Page 1

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise

Supported Housing and Older Persons’ Services Department Customer Handbook March 2010

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise

Customer Handbook 1.

Introduction – our ambition, priorities, values and Customer First strategy


Orbit Service Promise


Information available in another format


Living in your home and community


Your tenancy and your rights, including Data Protection


Rents, service charges and housing benefit


Repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs




Anti social behaviour and hate crime

10. Domestic violence 11. Involving you 12. Moving on 13. What is care and support? 14. Equality and Diversity 15. Protection of Vulnerable Adults 16. Health and Safety 17. Drug Policy statement 18. Empowerment commitment

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise

19. Professional Boundaries 20. Service standards 21.

Useful contact numbers

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise


Welcome to Orbit SHOPS – Supported Housing and Older Persons’ Services

This handbook has been specifically written for residents in sheltered, very sheltered/extra care and supported housing. This will give you more information about the policies and beliefs of the Orbit, the Supported Housing and Older Persons’ Services department and the services that we provide. Please ask a member of staff if you have any further questions or if there is any more information that we can provide. We also welcome feedback on the handbook – please speak to a staff member if you think that there is any other information that we should include or if you have any other suggestions about how we can improve the handbook. This handbook will change and evolve as our policies evolve and improve and as we incorporate feedback from our customers. Supported Housing in Orbit The supported department of Orbit Heart of England Housing Association (OHE) includes the projects which are directly provided by OHE – those where OHE provide the property and the support that is provided, as well as those projects that are delivered by managing agents. The supported housing department provides a supported housing management and support provision service from the midlands association to the supported properties in the east based association. The supported housing department is based within OHE and delivers supported housing services across the midlands and the east regions of the Orbit Group. The department works with a number of different client groups and managing agents in locations ranging from Bristol to Lowestoft. Orbit provides almost 400 units of supported housing and about 160 places in floating support projects, as well as also welcoming over 80 elderly people per week to a day centre. Our managing agents provide approximately another 450 units of supported housing. If you would like more information about the work of the department, how we are funded, how we are monitored, and so on please ask a member of staff. Housing for Older People Within the OHE organisation, we have approximately 1100 units of sheltered housing over 30 different projects, and are soon to open Briar Croft as an extra care project.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise The SHOPS department within OHE also delivers sheltered housing services in the east regions of the Orbit Group, where there are 6 sheltered housing projects. Care and Repair The department also includes three Care and Repair teams working in Coventry, Rugby, Burton on Trent and Staffordshire. Each team delivers a range of services including handyperson services, supporting clients to access grants and funds to make aids and adaptations to their homes, and much more. The Orbit Group Orbit was established over 40 years ago, employs over 1,800 people, manages 32,000 homes and is one of the largest housing groups in the UK. The Orbit Partnership consists of Orbit Housing Group Ltd as the parent organisation, providing two functions: corporate services, including a 24 hour Customer Service Centre, and low cost home ownership services through Orbit First Step. In addition to this, Orbit Heart of England Housing Association, Orbit Group Limited Housing and Orbit South Housing Association are Registered Social Landlords providing local services. We are committed to supporting neighbourhoods, to listening to our customers and to delivering excellence in performance and service delivery. Our vision is to ‘Build Brighter Futures for people and communities’. We also offer a wide range of other services: Low Cost Home Ownership, Supported Housing, and Care and Repair Agency services. Orbit is a preferred development partner with the Housing Corporation, having a strong track record in development, and is in the forefront of innovation in the delivery of affordable housing. We put our energy into creating places where people want to live and invest in a range of quality services as well as homes. Our ambition, objectives and priorities 

Our ambition is Communities”







This ambition will be achieved through meeting our objectives and priorities. 

Our objectives are centred on 3 themes – Customer, Place and Organisations

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise Customer – To be a customer first organisation that delivers high quality services that meet customer needs, expectations and aspirations through the development of strong partnerships Place - Make a demonstrable difference to improve the communities in which our residents live and to improve life changes and choices for our customers Organisation - Be a great organisation that is well-governed, well managed and financially viable and is a great place to work for colleagues while offering value for money to all of our customers We have then agreed priorities for action over the next 12 months, based on those objectives. Customer o To deliver our resident engagement strategy and develop our culture to listen to, work with and respond to the needs of our customers and service users o To deliver our Customer First strategy for residents and service users, while continually improving performance and ensuring we meet service standards and targets o To invest in the provision of a wide range of new homes and products to respond to Place o To identify our key communities and work in partnership with local organisations to deliver our community investment strategies which focus on improving people’s lives and environment o Invest in new homes to address unmet housing needs, and in existing homes to meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010 and to meet future expectations of our customers o To improve the quality, design, sustainability and the cost in use of all of our existing and new homes, and to improve the offer and affordability to our customers. Organisation o To operate a strong governance and operating infrastructure that supports our ability to drive, control and align the organisation to meet our customer service aspirations o To be a financially strong organisation and to use our resources and efforts to continually improve our efficiency and effectiveness

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise o Be a great place to work offering support to deliver our service aspirations and personalized opportunities to develop and grow to all colleagues Our values The Orbit Group has also adopted 5 values, which we want to underpin all our work and our work with customers, external partners, and one another. Honesty

     

Saying what we mean Building trust Deliver on our promises Challenging the status quo Committed to our organisation and to our customers Telling it like it is


     

Enthusiastically putting forward our ideas No idea too small Celebrating and promoting success Taking informed risks Learning from experience Delivering change

Partnership       Respect     

Exploring the approaches of others Valuing all our partners Recognising the skills and experience of others Building great relationships Celebrating team working Collaborating to deliver results Seeing things from our customers point of view Celebrating diversity Giving and receiving constructive feedback Open minded Active listening and valuing all contributions


Empowering staff Striving to be great Passionate about what we do Getting things right first time Delivering exceptional results Pushing the boundaries

     

Customer First Orbit also has developed a Customer First strategy – which states the following principles and ambitions March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise The Orbit Group is committed to putting our customers first and ensuring they are at the heart of everything we do. Customer First will shape the services we provide, and drive our growth and influence. It is central to and underpins our Business Plan. Achieving service excellence is integral to the Group’s success. Our philosophy is to build on two simple objectives as our building blocks which are fundamental to achieving our commitment: 1. The provision of excellent homes and services, ensuring our customers’ experience meets their expectations. 2. Ensure our organisation is run in a way, which enables our staff to provide excellent services. We value our customers, and will work with them to deliver these commitments. To achieve our objectives, we will: Service 

Ensure we know who our customers are, what they think of us and what they want from us

Use information from our customers to regularly evaluate, review and improve our services

Clearly communicate what our customers can expect from us and deliver on our promises

Within our means, continuously develop and innovate customer services, comparing ourselves to other organisations and learning from best practice

Organisation 

Ensure all staff understand and take ownership for their link in the customer service chain, and their role in providing seamless, end-to-end services

Ensure we cross-sell our services and share our knowledge throughout the Group.

To find out more about, please visit

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise or www. or

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Parts 1 and 2 – Welcome, table of contents, introduction and service promise


March 2010

The Orbit Service Promise

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 3 – Information available in another language


Information available in other formats

If you need this document translated into a different format, large print, Braille or audio, please firstly speak to the support staff in the project.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 4 – Living in your home and community


Living in your home and community

When you first move into the project, staff members will go through your occupancy agreement with you and complete an induction checklist to ensure that you are clear about your rights and responsibilities living in the project. There may be different rights and expectations in different projects, but as a general guideline the following pages set out what you can expect from us, and what we ask from you. Staff at the project will ensure that: 

Your individual support needs are met through your agreed support plan

Your individual care plan will be agreed to meet your personal care needs

You are given privacy & confidentiality is maintained – you are treated with respect and dignity

Your property meets with Health & Safety regulations

Your accommodation will be maintained to an acceptable standard

Access is made available to specialist or independent external agencies to meet specific needs

That information is provided about the local area, such as local shops, medical services, places of worship, etc.

You are given information about local recycling facilities or arrangements

You are clear about the roles of staff and the opening times of the project and the use of the Orbit Response Unit (ORU)

You are given assistance in accessing benefits, including housing benefit

Repairs are completed in acceptable timescales

You have the right to expect that your support plan is reviewed at least 3 monthly or sooner if required to highlight any new

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 4 – Living in your home and community support needs – you can request a review of your support plan at any time 

You have the right to expect that your care plan is reviewed monthly to identify any new care needs

You have the right to complain and staff will assist you through the complaints procedure

Your contract with the Association (your occupancy agreement/support agreement) sets out a number of your rights and obligations. This is to make sure that all customers are able to enjoy living in their home and the community in which they live. Your responsibilities: 

To ensure all communal areas are free from obstructions, clean and tidy

To be aware that your guests are your responsibility and to ensure your guests do not disturb any other customers, staff members, other people living in the local community, etc.

Ensure all benefits are claimed on time, with the assistance of staff

Rent, Service Charge and Personal charges are paid on time

Engage with all staff at the project as agreed in your support plan

To report any issues within the project or the community to a member of staff

Be considerate to neighbours, residents and staff at all times

Ensure all rubbish/household waste is disposed of in the correct way

In accordance with the national No Smoking legislation, You MUST NOT smoke in any communal areas, and in any other areas that have been designated and signposted as no smoking areas – the project based staff can advise you as to where you can smoke

You must ensure your property is secured at all times

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 4 – Living in your home and community 

If you have been given permission to keep a small pet you must ensure that it is kept in adequate housing and must not cause a disturbance.

To ensure any repairs are reported at the earliest opportunity.

To ensure no security equipment is tampered with either by yourself or your guests

To attend agreed appointments to ensure your care or support needs are met

 Orbit insurance covers the property and the contents that are

provided by the project – it does not cover your personal belongings and if you want them covered, you will need to insure them. Orbit does provide an affordable insurance project for customers – please speak to a member of staff for more details.

Environmental issues In all our housing services we try to reduce energy use and to recycle as much as possible – for the benefit of the environment and also to reduce costs of heating and lighting the building. If you have any ideas about how a project can be “greener” please speak to a staff member or bring it up at a house meeting. More efficient use of energy can lower fuel bills. Whether you are living in a new or an older property there are a number of things you can do to save energy and money. Below are some energy saving tips. Central Heating: Try turning the room thermostat down by 1 degree. If you have a hot water cylinder, try turning the cylinder stat down. This will also save energy costs. Lighting: Energy saving light bulbs use 1/5th of the power of an equivalent tungsten bulb. A 20-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) gives the same amount of light as a 100-watt standard bulb and lasts at least five times longer. Appliances: Look for the energy use label when buying new domestic appliances. All fridges, freezers, fridge/freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers now have a label which

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 4 – Living in your home and community shows their energy rating with a scale of A to G. You should try to buy an appliance with a rating as close to A as possible. Some other useful tips: 

Close your curtains at dusk to reduce heat escaping through the windows

Always turn lights off when you leave the room

Televisions, videos, etc. use energy whilst on standby; switch off at the set

It’s cheaper to wash-up by hand than with a dishwasher

Kettles: Heat the amount of water you really need rather than just filling it up. Remember, with electric kettles, to cover the element

A shower uses only half the water needed for a bath

You can get more information about saving energy by visiting these websites or by contacting us. ,, , Recycle what you can Nearly two thirds of your rubbish can be recycled. Separate, clean and recycle whatever you can, making the most of local collection systems. To find out what you can recycle locally, contact the waste management department of your local council or speak to a member of staff. You can find out more about how to recycle almost anything from CDs to Christmas trees by going to the Wastewatch site Reduce the amount of rubbish you throw away There are many ways to cut down on the amount of rubbish you throw away, for example: 

Use your carrier bags more than once, or replace them with a more durable bag or box

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 4 – Living in your home and community  The Mailing Preference Service reduces the amount of junk mail you will receive. Registration is free 

Give away any unwanted books, furniture and clothes for others to benefit

Use re-sealable containers to keep your food fresh, reducing the amount of plastic film and aluminium foil you throw away

Buy returnable bottles and containers that can be re-filled

Cut down on packaging by buying your fruit and vegetables loose, and try to avoid overly packaged products and individual portion packs

Disposable nappies are bulky and difficult to dispose of. Try using reusable washable nappies instead

Using rechargeable batteries and recharging electrical appliances will save on batteries.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection


Your Tenancy/Licence and your rights, including Data Protection

What type of tenure do you have? In supported housing, we use Non Assured Short Hold tenancies, Assured Short-hold Tenancies and licence agreements. Whenever a new customer moves into a supported housing project, a staff member will go through your tenure agreement with you to make sure that you clearly understand the rights and responsibilities included within it – if you are still unsure, please ask a member of staff. In some projects within the supported housing and older persons’ services department, our tenure agreements do not include all the rights of a normal tenancy agreement – this is because of the provision of support in addition to the accommodation, the usually short-term nature of the accommodation, and the shared elements of many of our supported projects. Assured short-hold tenancies These are used for tenants who are provided with accommodation on the understanding that they agree to receive support to help them sustain their current accommodation and work with staff members to prepare for eventual move on. Customers will also be asked to complete and sign a support agreement. Licence agreements These are mostly used where the accommodation is not selfcontained and facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom are shared between more than one household. The accommodation is often provided for a specific housing need, includes support and is not usually intended to be permanent accommodation. Non Assured Short hold Tenancies There are used where the accommodation is intended to be a long term, or lifetime home, and where the accommodation is a totally self-contained unit – i.e. with living areas, and sole use of bathroom and kitchen spaces. What rights does your tenure agreement include and not include?

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection 

Right to remain in your home – you have the right to remain in your home as long as you keep to the conditions set out in your tenancy or licence agreement. If you break the clauses of the agreement, then we may need to start action to repossess your home. Except in the most serious of cases, we will always try to work with you first to avoid seeking possession and to come to an agreed way to improve the situation. Examples of times when we might decide to apply for repossession include o Non payment of rent o Where you, or your visitors, cause nuisance or harassment o Where your home is being used for illegal or immoral purposes o Where you cause serious damage to your home o Where you are not engaging with the support that is provided as a condition of you living in the supported/sheltered housing project o The supported housing projects are not usually intended to be permanent housing and it may be that if you have been offered, and have turned down, suitable alternative accommodation, that we might decide to apply for repossession of your home

Right to pass on your home (succession) – this is NOT a right given by most of the tenure agreements used in the supported housing department, but is a right, in certain circumstances, in a Non Assured Short Hold tenancy

Right to take in lodgers and sub-let – this is NOT a right given by most of the tenure agreements used in the supported housing department, but is a right, in certain circumstances, in a Non Assured Short Hold tenancy

Right to make improvements – this is NOT a right given by most of the tenure agreements used in the supported housing department, but is a right, in certain circumstances, in a Non Assured Short Hold tenancy

Right to repair – your tenure agreement and this handbook sets out in more details what repairs we are responsible for and the timescales in which the repairs should be completed – the handbook also includes more details about how you can report a repair

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection 

Right to compensation – you may have a right to compensation if we fail to carry out a repair or provide a service in the agreed way or to the agreed standard – there are several conditions linked to claiming compensation and the staff members in the project will be able to provide more information about this

Right to information- we will be open and transparent in all areas of service delivery and we will openly publish information relating to our services and supply additional information on performance, rent levels, and complaints

Right to be consulted – we will consult you on changes or new ways of working which may affect you. For example, we will inform you if we change the ways you can pay your rent or if we plan to undertake improvements to the property. We will take your views into account. There are different methods of consultation that we use and these include: o House meetings (in most supported projects, we hold regular house meetings) o Writing to you or putting an article in the tenant newsletter o Visiting you at home o Surveys o Through Resident Forum meetings o Focus groups or working parties o Workshops

Right to a mutual exchange – this is NOT a right given by most of the tenure agreements used in the supported housing department, but is a right, in certain circumstances, in a Non Assured Short Hold tenancy

Right to complain – we aim to deliver an excellent service. However there may be occasions when you feel that we have not delivered a service based on our procedures and standards. More information on how to make a complaint is included in this handbook. We welcome and encourage our customers to let us know when they feel that we have got it wrong.

Data Protection All information you provide is made safe and secure in accordance with the Data Protection Act. It will be used to update records and will be securely stored on our computer systems and customer files. Where necessary we will share relevant information with our

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection partners, e.g. maintenance contractors, to assist them and you make appointments, attend your property to carry out repairs and deliver services. We may share information in a secure manner to ensure your needs are met and to meet the health and safety obligations that we have as an employer when delivering a housing and support/care service. We will share information where we are legally required to do so, in line with the Data Protection Act, 1998. Examples of this include 

Prevention or detection of crime

Apprehension or prosecution of offenders

Assessment or collection of tax or duty owed to customs and excise

In connection with legal proceedings

In relation to the physical or mental health of an individual where disclosure is likely to prevent serious harm to him, her or others

For research purposes

To comply with the law

We may share information in a safe and secure manner with Agents and Group members who are processing information on our behalf to assist us in delivering a service to you. This could include the outsourcing of rent statements or rent payment cards.

Confidentiality As support providers, we aim to ensure that all of your information remains confidential. However there may be times when we need to disclose information to a third party to ensure that your needs are met and that you and other people are kept safe from harm. There is a clear distinction between secrecy and confidentiality. Secrecy means that information is never shared with anyone else regardless of its nature or the consequences of not sharing. We do not offer secrecy and will not agree to “keep something secret” March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection Confidentiality means that information is treated with respect and is only shared when there is a legal or organisational requirement, or where not sharing that information would result in harm to you or to other people Files are held locally at each project/schemes with varying amounts of information, which may include conversations with residents, third parties, relatives and other involved professionals. It will also include keyworking and support planning paperwork and information regarding the reasons why you reside where you do. Staff members will share information between themselves in order to ensure that your needs are met. We use a principle of “team confidentiality” meaning that anything you tell us will remain confidential within the team (unless there is a legal, organisational or safety reason to share the information) but individual staff members will not keep matters “secret” from their colleagues. We appreciate that you give us this information on the basis of trust and that this trust implies that the information will be kept secure and confidential. Information sharing Information will be passed to others in very specific circumstances, such as:   

To colleagues who need to know information to provide services To managers and social workers that have accountability for ensuring that you receives the services that you need To inspectors, police, researchers and others involved in inquiries about legal matters or quality assurance issues

Principles for sharing information Information should only be shared on the following basis:  

Information should only be shared on a need to know basis Information should only be shared when it is in your best interests

Where possible your permission should be sought before information is shared, and you should know or be made aware of

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SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 5 – Your tenure agreement, confidentiality and data protection   

Who the information is being passed to Why the information is being passed on What information is being passed on

There are some circumstances, which relate to legal requirements or the protection and safety of others where information may be shared without permission. Access to information 

You have the right to know what information is held about you (although we do also have to respect third party confidentiality and cannot, for example, share the content of reports written by a Social Worker or Probation Officer unless they have given their permission for us to do so).

You have the right to see your file at any time – although we may need some time to remove documents in order to respect this third party confidentiality.

You will receive your mail unopened, although in schemes with a communal post box, we may ask you to sign for receipt of it.

On the rare occasions where there are differences between your opinion of and the view of the person making the record, these differences should be acknowledged and your view recorded. This does not mean that the initial recording needs to be changed, unless there was a factual inaccuracy

Breaches of confidentiality Any breach of confidentiality is a serious breach of trust and should this occur, further action may be taken. If you do not feel that your information is being kept in a confidential manner, or if you think that your confidentiality has not been respected, you should raise these concerns with a member of staff or follow the complaints procedure – a member of staff will help you follow the complaints procedure if you prefer.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 6 – Rents, service charges, personal charge, housing benefit and ways to pay


Rents, service charges/personal charge and housing benefit

We will endeavour to provide the support and information that you need to understand your responsibilities about rent payment, and about managing your rent account in the best possible way. What is included in the occupancy charge? The occupancy charge for your accommodation includes all or some of the following elements 

Rent – this is the actual core rent for the rental of your accommodation and is eligible for housing benefit (depending on the personal circumstances of each individual)

Service charge – these are costs, which are eligible for housing benefit (depending on the personal circumstances of each individual) including communal heat and light, communal cleaning, etc.

Personal charges - these are costs, which are ineligible for housing benefit, and which pays for the services delivered to your unit of accommodation

Support/care charge – where the project is not block funded by Supporting People, there will be an assessment of the individual circumstances and this might result in you being responsible for the cost of your support and /or care

Before moving in, we will work with an applicant to assess the affordability of the accommodation and the charges, and will provide you with detailed information on the rent and charges, as well as helping you make a claim for housing benefit (if you are eligible for housing benefit) Your occupancy charge is due on a Monday each week. If you are experiencing difficulties in paying your rent, please speak to a member of staff as soon as possible. We will then be able to provide you with advice and guidance at an early stage.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 6 – Rents, service charges, personal charge, housing benefit and ways to pay While Orbit and the project staff will assist you, you may also want to seek advice from the Benefits Agency, Citizens Advice Bureau, or other debt advice agencies (please ask staff for details of local agencies). We will provide you with a rent statement at least every six months, and at any other time on request – a staff member will explain and discuss the statement with you if you wish this. What we do when there are arrears on an account We monitor rent accounts closely, and as soon as an arrear is on an account, we will write to the customer. We will tell you how much is outstanding, and ask that you clear the arrears or contact us to discuss the matter further. Agreements If you have arrears, we will make an affordable agreement with you to repay the arrears in regular instalments. If you do not keep to the agreement, it could result in us starting legal action to gain possession of your accommodation. Please help us to support you by keeping us informed early if you have any difficulties in paying your rent or keeping to any agreement. We will make every effort to contact you and make agreements where there are arrears on a rent account. What we ask from you You are responsible for the occupancy charge on your accommodation and we ask that you work with us to manage the account, claim all the relevant benefits, etc. It is very important that you will always keep us informed of current situations and changes in circumstances as this may affect your eligibility for benefits and the amounts that you have to pay towards the full occupancy charge. Ways to pay your occupancy charge There are a number of ways in which you can pay your rent – they are summarised below and a leaflet with more information is

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 6 – Rents, service charges, personal charge, housing benefit and ways to pay included at the end of this handbook, but please speak to a member of staff if you have any questions or would like to arrange any of the following ways of paying

 In person – in some projects, you can pay a staff member in your project – they will provide you with a receipt to confirm the payment – please check with a support worker in the project to see if this option is available in the project where you live

Direct debit – you can pay your rent by direct debit – you will need to sign a mandate for your bank to allow payments to be collected in advance from your bank account – payments are collected on a monthly basis and there are two collection dates – the 1st or the 15th of the month. Not all bank accounts allow direct debits to be taken from accounts so you may need to check with your bank beforehand to see if this is possible with your account.

Swipe card – this is a card that holds your name and rent account reference number – by using this card you can pay your occupancy charge at any post office or PayZone outlet and you receive a receipt when you make the payment

On line – you can pay on line at - you will need your 10 digit account reference number and a credit or debit card

By phone – you can pay over the phone to the Customer Service Centre - you will need your 10 digit account reference number and a credit or debit card

By post – please do not send cash through the post. You can pay by cheque (made payable to Orbit Housing Group Limited) – please put your name/address and tenancy reference number on the back of the cheque and send to Finance Orbit group Garden Court Harry Weston Road Coventry CV3 2SU

Standing order – if you have a bank account you can pay by standing order, and will need to contact the Customer Service

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 6 – Rents, service charges, personal charge, housing benefit and ways to pay Centre for the relevant form to complete or speak to a staff member. 

At the bank – we can provide you with a Bank Giro Book which will allow you to pay at a local bank – although please be aware that some banks charge for this service. You will need to contact the Customer Service Centre for the relevant form to complete or speak to a staff member

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct


Repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs

We aim to provide you with a safe and homely living environment. To assist with this, we have a comprehensive repair and maintenance service available. Everybody has a responsibility and an obligation to report any faulty equipment, or a hazard that poses a risk to health and safety. We will: 

Carry out regular maintenance checks at projects

Record this information and make it available to the appropriate regulatory authorities

Provide you with the information you need about how to access the repairs service

Attend to any repairs in accordance with the assessed needs.

Where we are unable to respond to a repair request, we will inform you

In the event of a repair request being declined, e.g. if the request is not part of the occupancy agreement, we will inform you of the reason why

Where a piece of equipment is deemed “unsafe” to use, we will remove it from use, and inform you. This will include any equipment that is considered dangerous.

We will maintain equipment in an appropriate manner

Routine maintenance checks are in place at the projects. When a safety check is due, we will inform you and agree a time and date to carry out the check. Customers are very welcome to get involved in the regular safety checks

Equipment audits are conducted annually, we will inform you and agree a time and date to carry out the audit

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct 

During the annual audit, if any equipment is in need of repair, we will take appropriate action and inform you.

We ask you: 

To report any concerns or repairs needed to a member of staff

To be aware of your responsibilities not to use equipment if it is deemed to be unsafe or dangerous

To consider contributing to a “health and safety” committee at the project

Where staff are on duty at the project, to report any repairs that are required

When staff are not on duty, to contact the Call Centre to report the repair

When staff return to work, we ask you to inform them if you have reported any contact with the Call Centre

To speak to a member of staff at the project for further advice if you are in doubt about any equipment

To help allow access to your accommodation to maintenance personnel or servicing engineers

Rechargeable arrears We will not generally undertake repairs that we are not contractually responsible for. It is our general policy to recharge customers for works that they are responsible for, of which arise from negligence or deliberate misuse. What is a rechargeable repair? 

Works that are a customer’s own responsibility in accordance with their occupancy agreement

Works which arise because of misuse of the property

Works which arise because of neglect or where a repair has not been reported

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct 

Works arising from unauthorised or inappropriate alterations

Works arising from damage caused by a resident, member of their household or visitor

The cost of missed repairs appointments, where an appointment has previously been made

Exceptional circumstances In some exceptional circumstances, such as the vulnerability of a customer, Orbit may undertake repairs that are normally rechargeable or not charge for rechargeable repairs that we have undertaken. What will happen where a rechargeable repair has been carried out? We will write to you giving information including 

Details of the rechargeable repair – the work to be carried out, including the cost of the repair and the date it was carried out if it is already completed

The reason why you are responsible for paying for this repair

A timescale for payment of the amount owed – this will normally be 30 days, but a longer term repayment agreement can be made by speaking to a staff member as soon as possible

An explanation of what will happen next if the cost of the rechargeable repair is not repaid

Enclosing a form for you to sign confirming that you will pay the amount owed

If you have any questions or concerns about rechargeable repairs, or if you get notified that you will be recharged for a repair, please discuss with a member of staff as soon as possible. Contractor Code of Conduct Orbit has drafted the following Code of Conduct in consultation with our customers and contractors. All contractors are expected to adhere to this Code of Conduct when carrying out works. Please

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct speak to a member of staff as soon as possible if you have concerns that this Code if not being implemented by a contractor. All contractors are expected to carry identification and you are advised to always ask to see someone’s identification before allowing them into your home.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct Code of Conduct for Contractors 

Contractors must make an advance appointment, and on no account, enter a resident’s home without being invited

Access to a garden area or outbuilding must be with the resident’s permission, unless they not at home

When entering a resident’s home Contractors must produce identification cards

Contractors must explain to the resident the work they will be undertaking and the estimated length of time it will take

Contractors must not enter the home if only a child is present

Contractors must be presented in a clean and tidy manner and treat residents and all members of the household, visitors or neighbours with respect

Once inside a resident’s home, Contractors should wipe their feet, (or wear shoe protectors) wait for the resident to show them into any individual room, and not sit down without being asked

Contractors must not drink alcohol or smoke whilst in a resident’s home

Radios (or similar) must not be played whilst in a resident’s home, and noise disturbance caused by the work should be kept to a minimum

When in a resident’s home the use of mobile phones must be discreet and kept to a minimum and no personal calls should be made or received

Precautions should be taken to control dust and protect the resident’s home. The Contractor must clear up at the end of each working day leaving the resident’s home clean and tidy. Contractors must ensure that services are functional, that all tools, materials and rubbish are removed from the resident’s home

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 7 – repairs and maintenance, including rechargeable repairs and contractors code of conduct 

Contractors must not use the resident’s toilet or washing facilities without permission

Contractors must avoid becoming over-familiar

If it is necessary to turn off a utility supply the resident must be informed first

Contractors must ensure that the resident’s home is kept secure at all times and if doors or windows need to be kept open they must inform the resident first

Contractors must not use the resident’s, tools, equipment or telephone

Contractors must not use the resident’s electricity or gas without permission

Contractors must follow Health and Safety procedures at all times

Contractors must be courteous at all times and must not make comments or behave in a manner that could be conceived to be offensive

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 8 – Complaints



Orbit aims to provide an excellent service to all its customers. However, we acknowledge that occasionally things go wrong and you may wish to make a complaint. Our aim is to get it right first time, but we recognise that this does not always happen so we then strive to resolve all complaints as soon as possible and to use the information supplied to assist us to improve our service standards. What is a complaint? A complaint is usually dissatisfaction with a service, a failure to carry out an agreed service, to meet agreed timescales or to meet the standards promised. How to make a complaint If you are unhappy with the service you receive from us you can make a complaint in writing by completing the attached form or by speaking to a member of staff based at the project. Alternatively, you can tell us about your complaint in person, over the phone by contacting the Customer Service Centre or contacting a local member of staff, or via our website – or by E-mail. Assistance can be given to anyone who may need help in completing the form either in person, over the telephone or by Email. We can also help you access external support, such as Citizens Advice or an advocate, if you would rather. Whichever method a complaint is received a letter of acknowledgement will be sent to the complainant within 2 calendar days outlining when a full response will be received and naming the member of staff dealing with the complaint If you would like a copy of our Complaints Policy, please ask a member of staff or download from our website. Complaints process Our aim is to resolve all complaints satisfactorily without proceeding to our formal complaints process. However, if you are still not

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 8 – Complaints happy and wish to take the matter further we have a three-stage complaints process. Our aim is to respond to your complaint as quickly and as fully as possible in the following timescales: Stage 1 – where we aim to resolve as many complaints as possible. We will respond within 14 calendar days. Stage 2 – if unresolved at stage 1, the complaint will be considered by a senior manager who will respond within 14 calendar days. Stage 3 – complaints that are not resolved at stage 2 will be considered by a Complaints Panel who will respond within 14 calendar days of the Panel meeting. This is the final stage of Orbit’s complaints process and you are entitled to attend the panel meeting. We will endeavour to resolve your complaint both fairly and effectively at each stage of the process. All complaints will be considered, except: 

Where a complaint is already going through a court or tribunal

Where the complaint is being pursued in an unreasonable manner

The complaint concerns a matter that occurred over twelve months ago

This list is not exhaustive and there may be other exceptions. If your complaint falls within this category and we are unable to investigate it, we will write to you and explain why. What if you are still dissatisfied? If having been through Orbit’s complaints process you are still not satisfied, you are entitled to have the matter reviewed by the Independent Housing Ombudsman. Their address is: Independent Housing Ombudsman 81, Aldwych LONDON WC2B 4HN Telephone: 020 7421 3800

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 8 – Complaints E-mail: Web: The Association has agreed to abide by any decisions reached by the Ombudsman. In addition, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Environmental Health Offices and Housing Aid Centres are other organisations that may be able to give you independent advice. Alternatively, if you live in sheltered or retirement housing, you can seek free advice from the Advice, Information & Mediation Service. Their telephone number is 0845 600 2001. Improving the Service We Offer Once your complaint has been resolved, we will send you a feedback form to see how well you felt we dealt with your complaint.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime


Anti-Social Behaviour and Hate Crime

What is anti-social behaviour? “Behaviour that unreasonably interferes with other people’s rights to the use and enjoyment of their home and community” Anti-social behaviour ranges from serious acts of violence and harassment to issues such as barking dogs or overgrown gardens. Some typical examples of anti-social behaviour are shown below. There may be others that are not listed here. o o o o o o o o o o o o

Actual or threatened violence Hate Crime Domestic Violence Intimidation and harassment (including sexual harassment) Criminal activity Threats or intimidation directed towards Orbit’s staff or agents Rubbish, litter and the fouling of public areas Recurring noise nuisance Vandalism, graffiti and other criminal damage Drug and alcohol related nuisance Vehicle related nuisance Nuisance from pets and other animals

What is Orbit’s approach to tackling anti-social behaviour? We are committed to ensuring that our customers are able to enjoy their home and environment without fear of anti-social behaviour. We take all accounts of nuisance and anti-social behaviour seriously and investigate all reports promptly and impartially. Each case is different and Orbit will work with the person reporting anti-social behaviour to find the most appropriate approach to solve the problem. All action taken will be reasonable and proportionate to the type of nuisance reported. The Respect Standard

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime We have signed up to the Government’s Respect Standard, making a public commitment to deliver good services, which help stop antisocial behaviour and create a culture of respect. Do Orbit only deal with reports of anti-social behaviour from Orbit residents? We will: 

Investigate complaints regarding Orbit tenants, leaseholders, property or land

Investigate reports of anti-social behaviour from owner-occupiers and tenants of other landlords, which affect Orbit residents. We are likely to need to work with other agencies to resolve such cases

How does Orbit deal with reports of anti-social behaviour? We have two defined categories of anti–social behaviour as follows: Category A - Serious Nuisance. In this case we will contact the person reporting the nuisance within 1 working day to discuss the complaint. Examples of serious nuisance are threats of, or actual violence, drug dealing or harassment or intimidation on grounds of race, sexuality, religious belief or disability Category B - Moderate Nuisance. In this case we will contact the person reporting the nuisance within 5 working days to discuss the complaint. Such nuisance as loud and frequent parties, regular noise from homes or vehicles and non-offensive graffiti would fall in this category. When we contact the person reporting anti-social behaviour (the reporter) we will develop an initial action plan to deal with the problem. The Action Plan will usually cover the following things: o o o o o

Arranging for the reporter to keep a diary of events Agreeing which other agencies need to be involved Arrangements for contacting any other witnesses Arrangements for keeping the reporter updated A date the case will be reviewed

We will support anyone experiencing anti-social behaviour and will agree with them how they would like to be kept informed and how often they would like to be contacted.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime After the case has been resolved we will write to the people who have reported the nuisance, or have been subject to it, within 10 working days, to check that the case has been resolved, and that we handled it satisfactorily. Contacting the alleged perpetrator The person reported to be causing the nuisance or anti-social behaviour is known as the “alleged perpetrator”. We will not write to or visit the alleged reporter with out the agreement of the reporter or witness. What remedies are there to deal with nuisance and antisocial behaviour? There is a range of remedies available to deal with nuisance and anti-social behaviour. The ones used will be the most suitable in each case. These range from mediation, acceptable behaviour contracts and injunctions, through to possession proceedings in the most serious cases. What support does Orbit offer witnesses? We will support witnesses throughout the process and beyond, by maintaining regular contact and keeping them as fully informed as possible. Where necessary we will consider providing additional security/safety measures to reporters or witnesses who may be at risk. What can I do if I am affected by anti-social behaviour? It depends on the nature of the incident. If you have experienced a form of neighbour nuisance, such as a loud party or your neighbour’s children causing a nuisance, we would advise you initially to speak to your neighbours tactfully to explain how their actions are causing you a problem. Often people are unaware of how their behaviour affects others! If you feel unable to resolve the situation by talking to the person who is causing you problems, then please contact us in one of the ways shown in How Do I Report an Incident of Anti-Social Behaviour?

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime Please try to give us as much information as possible about the particular nuisance/issues that affect you. If the problem involves a risk of harm to yourself or anyone else then you should contact the police straightaway. When we receive a report of anti-social behaviour or neighbour nuisance we will, as part of our investigation, always try to contact the person reporting this to find out as much information as we can. It is important to work with Orbit so that we have as much information as possible about the anti-social behaviour or neighbour nuisance reported, to ensure that we can deal with it as effectively as possible to resolve the problem. This is likely to involve responding to our call and/or letters, collecting information on the nuisance and being available for any pre-arranged meetings or home visits. Failure to do so may lead to the case being closed due to lack of contact with the person reporting the nuisance. How do I report an incident of anti-social behaviour? You can report incidents of anti-social behaviour in a number of ways – the easiest way is to speak to a member of staff in the project. If there are no staff members on site at the time, you can contact the Orbit Customer Service Centre or the Orbit Response Unit – or speak to a staff member at the project the next time that they are on duty. Will my identity be protected? Any information given or shared with Orbit in confidence will be treated confidentially. This means that we will not divulge the information, without the permission of the person who gave it to us. If we seek legal action we do have a duty to disclose all information at this stage. In such a case we will be able to provide witness support where needed. Will Orbit act if I do not give my name when reporting antisocial behaviour? We will investigate these as far as possible but this may on occasions limit the action we can take. Do I need to report an anti-social behaviour incident to anyone else?

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime Orbit will, where appropriate, work with other agencies such as the Police, Environmental Health and Social Services to resolve issues of anti-social behaviour. However, you may also need to report incidents directly to other agencies due to their specialism in certain areas. The following are some examples: 

If you are experiencing noise nuisance, for example, this should also be reported to the Noise Unit within the Environmental Health Team of your local Council

If the incidents involve violence or a threat of violence you should report the matter to the Police. Vandalism and criminal damage should also be reported to the police

How does Orbit act on reports of harassment or racial harassment? We take harassment on any grounds very seriously. We have a specific policy to deal with incidents of Hate Crime. What is Hate Crime? It can be any violence or harassment, which YOU think is motivated by a person’s prejudice – their opinion about something or somebody, without knowing the full facts. The most common forms of Hate Crime are motivated by someone’s prejudice about a persons or peoples Race National or ethnic origin Sexual orientation Disability

Colour Gender Gender identity Religious belief

An incident of Hate Crime may include o o o o o

Violence or threats of violence Abusive or insulting words or behaviour Damage or threats of damage to property Graffiti Starting a fire or attempting to start a fire

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime Anything, which you find threatening or abusive - report it! We believe that all our customers have a right to live free from the fear of harassment and abuse. We have what is called a “Zero Tolerance” approach to dealing with abusers and harassers. This means that we will take action against anyone who harasses other people in any way, whether or not the people being abused or harassed are tenants, leaseholders, licensees, family or friends, staff or contractors working on behalf of Orbit. We will 

Always take your complaint seriously

Keep what you said private unless you agree that we can talk to others to help us solve the problem.

Act quickly to deal with the situation; e.g. we will remove offensive graffiti and carry out repairs caused during the incident as a matter of urgency

Be honest with you about the possible outcome of the case

Put you in contact with the best people to offer you help

Support you in contacting the Police about the problem, but take no action without your agreement

If we are unable to solve the problem, we will do all we can to help you move into an alternative home

Support you to remain in your home, if you don’t want to move

Take legal action where appropriate against those causing the problems

Give you the opportunity to let us know what we did well, and not so well in handling your case

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime Prevention We aim to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place. To do this we will 

Tell all our customers about our Hate Crime policy

Ensure that our occupancy agreements enable us to take legal action against harassers where possible

Publicise legal action taken to stop others from harassing people in the community

Offer accommodation to you, where we know that you will not be in danger of abuse in that property.

What will happen after you report Hate Crime We will 

Act on reports of Hate Crime, within 24 hours of them being reported.

Arrange to visit you at home (or another place) to talk to you about what has happened and agree with you what action needs to be taken next. You can, if you wish, have a friend or relative with you

Arrange for you to talk to someone from a local support group or Victim Support

Contact witnesses, and arrange to interview any people you identified as being your harassers, but we will only do this with your agreement

Keep you informed of what we are doing at all times

Make sure that the action we have taken has worked, by keeping in touch with you until you tell us that you are happy that the problem has stopped

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime

Monitor reports of hate crime and provide reports to our Boards of Management

Immediate temporary re-housing We understand how frightening it must be to have your home put under any kind of threat. If this should be the case, our first priority will be the safety of you and your family. You may feel unable to remain in your home due to  

Fear for your safety Damage to your home as a result of the harassment

Please speak to a member of staff as soon as possible to report any Hate Crime that you experience. Non urgent re-housing request Some people may wish to move to another home permanently and request a move. Our approach to such requests will be sympathetic, however, we see moving someone out of their home as the last resort. We will consider moving someone only after we have tried all other ways of stopping the harassment. We have a limited number of homes available and often re-housing the victim is not something that will help prevent harassment. If we always move people who are being harassed, this sends out the wrong messages to people who harass others. Action against the perpetrators The action we take will depend on the evidence or proof available. Where there is little evidence, or there are no witnesses, or the information from different people is not the same, we may not be able to take much if any action until we can gather more evidence. We may be limited to talking to the offender, but we will review your case regularly until you tell us you are happy that the problem has stopped. If there is a lot of clear evidence or proof we may work with other partners such as the police (with your permission). Where a young person commits the act we will talk to the parents or guardians and possibly the local youth service. We may ask them

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 9 – Anti Social Behaviour and Hate Crime to enter into an agreement not to harass you again – this is called an acceptable behaviour contract. In the most severe cases we will consult with our legal advisors to consider criminal or civil proceedings – this may result in a fine, an injunction, an anti social behaviour order being awarded against an abuser or harasser. In extreme cases we will seek to evict someone from their home.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 10 – Domestic Abuse


Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse? Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, economic status or geography. If you have experienced domestic abuse, we can help you. How does Orbit deal with domestic abuse? 

Orbit will deal with all cases as a matter of urgency and treat all cases as seriously as anti-social behaviour

A member of staff will contact you within 1 working day to discuss the matter and explain what we can do to help you

Our priority is the safety of the person(s) experiencing domestic abuse. We can help arrange for you to be re-housed away from the source of the violence, if you feel it is unsafe to stay in your home and you want this

If you feel it is safe to stay in your home we can provide additional assistance such as works to improve security to your home

We can provide advice and support, and where appropriate and you wish this, will work with specialist agencies to do this

We will, where possible, arrange for you to be interviewed by a member of staff of the same gender or of a similar ethnic or cultural background, if you would prefer this

We can arrange to meet you away from your home, or in a neutral setting, if you would like this

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 11 – Involving You

11. Involving You We want to encourage, support and enable all our customers to be involved in the running and development of our services, and so provide a number of ways for people to get involved – but please speak to a staff member if you have other ideas. Support and care services Your involvement in providing the support and care services required to meet your individual needs is essential. We aim to provide a support service to each individual, and to consult with other agencies, e.g. GP, Community Psychiatric Nurse, etc. to access the skills and services needed to meet your agreed needs, with you, the individual at the centre of the process. We will 

Adhere to the support /tenancy agreement in place for you

Consult with you when a review of your care/support plan is due

Agree a time and date that is convenient to you

Provide adequate notice to allow you time to inform your advocate, relative or next of kin, if you wish them to be involved.

In the event of you not attending a review, we will provide information to you at an agreed time and date

Provide you with any information you need to fully understand any changes that are proposed to your support/care plan

Strive to meet any changes to your support needs

Where changes to your needs cannot be met in your home, we will consult with other agencies to find an appropriate alternative environment that best meets your needs

We ask that you 

Adhere to the support/tenancy agreement in place for you

Meet regularly with your support/ key worker to discuss and agree your plan of support

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 11 – Involving You 

Assist the staff at the project in providing your care/support needs

Attend reviews at the agreed time and date

Inform staff at the project if you are not able to attend any appointments

Involving you in the project There are a number of ways that you can get involved in the running of and development of the project or the organisation – these include (this is not an exhaustive list) o House meetings o Become a resident representative – there is a role description that explains more about this role o Get involved in regular health and safety checks on a property or in making decisions about replacements or decorations, events, activities, etc. o Where possible, projects will involve customers in the recruitment of staff members o Surveys and questionnaires o Focus groups and working groups o There are places reserved in the governance structure for customers to be involved in the running and governance of Orbit o Customer conferences are arranged regularly o A regular newsletter is produced for customers o There is a programme of mystery shopping and customers who express an interest can be trained to carry out mystery shopping within the organisation To help you get involved – we will 

Support and assist you if you wish to get involved

Listen to you and take your views into account wherever possible

Consult you on all changes that directly affect you

Tell you the outcome of your involvement

Provide training to help you to participate effectively and to develop new skills

Find out what is important to you

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 11 – Involving You

Provide a range of opportunities for you to become involved in a way that suits you for example surveys, focus groups, panels, residents associations

Encourage and assist customers from under represented groups to get involved

Encourage and promote resident Board membership

As a result of you getting involved – we will 

Work with our partners and external agencies to address your concerns and priorities

Provide or identify appropriate resources to improve your community

Improve our services

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 12 – Moving On

12. Moving On Many of the projects in the department are intended, and funded, to be short-term accommodation- that is where the intended length of stay is less than two years. In longer-term services, it may be that alternative accommodation is needed as you are ready to live more independently or you need more support/care than can be provided in your current accommodation. In short-term services, from the start of your occupancy, all the support that you receive will be preparing for move-on. At each review, targets and goals are set to enable you to achieve a problem free move-on, into more independent living. The customer fills in the housing application form appropriate to their local housing authority – staff members can help with the completion of the form. When it has been decided at a review that the customer is ready and would like to move on, a process is followed with the support of a key worker. The process is as follows: 

Your key worker will discuss with you the process in your local area, and will provide information on the process in your local area.

You will be issued with a procedure checklist, which is discussed and explained and a plan will be agreed.

Staff will check that all housing benefit payments are up to date and being paid on a regular basis. If there is a problem, the customer is given support to rectify this. It the issue is with housing benefit, the Supported Housing Officer liaises with the benefits officer to resolve any outstanding housing benefit payments.

Staff will check the personal service charge to ensure that these are up to date. If there are any arrears, the Supported Housing Officer will issue a letter to the customer.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 12 – Moving On 

The customer and key worker will conduct a pre-void check on the property where the customer will be made aware of issues that are their responsibility.

The customer will be supported to fill in and apply for a community care grant, a loan and also approach local charities for funds to help with furnishing their new accommodation.

When a property is offered, staff will accompany the customer to view it (if required).

On accepting the property, the customer will give notice as per the terms of their occupancy agreement and complete a benefit overlap form and send this to the housing benefit department. Staff will assist where required.

The final stages of the process include: 

An inventory of the room/flat that they are leaving and a final void inspection, where any damages are logged and discussed with the customer. The Supported Housing Officer will send out a letter confirming any responsibility and costs.

The customer returns the keys to project staff.

If outreach/ongoing floating support is to be provided by Orbit, the floating support staff will visit a for 4 – 6 week period to ensure that the customer is settled and have achieve some basic requirements, for example: 

They have registered with the local GP/Dentist

They have informed the benefits office of their change of address.

That the grants and charities that have been applied for have been received and if not, to assist in checking that they are being processed.

That the customer is familiar with the area and has some knowledge of local activities available to them.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 12 – Moving On If outreach is not provided by the project, staff will arrange for floating support to be in place when the new tenancy commences and for this to continue for up to 6 months or as long as is required. Move on from housing for older persons 

Should a move to higher care needs be required, to meet the care needs of an individual customer, a full care review will be undertaken. This will include input from other agencies, e.g. GP, CPN etc. Relatives, advocates or next of kin will be included in this process

Move on from Older Persons’ Housing, will only be considered, once efforts have been made to meet your needs have been exhausted at the project, and where it is deemed the project can not appropriately, or safely meet specific care needs.

Every effort will be made to identify a suitable alternative environment, that best meets the changing needs of the individual customer, to aim for a smooth transition of care environment.

Transferring of care plan history and medication will only be made available to other care providers, with the written consent of the customer or their next of kin.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 13 – what is care and support?

13. What is care and support? A comprehensive range of care and support services are provided by the projects. We aim to meet the identified care and support needs of each individual customer. This is achieved through consultation with other agencies, e.g. G.P, CPN, and will be contained in a support/care plan. The provision and engagement with the care and support services is integral to the service and is made part of the occupancy agreement through a support agreement – this makes it a condition of stay that you engage with the support and care services that are provided. Projects who receive Supporting People funding to deliver support will provide housing related support in line with the guidance issued by the funders. This is support that has the primary purpose of developing and sustaining an individual’s capacity to live as independently as possible. In our care services, we are also contracted to provide some degree of care as part of the service – this includes more personal services such as help with washing, dressing, eating, etc. The aim of these projects is to enable people to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible with the care input changing to meet changing needs. In some services, Orbit will employ the staff members that provide these care services; in other places, we will partner with a care provider who will carry out this work. What do we management?







Support – we are funded to provide housing related support – this is support specifically aimed at helping people to establish themselves, or stay in, their own homes. Housing related support can include: (this is not an exhaustive list) 

Working with residents to ensure that they understand the landlord/resident relationship and the rights and responsibilities of both – including understanding the safety and security of a dwelling and nuisance/anti social behaviour

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 13 – what is care and support?       

Advice and assistance in setting up a home – including setting up utilities, furnishings, etc. Supporting the customer in accessing community facilities and services Development of life and social skills, including money management and self care Supporting individuals to overcome discrimination and stigma Support to access training, education and employment opportunities Help and assistance in finding other accommodation Provision of community alarms and assistive technology

Housing related support does not include activities such as (this is not an exhaustive list)           

Establishing, issuing or enforcing the tenancy or licence agreement Setting, collecting and accounting the rent and service charges Organising the inspection, repair or improvement of the property Personal care Giving lifts in the car Doing laundry and ironing for customers Administering medication Shopping/collecting/cleaning/cooking and providing meals for a customer rather than assisting them to do so Specialist counselling targeted at behavioural change Childcare Providing services that should be provided by statutory services

Care – some of schemes are also funded to provide personal care services. Personal care includes assistance with dressing, feeding, washing and toileting, as well as advice, encouragement and emotional and psychological support. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) defines this as attention required in connection with bodily functions. Bodily functions can include dressing, washing, bathing or shaving, toileting, getting in or out of bed, eating, drinking, taking medication, and communicating. Seeing and hearing are also considered to be bodily functions. Housing Management is the activities needed to manage the tenancy/licence agreement and includes activities such as

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 13 – what is care and support?      

Setting, collecting and accounting for the rent and service charges Establishing, issuing and enforcing the licence or tenancy agreement Organising the inspection, repair, improvement or replacement of the property or the contents supplied by the landlord Organising the provision of any accommodation-related services Ensuring that residents are aware of and receive their rights according to housing law, Housing Corporation guidelines, and contractual commitments through the licence/tenancy

In all our projects, we will 

Promote your right to have access to any confidential information we may hold, working within the requirements of the Data Protection Act and our duty to third party confidentiality

Ensure that all personal information confidential and secure at all times

Obtain your permission before sharing information with a third party (except in circumstances where there is a significant risk in not providing the information)

Promote your right to view any of our policies and procedures relevant to the service we provide, ask staff at the project for details

Promote your right not to be harassed or discriminated against at any time

Promote your right to have an independent advocate or advisor in your dealings with us, and we can help you identify someone to take on that role

Promote your right to be fully consulted about the services we provide and about any changes we propose

Involve external agencies, with your agreement, to input specialist advice, support or information to ensure that your support and care needs are met as effectively and as fully as possible

Promote your right to complain about the services we provide and about any changes we make, please see any staff member

March 2010





SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 13 – what is care and support? to access the complaints policy and procedure or see section 8 of this handbook where there is more information about complaints. We will also inform you of the details of the local Supporting People team or Care Quality Commission office as you have the right to contact them if you feel that your complaint has not been dealt with effectively or appropriately. In addition, we will 

Provide you with a named key worker/care worker

Tell you how to contact your key worker/care worker and explain their role

Explain the use of the Orbit Response Unit if this is available outside of the working hours of the staff members at your project

Meet with you regularly to review progress in achieving the goals and targets agreed in your support plan, and to review the support plan to ensure that the goals and targets are still relevant and achievable

Actively encourage and support you to be involved in all stages of the care and support process

Involve family, friends, external agencies, etc. as appropriate and as requested and agreed by you in the support and care delivery

Provide you with a copy of your support plan

Your Responsibilities You must meet with your key/care worker regularly to: 

Agree your support needs

Identify the goals to be achieved (with the provision of that support)

Agree a plan based on what you need to do to meet these goals

Agree regular meetings to review and revise your support plan

How are the services funded?

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 13 – what is care and support? Different projects are funded from different sources, and within each project different services that are provided by the project and the staff team are funded from different sources of funding. Some of the most common sources of funding for our services include 

Supporting People grant – this is money that is paid from local government to fund strategically relevant services of an agreed quality standard to provide housing related support to people who need support in order to live as independently as possible, or to develop the skills, networks and confidence to live independently

Social Services – fund services that are provided for vulnerable people who are entitled to services – this can include older people, young people, or people with severe mental ill health.

Primary Care Trusts – health funding that funds the provision of health and care services – this can include help with personal services such as bathing, providing meals, cleaning, laundering, etc.

Drug and Alcohol Action Teams – this funding is for services that are specifically for people who have substance misuse issues

Charitable funding – some services have income from charitable funds

Rents and service charge income – this funds elements of the service that are related to housing management – including rent management, repairs and maintenance, utility costs, etc.

Most types of funding also require us to report back to the people who pay the money on how we are spending it, and what we are achieving or providing by having the funding. Many of the funders also set levels of quality, which we have to be able to reach, and prove that we have reached those levels of quality – some funders will carry out reviews or monitoring visits to ensure that the standards that they require are met – we will encourage customers to be involved in monitoring visits and reviews.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 14 – Equality and Diversity

14. Equality And Diversity What is Equality and Diversity? It is about being fair to everyone in everything we do, and at the same time recognising and celebrating our differences. We believe 

In a society free from discrimination, harassment and prejudice

That valuing differences between individuals helps make our organisation a better one, by helping us develop and improve our services and explore new ideas

That everyone should be made aware of and able to use all the services that we provide

We recognise that Some people are disadvantaged and do not always have the same opportunities as others. People have been, and continue to be, discriminated against because of their ethnicity, race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, and/or religion. Our aim is to continue raising awareness within our communities and amongst our staff – this is key to our continuing success Our commitment 

To ensure that all services provided by Orbit are open to all individuals and communities, and are free from unlawful and unfair discrimination

To promote equality of opportunity and fairness and to take positive steps to tackle unfair and unlawful discrimination

To encourage everyone to celebrate their distinctive and varied identities

To consult and encourage all of our customers and communities to be involved in what we do; to ensure that the services we provide are open and reflect people’s needs

How will we do this?

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 14 – Equality and Diversity 

Ensuring that the services we provide meet the needs of all our different customers

Assessing and understanding the needs of our customers and seeking to provide services that meet those needs

Ensuring that our services are free from discrimination

Promoting equality and fairness and highlighting the diversity of our customers through work with our partners

Ensuring that our governing bodies and our workforce reflect different communities and backgrounds

Consulting with organisations who are specialist in and or represent the different groups of customers within our communities

Training our staff and Board members to make them aware of the different backgrounds and experiences of our customers and the different services that we can and do provide – this makes us all more responsive to individual needs and services

Using translation and interpretation services to meet communication needs, including audio, large print and Braille

Considering aids and adaptations to a home where highlighted as a need

Recognising our duties and responsibilities under legislation and related codes of practice

Our commitment to you 

You have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, by everyone including staff and other customers

You have the right to voice concerns or raise complaints if you feel that you are not treated with fairness, dignity and respect – this could be by staff members, other customers, visitors, etc.

You have the right to expect that we will take action (ranging from support/training to warning letters to possession) to address situations where people are not treated with fairness, dignity and respect

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 14 – Equality and Diversity 

You have the right to have your faith, race, age, abilities, gender, sexuality, etc. respected and acknowledged, insofar as you want – this might also include support to enable you to build contacts and networks, identify local places of worship, providing information, etc.

You have the right to have your communication needs met by the organisation – this might include having information translated, using signers, providing information in Braille, etc.

We will involve you and consult with you as appropriate – this includes on equality and diversity and related matters – we listen to feedback from our customers and use this feedback when developing our services and procedures

We will seek to have a workforce that reflects the wider society in which we work

We will implement the law and associated codes of practice in relation to equality and diversity

We will challenge discrimination, stereotyping and unfairness

We will collect equalities data about our customers to ensure that our services are accessible to a wide range of people, and to monitor that customers who make complaints, get involved, etc. are reflective of our overall customer group

We will promote, respect and value diversity

What you are responsible for or what we ask from you 

We ask that you take time to understand equality and diversity and make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities in relation to equality and diversity – please ask questions if you are not sure

You are responsible for the behaviour of yourself and your visitors – this includes ensuring that you and any visitors that you have treat other customers, staff, and people in the local community with fairness, dignity and respect

We ask that you are open to learning about other faiths, cultures, backgrounds, etc. and also that you help us learn about

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 14 – Equality and Diversity other backgrounds and experiences so that we can improve our services

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 15 – Safeguarding Adults – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse

15. Safeguarding Adults Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse No one should have to experience abuse from anyone, and the staff teams in projects will provide customers with information so that they are better equipped to recognise abuse, whether happening to them or someone else, and know what to do about abuse if they witness, experience or suspect abuse. What is abuse? Abuse is “a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust and which causes harm or distress to another person” It can result from “action or inaction by a carer or any other person”. Abuse includes: physical abuse; neglect; sexual abuse; financial or material abuse; emotional or psychological abuse and discriminatory abuse. It can happen in any setting. There are different types of abuse, but they can happen at the same time. Financial abuse – this can include the illegal use of a person’s property, money, benefit or pension book or other valuables Psychological abuse - this can include shouting, swearing, frightening, blaming, ignoring, harassment or humiliating a person Physical abuse – this can include hitting, slapping, burning, pushing, restraining, or giving the wrong medication Sexual abuse - this can include forcing someone to take part in any sexual activity when they have not given, or are not able to give, consent Neglect – this can include depriving a person of food, clothing, comfort, or medication Discriminatory – this can include people not respecting the traditional, faith or cultural beliefs of an individual

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 15 – Safeguarding Adults – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse Anyone in a position of control or authority can abuse, whether it’s a family situation or a more institutional setting – it could be a partner, relative, friend, carer, neighbour, minor, voluntary agency, or other worker. Abuse can be unintentional or unplanned, but nonetheless is still abuse. What to do if you think someone’s being abused Everyone in contact with vulnerable people, including children, has a duty to identify abuse and report it. Orbit must respond to any suspicions we have or allegations that we hear. We strive to respect the wishes of the person who is possibly being abused, but in some cases we have no option but to report concerns without your agreement. If you think that you are being abused or suspect that someone you know is being abused, please report it immediately. This can be to a member of staff at the project, a social worker, the police, etc. If the abuse is reported to a project staff member, we will support you in reporting the abuse to the relevant authorities. What we will do if staff members suspect abuse All staff members attend a training course of protection of vulnerable adults when they join the organisation, and there is a policy and guidelines that is available for all staff to consult. We will, if appropriate, talk to you and try and encourage and support you to feel safe to disclose information. We may also contact Social Services for support and advice in managing the situation. The interests and wishes of the vulnerable adult should be central to the use of the process and should involve the vulnerable adult throughout its use. A vulnerable adult should be given information about the options available to them that could protect them from abuse. However an individual's wishes cannot undermine our responsibility to act.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 15 – Safeguarding Adults – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse If you want any more information about abuse and how we work to protect customers from abuse, please speak to a member of staff. The following table gives more, although not all possible, examples of what can be called abuse VERBAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following       

Saying that that they will hurt you if you don’t do what they say Shouting or swearing at you Giving rude gestures Pulling faces at you Calling you names Whispering nasty things Starting rumours

PHYSICAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following       

Being restrained in a chair or locked in a room Punching or Kicking you Throwing things at you Grabbing, Pushing, Poking or slapping you Hitting you with an object Pulling hair or biting you Tripping you up

SEXUAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following     

Someone touching you where you don’t want to be touched People getting too close to you Someone making you feel uneasy or upset Someone hurting you and making you feel scared People not listening when you say no

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 15 – Safeguarding Adults – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse NEGLECT: Can be any of the following        

Not having the help you need to have a bath/shower if your unable to do so by yourself Not getting enough food or drink Stopping you accessing needed care and/or medical services Not being given the medication that is prescribed to you Being given medication to make you sleepy when it has not been prescribed or given medication at the wrong time or quantity Not getting help to stay warm and dry Only having old or dirty clothes to wear People not caring for your properly

FINANCIAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following       

Someone making you take your money out of the cash machine for them Taking money from you Borrowing money and never giving it back Stealing your belongings Someone getting you to sign something and you don’t know what it is Someone taking your pensions or other benefits Someone asking you for money for visiting you

DISCRIMINATORY ABUSE: is when someone picks on you or treats you unfairly because something about you is different:       

Your clothes Your weight Your race or skin colour Your religion or culture Being a man or woman Being a gay man or lesbian woman Your age

ELDER ABUSE: Can be any of the following     

Physical abuse Psychological abuse Financial abuse Sexual abuse Neglect

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 15 – Safeguarding Adults – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse PROFESSIONAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following    

Takes advantage of their client or patients trust Exploits their vulnerability Does not act in their best interests Fails to keep professional boundaries

INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following  Neglect  Physical abuse  Sexual abuse  Verbal abuse  Discriminatory abuse  Psychological and emotional abuse  Financial abuse PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Can be any of the following            

Hurtful criticism Name calling Sulking Pressure tactics Lying to you or about you Stopping you seeing people you want to see Never listening or responding when you talk Monitoring you phone calls or letters Checking up on you, following you, not letting you go out alone Frightening you into doing things you don’t want to do Making you unnecessarily distrustful of people Upsetting you on a regular basis about things that don’t matter to the extent that they make you feel unwell

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 16 – health and safety

16. Health and Safety We all have a responsibility to be aware of our own Health and Safety, as well as that of other people in the project and the local community, and to cooperate with directions and practices that aim to ensure that safety. This Orbit Group policy relates to the Health and Safety of employees and others affected by Orbit’s undertaking. Orbit is committed to working towards reducing risks to a minimum in employment and service delivery. The policy is reviewed regularly to ensure that relevant legislation and best practice is included. Orbit recognises that it has a duty protect the health and safety of employees and other persons affected by its activities and will comply with relevant statutory requirements as a minimum to achieve this aim. Customers in accommodation based projects sign an occupancy agreement that include a responsibility on customers to comply with health and safety directions and instructions given to them by staff members – this is to minimize the risks to the project and to people living and working within the project. Please make sure that you understand the health and safety arrangements and instructions given to you – they are important and can save lives – if you have any concerns or questions, please ask! To seek to ensure the health and safety of people living and working in the project, we will:

Complete risk assessments as required and involve customers in those risk assessments

Carry out regular health and safety checks on the projects, inviting customers to be involved, and taking action as required to address health and safety issues – this includes holding regular fire drills and providing the necessary equipment to meet health and safety requirements

Complete an induction with all new customers which provides clear advice and information about health and safety

Make available information on health and safety – this may also involve arranging training or awareness sessions for customers

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 16 – health and safety 

Report incidents and accidents in line with Orbit policy, and ensure that these are reviewed so lessons are learnt

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 17 – drugs policy statement

17. Drugs Policy Statement This organisation works with people who use drugs and those who do not. In order to do so effectively, the Orbit Supported Housing and Older Persons’ Services department operates a drugs policy. The drugs policy will be explained to all new customers – posters and information about the policy are also available. If the policy was not explained to you, or if you have any questions about it and how it affects you, please speak to a member of staff as soon as possible. You are always welcome to look at the full policy, to discuss it with staff and to ask any questions that you have about the policy. It is important to highlight the following points from the policy: 

We do not condone the possession or use of illegal drugs (including illegally held prescribed drugs) on the premises.

Where we know or suspect that such possession or use is taking place, we will always take action – this may include involving the police. This may result in you being asked to leave services, especially where we are concerned that such possession or use puts other service users at risk.

We will not tolerate the supply of controlled drugs on the premises. If we know or suspect that you are involved in the supply of controlled drugs, then we will take action to prevent this happening. This may involve you being barred from some or all of the services/premises and may mean we have to involve the police.

We do not want you to be barred or excluded, so please make sure that you understand the drug policy, and follow the rules of the safety of yourself and for the safety of others.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 18 – empowerment



We are committed to empowering people, including customers and staff What do we mean when we talk about empowerment? 

Building confidence, increasing skills/knowledge, and recognising achievements

Giving people and groups the information to take proper decisions

Offering real choice and a range of options

Supporting people to make decisions about their lives and communities

Supporting people to gain control over their lives

Listening to people and changing things because of what they tell us

Ways we will empower our customers 

Using a support planning process with the customer at the centre; it is informed by their goals, aims, needs and opinions

Recognising the value of taking positive risks and the learning and confidence that can come from that

Recognising individuals

Providing information and support so people can make informed decisions and understand their rights and responsibilities – also providing this information in ways that our customers need – such as in other languages or large print

Working in partnership with other organisations and making sure our customers have access to independent advice and advocacy

Being open– giving feedback, explanations, and information to customers

March 2010







SHOPS Customer handbook Part 18 – empowerment 

Supporting customers to challenge external rules and systems which exclude and marginalise people

Not imposing our beliefs, opinions, ideas, decisions and being professional

Seeing complaints as the opportunity to learn, develop and get it better the next time

Employing people with the appropriate competencies, skills and experience

Empowering our staff members as disempowered staff members will not be able to effectively empower others

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries

19. Professional Boundaries We want to provide a professional, as well as supportive and caring service to customers. One of the ways we do this is by having a set of what we call professional boundaries – they are there to safeguard both staff members and customers. All members of staff are made aware of the professional boundary standards that we use in this department and are expected to work to them. Below is our professional boundaries statement – it can help you identify when a staff member is not acting in a professional way or help explain why they may sometimes have to say no. “Professional boundaries define effective and appropriate interaction between professionals and the public they serve. Boundaries exist to protect both the professional and the customer”. This policy applies to the interaction of staff members with customers, relatives, visiting professionals and one another and exists to safeguard the interests of those groups. The relationship between customers and staff members is not an equal relationship and effective boundaries and guidance also help guard against any abuse of that power and of individuals. All staff members have a responsibility to apply and maintain professional boundaries with customers; this is explained throughout induction, and backed up by training and supervision. Managers are responsible for monitoring practice on professional boundaries and challenging staff where standards are not being upheld, including taking disciplinary action if appropriate. Where professional boundaries have been overstepped, they should be addressed as soon as possible. It is difficult to give a definitive list as there are many “grey” areas in the care and support field which may cause uncertainty or confusion, but all staff are reminded that they when are in the least bit of doubt, that they should speak to a more senior colleague as soon as possible to seek clarity and guidance. Professional boundaries are important:

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries 

To clarify the nature of the relationship between staff and customers

To ensure that customers understand what service and conduct they can expect to receive

To ensure staff are aware of the parameters of the role and the service they are able to provide

To ensure delivery of consistent services and standards

To provide as far as possible maximum personal safety and privacy for both customers and staff

To avoid fostering favouritism or a perception that one customer has a privileged position

To make clear to customers that they need not feel indebted to staff

To protect the reputation of department, organisation, etc.





Expectations Relationships and contact within work 

Staff members should be approachable, open to fair challenge and criticism; they should not been seen as intimidating or inaccessible

Staff members should be careful not to influence customers with their own beliefs or personal values (e.g. whilst staff should inform customers of local places of worship so that they can make a choice whether or not to attend, they should not take them to their own places of worship or a customer may ask about how to register on the electoral roll or vote; the staff member should inform the customer of the process or where they can learn more about the process and not seek to influence their vote or political beliefs). Staff should not directly or indirectly enforce their own political, religious, cultural, or moral beliefs/standards on customers

Staff members should be aware of their own potential to influence vulnerable customers and not promote their own religious or political beliefs upon customers

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries 

Staff members should respect the customer’s right to privacy and not discuss one customer’s details to another customer. Staff members should be very aware of entering into in appropriate gossip or hearsay with a customer, but equally should not hide behind confidentiality or secrecy

Staff should understand the difference between befriending (a professional relationship made to meet the needs of a customer) and becoming a friend (a non professional relationship which meets the needs of both people)

Staff members are in the role of supporting, encouraging and motivating customers, and should be aware of giving advice or of stepping too far into the role of an Advocate – there are specialist advice and advocacy organisations who should be involved in the case of specialist advice or advocacy being needed

On no account, should staff enter into a sexual, personal or intimate relationship with a customer

Staff should not use foul and abusive language in any circumstance. Language should not be loud, aggressive, or judgemental. Staff should also remain aware of their body language and the messages this can send to customers

When staff members offer advice to customers, they should provide customers with sufficient information to make informed choices. Staff should also be aware of where they do not have the knowledge / experience to give advice and refer the customer to the appropriate agency

Staff should be aware of the need to empower customers and therefore not “do everything for them” but encourage and enable them to achieve outcomes themselves (please refer to the empowerment statement)

Staff should be realistic and honest about the services they provide to customers and not give them false hope or make false promises

Where staff member know customers prior to them accessing the service, this must be made known to their manager

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries 

Staff should treat customers with dignity, respect and in a nonjudgmental manner. This includes names – staff members should not automatically assume the use of first names or nicknames, but should check with customers as to what they would prefer to be called

Staff should never apply favouritism to any customers

Support work with a customer cannot be undertaken on a voluntary basis outside of normal working hours without agreement from a manager and usually only as one off events, and no work should be undertaken with a customer during absences from work i.e. annual leave or sickness

Contact outside of the workplace 

Staff should never give out their personal contact details, or those of colleagues, to customers

Staff should not allow customers to visit their homes

Staff must not encourage customers to develop relationships with the staff member’s relatives or friends

Staff members who encounter customers in a social situation outside of work should be pleasant and polite if approached by the customer but should not encourage any prolonged social contact. Staff should not approach customers in any social situation other than to say hello

Physical contact 

Physical touching between staff and customers is to be discouraged and avoided. In the services were we are not funded to provide care (services that are not registered with CQC) this includes actions that may be regarded as personal care such as hair-dressing, helping with self-care, etc.

Customers may misinterpret physical contact as affection outside of the professional relationship. Physical contact may be interpreted as an expression of favouritism e.g. where a staff member hugs one customer and not another, or may leave the staff member and/ or customer open to allegations of inappropriate behaviour

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries 

In specific distressed situations when dealing with emotional support, when customer opens up to discuss sensitive matters, sometimes hug or a pat on the forearm of the distressed customer may be appropriate. There will also be a medical need for physical contact in the services that provide care services

Financial 

Staff should not enter into any financial transactions with customers, including buying, selling, exchanging or bartering goods and services. This also includes customers entering into financial transactions with the relatives or friends of staff

Where staff handle finances of a customer e.g. in circumstances where the customer has language support needs or where their support needs are too great for them to deal with their finances themselves, they should only do so in clearly defined work instructions e.g. customers should sign a declaration of consent. Clear records should be kept of all such handling of finances and wherever possible an alternative solution should be sought as quickly as possible – staff are not empowered to make decisions on what money should be spent on

Staff should never knowingly become Power of Attorney, trustees, executors or beneficiaries of customers’ wills – they should also not be involved in witnessing wills, or other legal papers and documents

Staff members should never dictate to customers where to spend or invest money

Staff should not lend their personal money or possessions to customers – nor should they lend money from the project or petty cash

Staff should not borrow money or possessions from customers

Staff should not accept any offers of labour from customers for their own benefit (e.g. car washed)

Staff should not accept gifts from customers or relatives under normal circumstances

However, where customers would be upset or insulted if a gift was refused by a member of staff, or if cultural norms were being broken, the receiving of that gift should be recorded using

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 19 – Professional Boundaries the Schedule 1 paperwork and processes which are available on the intranet 

Wherever possible any gifts should be shared with the team (i.e. chocolates) or retained within the project (for example a picture)

Customers should be told when they enter into the service that it is generally against the rules and good practice guidelines of the organisation for staff to receive gifts from customers or relatives

Use of cars 

Staff should not normally give customers lifts in their cars; it is more acceptable to use vehicles such as company vans/cars, although staff should always bear in mind the aim to promote independence and self sufficiency and so should firstly look for alternatives other than a “lift” being given. Whenever possible, the approval of the line manager should be sought

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Supported Housing and Older Persons Services Service Standards These are the Service Standards that the Supported Housing and Older Persons Services (SHOPS) department will seek to reach when delivering our services. We consulted on the suggested service standards with customers to check that we had Covered the areas important to customers in an understandable way See how people wanted to be involved in telling us how well we have done in meeting the service standards  See how often people wanted to do this  See how people wanted us to then report back  

As a result of this feedback and consultation, we will Ask customers for feedback every 6 months to see how we are doing in meeting the standards  Ask for this feedback in a range of ways – but most customers said that they would want to do this in groups, either at scheme/service level or across different schemes  Report back through house meetings, but also back this up with posters and letters 

Meanings Different services are called different names – for example – project, scheme, service or home. We have used service throughout this document, but that includes homes, schemes, and projects. Support worker – this has been used but also includes scheme managers, care workers, nursing staff members, housing officers, managers, key workers, etc. – this term refers to all the staff members in the department.

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Applying for our services We will….  Publicise clear information about the service, including o Who it is for o What the service does o Costs and charges o How to apply; we will support you in making an application if needed  Offer you an interview and an opportunity to view the service (where possible) – you are welcome to bring someone with you to the interview  If for any reason, we cannot offer you a place in the service, we will o Explain the reasons why, o Give you the opportunity to appeal against our decision, and o Where possible, suggest alternative services that you could approach March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Meeting your needs We will…  Provide an interpretation and translation service to meet your communication needs

 Provide staff cover in our services as advertised

Not open your post (unless this is clearly set out in your agreed care plan), inform you of your rights to privacy and confidentiality and always respect those rights

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Moving in We will…  Clearly explain your tenancy or licence agreement to you as well as all the charges (rent, service charge, care/ support charges) and ways to pay those charges  Give you advice and assistance in applying for Housing Benefit and any other welfare benefits– in some services this might include supporting you with a Fairer Charging Assessment  Provide you with accurate and timely information about your rent and other charges accounts 

Ensure that every effort is made to prevent you from falling into arrears, and contact you promptly if you do fall into arrears

 Provide you with a customer handbook and other information about the service, local facilities, etc. 

Complete an induction process with you

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Your support and care needs We will…  Either directly deliver the care and/or support or work in collaboration with managing agents to enable the delivery of this support and/or care service  Tell you the name of your support worker on the day you move in – they will arrange to meet you regularly to work through your agreed support plan  Complete a needs and risk assessment and a support/care plan with you within 4 weeks of you joining the service  Work in partnership with you to carry out a regular review of your support/care plan  Where the service is intended to be short term housing, work with you to find move on accommodation and support you to make the move 

Ensure that support is available through the nights and at weekends by

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards o o o o

March 2010

running an out of hours on call rota (for telephone advice) or by providing 24 hour cover, or by transferring calls to emergency Link Line services outside of office hours, or by ensuring that you have information about other out of hours sources of support and advice

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Putting Things Right We will… 

Have a complaints procedure, provide clear information on how to make a complaint, and, if you want it, offer you support in making a complaint

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Estate services and maintenance We will…  Carry out regular health and safety checks, and invite customers to be involved in the checks  Promote recycling and “green” initiatives and provide recycling facilities in as many services as possible  Keep communal areas and gardens clean and to a satisfactory standard of furnishings and decoration

We will carry out repairs and planned maintenance as set out in your tenure agreement and handbook

March 2010

SHOPS Customer handbook Part 20 – service standards

Involving You We will… 

Find out what is important to you and how you would like to get involved; we will offer a range of ways for you to get involved in decisions and consultations

March 2010

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 21 – Other Useful contact numbers

21. Other useful contact numbers The staff based in the project will also be able to provide more local sources of additional information and support Action on Elder Abuse

0808 808 8141

National Debt Advice line

0808 808 4000

Community Legal Service for free legal and debt information and advice 0845 345 4345 Child/Working Tax Credit Helpline

0845 300 3900

Benefit enquiry Line – for people with disabilities Citizens Advice bureaux

0200 882 200

Customer Credit Counselling

0800 138 1111

Women’s Aid

0808 20000 247

Victim Support

0207 735 9166

NSPCC Child protection helpline

0800 11 11

Mankind (advice and support for men who experience domestic abuse) 01823 334 244 Age Concern England

0800 00 99 66

Crime stoppers

0800 555 111

NHS Direct

0845 46 47

THT Direct – advice and information re HIV/AIDS 0845 12 21 200 0207 242 1010 Broken Rainbow – advice and support for people from LGBT communities who experience domestic abuse 0845 2 60 44 60 Royal National Institute for the Blind

March 2010

0845 766 99 99

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 21 – Other Useful contact numbers 0808 808 0123 Royal National Institute for the Deaf Text phone 0808 808 90000 National Rail Enquiries

0845 7 48 49 50 Text phone 0845 60 50 600


08457 90 90 90


0845 766 0163


08457 67 8000

Release Legal Helpline

0845 4500 215

Drinkline – national alcohol helpline

0800 917 8282

Alcoholics Anonymous

0845 769 75 55

Narcotics Anonymous

0207 77 309

National Drugs Helpline

0800 77 66 00

Parentline Plus

0808 800 22 22

Drug Helpline for family and friends of drug users 0808 800 2000 Learn Direct

0800 100 900

Shelter advice line

0808 800 44 44

Brook Advisory service- confidential sex advice for people aged under 25 0800 0815 023 Cruse Bereavement Service

0870 167 1677

Legionline – for people who were in the armed forces and who need help 0845 772 5725 National Family Mediation

0117 904 2825

National Missing Persons Helpline

0500 700 700

Talk to Frank – information and advice on drugs

March 2010

0800 776 600

SHOPS Customer Handbook Part 21 – Other Useful contact numbers

Refugee Council Advice Line

March 2010

0207 346 6777

Customer Handbook  

Orbit Independent Living's customer handbook.

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