter has sponsored the first primary school in Tameside to become an Academy. The former Ridge Hill primary and nursery in Stalybridge is now an Academy with a new name of Silver Springs.

National praise for estate services New Charter has become one of only a handful of housing companies in the country to get a national award for the way it looks after its estates.

The Academy is no longer under council control and has greater freedom to decide how it should be run.

The award from the Housing Quality Network (HQN) is given to organisations that run quality services.

New Charter is sponsoring the Academy as part of its work to help improve its communities. The building will also become a hub for the community with New Charter teams running advice surgeries for families and residents.

The independent review said New Charter had helped a ‘dramatic fall in antisocial behaviour incidents and the fear of crime’ on estates.

Support will include housing and financial advice as well as help with getting into further training, education or employment.

Savings made by New Charter’s Cleancare and Green Charter teams were also said to be delivering value for money for tenants.

The programme looks at helping people back into work by giving them more opportunities to develop skills and build their confidence. This could be further training, education or volunteering to help people get ‘job ready’ and give them a better chance of finding long-term work. So far this year, New Charter has started apprenticeships as well as voluntary work placements with its caretaking and grounds maintenance teams. The programme is already helping people and you can hear a couple of their stories on this page.

Lifeline for Dad who’s back in training Dad-of-seven Paul Warburton has been given a lifeline thanks to a new training programme supported by New Charter. Single father Paul, from Ashton, has been unemployed for the past two years after being forced to give up his his job as a market cleaner due to family reasons. Now, 40-year-old Paul is making a new start for him and his family after becoming a trainee painter on a 12 month paid training programme with Skills2Build. Paul will be painting and decorating New Charter homes and is learning practical skills on the job. Paul said: “I heard about the training opportunity and was really keen to go for it to help me learn new skills and get a better chance of finding a job in the trade. It’s a step closer to long-term work which will help provide a better life for me and my family.”

Training young people 23-year-old Stuart Wilde and Lee Wilson (24) from Ashton are some of the first young people to start work placements with New Charter. They joined us back in May and are now coming to the end of their eight-week voluntary work experience placements with caretaking team, Cleancare. Throughout their time with New Charter they have been learning practical skills while on the job, to give them experience for their CVs. They have been litter picking, removing bulky waste, cleaning up graffiti and keeping tower blocks tidy. New Charter is working with Job Centre Plus to offer the placements which are aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds. Stuart said: “Hopefully, once I have more experience, it will open up other opportunities to permanent work in and around Ashton.”

ir new Standing tall: Proud pupils show off the Academy uniforms

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Staff and residents celebrating the award

Lee has now been successful in securing a permanent job as a weekend caretaker with the Cleancare team.

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Money Matters Spare Bedrooms and Housing Benefit will you be affected? Can you answer YES to all of these questions? l Do you receive Housing Benefit? l Are you of working age? (61 years and under) l Do you have a spare bedroom in your home?

Things you need to know Changes to the benefit system will mean that... l

A ‘cap’ will be introduced on benefits. This means that the most you will be entitled to, regardless of your circumstances is £500 per week for a couple, or £350 per week if you are single. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to you to let you know if this will affect you.

l

Universal credit – This is a new benefit payable to working age tenants that will bring together lots of separate benefits in order to make things simpler. It will be paid to claimants monthly in arrears. Housing Benefit will become part of the Universal Credit and this will be paid directly to tenants in most cases.

If you can, then it is highly likely that your Housing Benefit will be reduced from April 2013 by up to 25%. If you would like to know how this will affect you, go to our website www.newcharter.co.uk, click on Calculate Benefits Entitlement, Important News, this link, and fill in the Bedroom Calculator. As we reported in our April newsletter the Government will only pay Housing Benefit for the number of bedrooms that your family needs and they will not pay the full rent.

This means that the choice to have Housing Benefit paid directly to your rent account will no longer be available. Struggling with Debt? Contact us and see how we can help 0161 331 2456 debtadvice@newcharter.co.uk Write to ‘Debt Advice Team’ at our head office address on the back of this newsletter or call into one of our Hubs.

The changes are going ahead. If you think you may be affected and you have concerns, then please contact us on 0161 331 2200. We’re here to help you.

Help with Welfare Benefits Contact us and see how we can help 0161 331 2200 welfare@newcharter.co.uk Write to ‘Welfare Benefit team’ at our head office address on the back of this newsletter or call into one of our Hubs.

Changes to Housing Benefit l Do you receive Housing Benefit to help you with your rent? l Do you have someone living with you who is aged 18 or over?

(this includes grown-up children, but not your partner)

If you said YES to both, this information is very important to you. Anyone who lives with you who is aged 18 or over (and is not a joint tenant or boarder and not your partner) is called a non-dependant. A non-dependant could be l A parent l Another relative who lives with you

l A grown-up son or daughter l A friend

If you have a non-dependant living in your home, your Housing Benefit is usually reduced by a certain amount each week. This is called a non-dependant deduction. This amount depends on the circumstances of the person living with you, for example if they are working or on benefits. This means your Housing Benefit is reduced, and you have to pay more towards your rent. The idea is that the person living with you should contribute to the rent. From 1st April 2012 these amounts have increased and you should have been contacted by the council to let you know how your Housing Benefit has changed. If you haven’t heard from the council, you can contact them on 0161 342 8355.

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Need Advice? We can provide free, confidential advice. If you are interested in the support we can offer you, please complete the form below and post it to our head office address on the back of this newsletter or drop it into one of our Hubs or offices. Please mark your form: ‘FAO. Welfare Benefit team’ and we’ll be in touch.

I would like advice on: Managing my household budget Switching fuel suppliers How to set up a bank account to suit me Debt or Welfare Benefit Advice Please fill in your name and contact details and we’ll be in touch. Name Tel no. Email Address

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Your great gardening stories Young people’s art to be displayed at top garden show

Soap star opens community greenhouse

This year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show at Tatton Park is just around the corner and our younger tenants have been ‘busy bees’ helping us to make our 2012 entry.

Young Coronation Street star Ellie Leach joined residents in Audenshaw to open a new community greenhouse.

New Charter has entered the RHS Tatton show for the past three years now and this year, it is creating its second Show Garden; a category it won a Bronze medal for in 2010.

Ellie, (11), who plays Faye Butler in the soap, visited the Stanhope estate to celebrate the opening of the new greenhouse and encourage young people to get involved in volunteering.

Young people from New Charter’s DreamScheme project (aged 8 to 16) have been working hard for months to create designs for this year’s entry. The garden titled ‘A Year in the Life of DreamScheme’ will show the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Six groups from different neighbourhoods have attended workshops to carefully craft pieces of art that will be used in the final garden to be judged on 16th July. The groups have been willow sculpting and mosaic painting with a local artist while learning more about bugs and the environment with country wardens. As well as being plenty of fun, the workshops help to empower and motivate young people.

Getting stuck in: Ellie helps young tenants to plant seeds

New Charter has helped to fund the greenhouse with residents from the Audenshaw Community Association raising money for it too. Residents will run and manage the greenhouse which will be used to grow fruit and flowers. New Charter will also run workshops to teach people how to turn produce into food.

Ellie meets New Charter’s Les Crowther and resident David Pinnock at the greenhouse

Here’s some photos of you enjoying your Jubilee celebrations!

The designs will be kept under wraps, but until the show’s on, here’s a sneak preview of some of their work which will be on display during the RHS Tatton Show (18th - 22nd July).

Residents at Gibson Terrace (left) and Ashurst Gardens (right) enjoyed Jubilee street and garden parties

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How we're doing Performance matters at New Charter and we are proud of how we look after day to day issues for our customers. No matter how much we grow and change, and give attention to new ventures, our first priority is to provide high quality services to our tenants.

Local Offers - our promises to you.

It’s important to us that we monitor and measure how we are doing. We set goals for all areas of our business and continually check how well we are doing. Here’s a summary of where we are up to.

– not started yet /still work to do

Our traffic light system tells you how we are doing.

– on course, going well!

Performance Areas

Repairs Service

Repairs completed within set timescales

Percentage of tenants satisfied with the service

93.1%

99.4%

Improvements to your homes

92%

Handling of antisocial behaviour noise cases

92%

Satisfaction with outcome of antisocial behaviour cases

Telephone Services

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– work in progress

How we’re doing

Local Offers are a set of promises we’ve made to you, based upon what you as tenants have told us you want us to improve on.

Local OfferWhat you told us you’d like

What we did

Getting residents involved in monitoring our grounds maintenance and grass cutting service.

We now have 27 volunteers who are feeding back to us on the quality of service.

Provide a two hour appointment slot for new customers to uncap and commission their boilers.

New Charter has continued to meet this target over the last quarter and provide two hour appointments for all new customers.

Ensure that 100% of all new lets meet 94% of customers reported the the lettable standard, (as developed condition of their new home as good/very good; and 96% of with our customers). customers are satisfied with their new home. Provide a service to have your gas cooker fitted by our quality tradesmen.

We have now introduced this service at a cost of £60 inc.VAT, materials and labour.

91%

97.4%

How it is going

r g a monitor for ou in m co be in ed st hear If you are intere e would love to w e ic rv se ce an s. grounds mainten dge and Hyde area ri yb al St e th in ly al from you – especi email 0161 331 2627 or on er th w ro C s Call Le ewchar ter.co.uk les.crowther@n

If you are interested in using our service to have your gas cooker fitted by our quality tradesmen please call 0161 331 28 17 or email steven.hall@newchar ter.co.uk

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green charter update Green Charter, your new grounds maintenance service, has been running for four months now. Teams have been out and about in their new vans since March and are getting to know your estates. They are also getting familiar with new machinery and equipment. You may recognise some familiar faces but will also see some new members of staff. We’ve taken on nine seasonal staff and the teams are working well together.

During the week of good weather in March, the team successfully completed its first grass cutting. The service involves a new process called mulching, which recycles cut grass back into the ground rather than disposing of it.This is a much ‘greener’ way to cut grass but unfortunately it works best in dry weather! So, the teams are hoping for some better weather to improve this ‘cut and mulch’ system and be more environmentally friendly.

Feedback from you Thank you to all customers who gave their feedback on previous experiences with grounds maintenance. This highlighted areas we need to improve on, including picking up litter before cutting and tidying up after work has been done. We’ve had some very positive feedback on our Green Charter service so far and we’d like to thank residents who’ve taken the time to write to us. Green Charter is still a very new service and we know there are lots of things that we can do to get better. Please bear with us and be assured that we are committed to working towards the best possible service for you. The Green Charter team has undergone a huge training programme to make sure the work it does is of the highest standard.

Getting involved We already have 27 residents helping to check your estates and tell us how the Green Charter service is going. The TMT looks in detail at our services to make sure they are doing what they promise for tenants and standards remain high.ofThe makes suggestions on how could be improved. We’re keen for more you team to get also actively involved in monitoring our services service and become Green Charter monitors. knowthe you are has passionate about your neighbourhoods andayou the best to tell us Since our lastWe edition, team been continuing to work hard and here’s list are of what they people have been doing: what’s goingwith wellour andpartner what we need toAksa work on. and their Oldham tenants to help them set up a scrutiny panel of l worked company Homes their own If you’d like to be involved or learn more, please contact Les Crowther on 0161 331 2627 l In May, TMT attended a conference with the Northern Housing Consortium to talk to housing professionals about or email les.crowther@newcharter.co.uk the excellent work they have done to scrutinise grounds maintenance services at New Charter l Just last month, the team were also invited to a national housing conference in Manchester to share their experiences of being one of only 10 tenants’ teams in the country to gain champion status for the work they do l completed a scrutiny project into the work of New Charter’s resident involvement team and put forward ways to improve; - written communication with tenants to ensure effectiveness and value for money - sharing the good work done by the Tenants’ Panel (was RIMP) l looked at services for new tenants including how properties are let and carried inspections of properties to make sure the agreed standards were being met. about re-lets on this page) We (More ran a survey in the last issue of the newsletter, asking for your feedback on grounds maintenance.

And the winner is...

Everyone who filled in the survey was entered into a prize draw

Volunteers needed to inspect new homes and here’s our lucky winner, Miss Ashworth with her gift vouchers!

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. Your views will help us to improve the Green Charter service for you.

Residents invited to bid for cash for local projects Residents have been invited to bid for money for community projects in a new ‘Dragon’s Den’ style project.

RIMP becomes Tenants’ Panel New Charter has set upthe its own ‘Community Dragon’s Den’ project based on the idea of the hit BBC2 TV show where contestants bid for cash by presenting their ideas to a panel of experts.

All communal hard surfaces, weed beds and drying areas have been sprayed. You will notice weeds are turning brown and will soon disappear.

Although New Charter’s version will not be televised, it will take a similar format with ideas presented to a panel made up of two tenants and two housing officers.

Meet the Green Charte

r team

Tenants or residents’ groups can apply for a share of the funding if they have a project or an idea that will promote community learning or teach people new skills. New Charter is currently looking through the first round of entries. The deadline for the next round of funding will be the end of October 2012. If you’d like to apply, please contact Sue Cox on 0161 331 2416.

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Helping people to live independently

Get involved and help make a difference

An adaptation, such as a stairlift or walk in shower, can make a real difference to someone’s life. It can help them to lead a safe and independent life whilst allowing them to live in their own home. New Charter has been looking at how the adaptations process can be improved and we need your help to do this. We would like to set up a customer focus group to discuss your experiences so that we can look at where changes need to be made. When we receive an application for an adaptation, first we have to check that the property is suitable for the changes. We have recently put in place a new team called GREAT Moves to support tenants whose current home is unsuitable for adaptation. The team will help tenants to find a more suitable home and make sure that the move goes as smooth as possible. We have also set up a staff focus group which is made up of New Charter and council employees. The group will work with customer focus groups to develop a clear process for dealing with adaptations, which are managed by Tameside council. This will then help to form a new adaptations policy and customer leaflet to help tenants who are looking to apply for an adaptation or those who are already going through the process. If you would like to know more or want to join our focus group, please contact Yvonne Campbell, project co-ordinator on 0161 331 2400.

New Charter teams up with Age UK Tameside Age UK Tameside and New Charter are working together to help local residents remain safe, happy and independent in their own homes. Both organisations have teamed up to launch a new Minor Adaptations and Handy Person service to help with small jobs and repairs in your properties. It will also be able to support tenants with home security and fire safety. Priority will be given to vulnerable and older residents however, anyone is welcome to request the service, whether you rent or own your own home. Services include: l fitting grab rails, hand rails and key safes

l minor repairs

l moving furniture

l changing light bulbs and much more

Update from your Tenant Management Team (TMT) TMT looks in detail at our services to make sure we are doing what we have promised tenants and that standards remain high. The team also make suggestions on how services could be improved.

We would like to than k all of our tenant volunteers for their continued hard work. If you would lik e to join the team or find out more, ple ase contact Steve Fanshawe on 0161 33 1 2579 or email stephen.fanshawe@ne wcharter.co.uk

Since our last edition, the team has been continuing to work hard and here’s a list of what they have been doing: l Worked with our partner company Aksa Homes and their Oldham tenants to help them set up a scrutiny panel of their own. l In May, TMT attended a conference with the Northern Housing Consortium to talk to housing professionals about the excellent work we have done to scrutinise grounds maintenance services at New Charter. l Last month, the team were also invited to the national housing conference in Manchester to share their experiences of being one of only 10 tenants’ teams in the country to gain champion status for the work we do. l Completed a scrutiny project on the work of New Charter’s Resident Invovlement team and suggested ways we can improve. They said we should: - Improve written communication with tenants to ensure messages are clear and are value for money. - Share the good work done by the Tenants’ Panel (was RIMP). l Looked at services for new tenants including how properties are let and inspected properties to make sure the agreed standards were being met.

Volunteers needed to inspect new homes Over the past year New Charter has made big improvements to property lettings. l A

total of 94% of customers said the condition of their new home was very good/good. total of 96% of tenants are satisfied with their new home and this has been backed up by checks carried out by our Resident Inspectors.

l A

We are committed to raising standards even further and we need your help to do this. We are looking for volunteers to help us monitor this service by testing the conditions of homes ready to be let out again. This will involve visiting homes, speaking to new tenants and reporting back to our scrutiny panel, TMT. To join or find out more, please contact us on 0161 331 2416.

RIMP becomes the Tenants’ Panel We’re proud to announce a new name for our Resident Involvement Monitoring Panel (RIMP), which is now called the Tenants’ Panel.

The service will not replace or change your normal repairs service. It is additional support for those who need it.

The Tenants’ Panel is a group of tenant volunteers who work closely with us to make sure residents are at the heart of everything we do.

Our experienced and friendly team will be visiting homes to carry out the work and you will recognise some familiar faces from New Charter.

The work the group does has not changed but the new name brings it in line with best practice guidelines for housing companies.

Charges for jobs may apply depending on the work and your personal circumstances.

The Panel meets fortnightly to check New Charter is meeting all the right standards for its customers.

In many cases the service is free, e.g following an assessment by an Occupational Therapist. Where there is a charge, we guarantee to keep our costs to a minimum. Teams are committed to delivering quality services, carried out by local and qualified tradespeople.

For more information call 0161 308 5000 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/tameside 16 14

Age UK Tameside, 131 Katherine Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7AW.

This involves monitoring many service areas including resident involvement, homes, neighbourhoods and communities and suggesting ways to improve. The Panel also offers help and advice to individual residents and makes recommendations to the Tenant Management Team (TMT) for areas that need further scrutiny.

If you would like to join the Tenants’ Panel or find out more about it, please contact the Resident Involvement Team on 0161 331 2416.

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Our customers are the best teachers

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Neighbourhood plans

Learning from complaints

Great people deserve great neighbourhoods We will soon be launching new neighbourhood plans to help improve your estates. Creating great homes is just as important as having great neighbourhoods to live in and over the years we’ve been working hard to make sure we provide both for our tenants.

It is important to us that all customers receive an excellent standard of service however, we know sometimes things can go wrong and if this happens we want to put things right as soon as possible. Last year, between April 2011 and March 2012, we received a total of 161 customer complaints. We managed to resolve 147 of these complaints the first time you contacted us and 14 needed further investigation.

The main areas you complained about were:

Based on our promises to you and the feedback you’ve given us, we’ve re-looked at your neighbourhoods, the work we’re already doing and the work we need to do. We will be unveiling action plans for each neighbourhood later this year. These plans will make sure the local issues that matter to you most are dealt with. Over the last few months our teams have been working with customers and partners to identify where work needs to be done in your areas. You may have completed a survey yourself, took part in a focus group or been on a neighbourhood tour. We’re now finalising the new neighbourhood plans which will include priority issues in your neighbourhood and what we need to do to make things better. The plans are due to be finished by the end of the summer and after making final plans, we will launch them in the autumn. Residents will also be helping us to monitor progress against the plans. Watch out for the plans later in the year and please give us your feedback.

New Charter Homes is now a charity Last year we told you of plans to change the status of New Charter Homes from a company limited by guarantee to a charity. We are pleased to tell you that all the legal change s have now taken place and New Charter Homes was officially registered with the Charity Commission as a charity in March.

What does this mean for me?

Your tenancy rights are not changed. New Charter Homes contin ues to be a registered provider of affordable homes, regulated by the Government. It does mean that potent ially we are able to keep money which would otherwise be paid in corporation tax. Money retained can then be used for the benefit of New Charter tenants and communities. There are other benefits as well, including gift aid donations on charita ble giving, access to grants that are currently restricted to charities, and some concessions on Value Added Tax (VAT).

If you w ant to g et involv helping t ed in o monito r compla or to b ints eco the com me a member pla of on 0161 ints panel, call us 3 contact 31 2140 or em @ a il newcha Putting things right rter.co.u k These are some of the actions we have taken because of your complaints:

Your biggest area of concern was around customer service, in particular poor communication. We have introduced new ways to communicate including Facebook and Twitter, and set up Connect (a central team) to take your calls and resolve your queries. In carrying out over 52,000 repairs, we received 38 complaints. Each one has been looked into and we have learnt from any mistakes that have been made. Staff have received training to make sure that they know how to deal with a complaint. When you make a complaint we ask for your feedback on how it was handled, so that we know if improvements are needed. We have ‘learning sessions’ with staff to discuss why things have gone wrong and to stop it happening again.

Thank you to those customers who responded to the consultation on changing New Charter to a charity. HOMES LIMITED

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We like to hear when we have got it right for customers. Last year we received 115 compliments and thank you for the feedback. 19 3


Contact us Main switchboard: Reporting repairs: Lettings enquiries: General tenancy enquiries: Out of hours emergency calls: Antisocial behaviour helpline:

0161 331 2000 0800 027 0828 0161 331 2345 0161 331 2400 0800 027 0828 0800 027 0522

Head Office: New Charter, Cavendish 249, Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7AT

Emergency Repairs Call 0800 027 0828 if you need an emergency repair during the following times: l Before 8.00am and after 6pm Monday to Friday l During weekends and Bank Holidays The Communications team at New Charter write your newsletter. For any queries on the newsletter, please contact them on 0161 331 2470 or email contact@newcharter.co.uk

Our Home & Community Hubs Our Hubs open at 9am Monday to Friday, (except Tuesday when they open at 10.30am). Denton and Stalybridge Hubs close daily between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. All Hubs close at 5pm Monday to Wednesday; 4.30pm on Thursday; and 4pm on Friday.

2 Henrietta Street, Ashton 9 Albert Street, Denton 12 Clarendon Street, Hyde 63 Grosvenor Street, Stalybridge

Changes to your Hubs Your New Charter shops and neighbourhood centres are changing and have a new name to help make it as easy as possible for you to access our services. Our four town centre Hubs (above) will become Home and Community Hubs. Teams working in the Hubs will be called Home and Community specialists and will be able to help you with your questions. Some of your Neighbourhood Offices new name. These offices are a place for neighbourhood management, resident regeneration teams. You can also attend classes, clubs and events there.

will also get the you to meet your involvement and a range of activity

Why not call in and see us while you are out and about? We can help with a range of things including repairs, neighbourhood issues, rent, looking for a new home and debt advice. We can even help you to learn new skills, volunteering or CV writing. Look out for teams in your new Hubs over the next few months. New signage may be put up and changes will be made to the look and feel of buildings. See opening times for the Hubs above. Opening times for neighbourhood offices may vary.


NC News - July 2012