Page 1

Stockport at home

Do you live in the West District? page 3

formerly ‘NEWS and views’

Are you free on Saturday 14 April? pages 8 + 9

New number to report ASB page 19

Issue 8: Spring 2007


Mark Hudson Director Technical Services, Stockport Homes After a successful first year we are looking forward to exciting times ahead. We are spending around £30 million this year to make your homes and surrounding areas a better place to live. Investment works have already started to improve kitchens, bathrooms, electrical systems and even over cladding to multi storey blocks of flats. Stockport Homes is a key partner in GM Procure, which is the largest social housing consortium in the country. Substantial savings are made due to bulk purchasing. These savings can be redirected to you, the customer, in the shape of new investment projects for example providing new showers to all bathrooms which are replaced which were not allowed for within the funding provided by the Government. Providing quality homes and services continues to be our aim. To ensure this happens, it’s important that you let us have your views, once the works are finished by completing and returning the satisfaction forms. Customer satisfaction for repairs remains high and is on target at 94%. We are working with customers to identify how we can improve and have recently introduced a Quality Panel of customers to help us inspect our works to ensure that we know exactly what you think of the work that is being carried out. Details can be found on page 11, so why not help us monitor works to your properties by getting involved? Regards, Mark Hudson, Director of Technical Services

Contents Page 3

Me - a Company Director? Stockport Homes Customer Conference

Member of Stockport Homes Board

Welcome to the Spring edition of Stockport at Home. Normally a few words are provided by the Chair, Roger Phillips but this time we thought you might like to hear from other Board members. I am Chair of the Performance Sub group. I am also the Chief Executive of High Peak Community Housing. As Chair of the sub group, I receive a range of performance information across Stockport Homes’ services. We look at how complaints are monitored and their outcomes, consider plans designed to improve services , and make sure they are delivered. Please see page 27 which highlights the positive results of a recent customer satisfaction survey; 83% said they were satisfied with the service we provide.

Fond Farewell

15

What is Respect?

16

Anti-Social Behaviour news

19

Thank you to all customers who completed this survey. It has provided a range of information which will be used to improve performance.

Estate Walkabout Actions

22

Best wishes.

You said, we did

26

Repairs & Investment news

29

Sharon McCambridgeAckers, Member of Stockport Homes' Board

Dates for your diary

2

8

Sharon McCambridge-Ackers

(please see enclosed booklet)

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Me - a Company Director? If you live in the West District you could stand for election in Spring 2007 to become a Stockport Homes’ Board Member. What does it mean to be a Board Member? The role of a Board Member is no doubt a challenging one. Board Members are Company Directors and in charge of the strategic direction of Stockport Homes. In other words, the Board make sure that Stockport Homes delivers its Mission “to deliver a customer driven service, providing quality homes where people want to live”. So, if you have the interest of our customers at heart and have a few hours to spare every month on important business, we would like to hear from you! In return you get to decide on the future direction of the company and on issues affecting the neighbourhoods. You would also gain valuable experience serving the community you live in. Training and support will be provided. Being a Board Member is a great opportunity for improving your skills or even boosting your CV! Board Members do not currently receive a salary, but all expenses are covered so you would not be out of pocket. For an application pack and further information about the election or the Board in general, contact Jenni Viitanen (Governance Manager), tel. 474 2850, email jenni.viitanen@stockporthomes.org, or visit www.stockporthomes.org.

Gwen is 100 years young Congratulations to Gwen (Gladys) Millward who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Gwen was the first tenant in her flat in Mottram Towers and moved in on 18 July 1966. One of her early memories is going up Snowden with her parents at the age of 4. It would seem this was the start of her walking hobby, as she is still a member of the Field Club and only stopped walking with them when she was 89. Gwen attributes her good health to her walking, and her good skin tone to the fact that she has never used make up. Helen McHale (Chief Executive of Stockport Homes) visited Gwen to present her with a card and some flowers (pictured left). Gwen celebrated with her friends and other residents of Mottram Towers. Other celebrations were arranged including a party at the Field Club and a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockport.

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Housing Options news

New Homelessness Strategy being produced The Housing Options Team is currently leading on a second Homelessness Strategy for the Borough. Since the first Strategy in 2003, the Housing Options Team has seen dramatic changes take place, which many people will have benefited from, such as: ● A mediation service helping to return young people home to their parents or other relatives ● A rent deposit scheme helping people access privately rented properties ● A worker helping prevent homelessness by negotiation with private landlords ● The introduction of more Resettlement & Tenancy Support Officers. The aim is to help prevent homelessness or work towards a planned move, but for the smaller number who need temporary accommodation we have seen much more joint working with partner agencies, providing support such as: ● debt advice ● health screening and accessing health services ● literacy and reading groups ● developing and improving life skills ● positive parenting classes ● arts club for children and young people ● access to drug support services A range of consultation has taken place with customers, Board Members, Councillors, local MPs and other service providers in order to gain their views about how the service can be

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improved and the overall feedback has been positive, but we’re keen to seek new ways to improve. If you would like to see something developed or just to have your say, please contact: Joanne Claridge Homelessness Strategy Development Officer Tel. 0161 474 3716 Email: joanne.claridge@stockporthomes.org

www.stockporthomes.org


Preventing Homelessness The Stockport Homes Housing Options Team, based at the Housing Information Centre, has been working hard to tackle homelessness in Stockport. This has resulted in a fall in the number of families and vulnerable people losing their homes from an average of over 60 per month at the start of 2005, to less than 20 per month at the end of 2006. Simon Welch, Homeless Services Manager said ‘This welcome fall is the result of concentrating on the main causes of homelessness in the Borough and putting a range of measures in place to tackle them.’ Some of the steps taken by the Housing Options Team include: ● Ensuring all young people asked to leave by their parents or other relatives have intensive mediation and support to help them return home, including home visits and joint assessments with a Social Worker and Housing Advice Officer.

● Negotiating with landlords where tenants are having difficulties and helping with referrals to debt agencies where rent or mortgage arrears exist. ● Home-visits to assess the situation of most potentially homeless people. ● Forging links with mental health, drug, alcohol and other support agencies to help tackle issues that can often lead to homelessness. ● People who need advice on their housing options or help in avoiding homelessness can either call the Housing Information Centre on 0161 474 4237 or drop in to make an appointment to see a Housing Advice Officer. A range of information is also on the Stockport Homes website: www.stockporthomes.org and the Housing Options Team can also be contacted by e-mail at housing.options@stockporthomes.org.

● Multi-agency approach to dealing with harassment so people can be supported in their homes and enforcement action taken against perpetrators.

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Customer Involvement news Customer Awards Scheme

Learning doesn’t stop when you leave school Stockport Homes is proud to introduce its second customer training programme which runs from April 2007 to March 2008. All courses are free and are open to all Stockport Homes’ customers. You will receive a certificate for each course you attend and for some courses you will get an accredited qualification. Intrigued? We hope so! This training programme has been designed for our customers and through consultation with many of you, so we hope the courses are of interest and relevant to you. There is no limit to the amount of courses you can attend but courses will be allocated on a first come first served basis. So what are you waiting for? Book them today! There are a variety of courses to choose from including, Emergency First Aid, Dealing with Diffficult Situations, Computer courses both basic and intermediate, visiting the 6

Following consultation at the Customer Conference in April 2006, a Customer Awards scheme was introduced to recognise the commitment and achievements of Stockport Homes’ customers. The first awards were presented by Helen McHale, Chief Executive at the Stockport Tenants’ Federation in November 2006. The categories were: Individual customers nominated by Stockport Homes staff for: ● High levels of involvement

Repairs Contact Centre and more.

● Mentoring or support given to others

Customers who have attended training sessions with us already have said "If you want to learn something, it's definately worthwhile"

Individual customers nominated by other customers for:

"Fantastic course with useful beneficial knowledge that you can use in everyday life."

Tenants & Residents’ Groups (TRA) nominated by Stockport Homes staff for:

If you would like to book on a course or have any questions please contact Paul Whitehead on 0161 474 2862 or email: paul.whitehead@stockporthomes. org

● Involvement in improving the estate/neighbourhood

We look forward to seeing you at one of the training courses.

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● Mentoring or support given to others

Tenants & Residents’ Groups (TRA) nominated by customers for: ● Involvement in improving the estate/neighbourhood


Sidney Marquis (Birch Court)

York Street Residents Association

The Judging Panel was set up with a customer from each Housing District: ● Pat Rapley – Central District ● Ken Tate – West District ● Pauline Clough – East District

● Joanne Cole - Sustainability Manager ● Phil Rhodes - Diversity Service Improvement Officer

...and our winners were... Barbara Taylor, John Henshall, Colin Spencer, Eileen Walton

For high levels of involvement Winner - Keith Spurr (Brinnington) Other Nominees:- John Henshall, Dave Kirwan, Ken Cooke, Lynn Ellis, Denise Connor, Kay Mcguirk, Andrew Hearnden, June Young, Bernard Bradbury, Aline Cleary, Julie Bullen, Colin Spencer

For involvement in improving the estate / neighbourhood

For mentoring and / or support to others

Joint Winners – York Street Residents Association and Didsbury Road Tenants & Residents Association

Joint Winners – Irene Dooley (Didsbury Road) and Sidney Marquis (Birch Court)

Other Nominees:- Brinnington Council Tenants’ Association, Oak Road Residents’ Association

Other Nominees:- Grace Gilbert, Terence Edmeston, Brian Malpas, George Gould, Dorothy Gould, All individual winners received a shopping voucher and the winning tenants’ associations won a cash prize. Everybody received a certificate. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated.

Nomination forms for 2007 can be obtained from the Customer Involvement Team. Please contact Paul Whitehead for more details on 0161 474 2862 or email paul.whitehead@stockporthomes.org

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Customer Involvement news

(continued)

Stockport Homes invites you to a Customer Conference on Saturday 14 April 2007 from 9.30am to 2.15pm at Stockport County Football Ground. In 2006 we launched our customer conference by asking you, our customers, if you felt that you are in the driving seat of our ‘customer driven’ organisation. This year, we’re inviting you to give us your views on how we can work together to improve your neighbourhood. As you know, Stockport Homes has been assessed as being a 3 star organisation with ‘excellent prospects for improvement’ by the Audit Commission. This means that we have been considered as providing some of the best housing services in the country. As a direct result of this inspection we have access to a large amount of additional money (£40m over the next two years) to spend on your properties and bring them up to the ‘Decent Homes Standard’. This includes funding to spend on the surrounding environment. Spending over £250,000 each day on your properties might 8

sound like an easy task, but it’s harder than it sounds. This is a chance for you to see the difficult decisions that we have to make every day and to have some input into how this is done. We want to show you the different steps to a ‘decent home’ and think about how this can be achieved taking your needs into account along the way. The day will be informal, interactive and most of all fun. It will not be just boring presentations or speeches; we

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aim to deliver a conference full of life! Building on last year’s success there will be games, quizzes and prizes as we introduce you to some of the faces behind the organisation, tell you what we have been up to, and how we can work together to improve things. Customers who attended last year’s conference told us ... “I’d never been to a customer conference before but it was great fun and I’ll be going again next year.” “It was absolutely


marvellous and I thoroughly enjoyed the hamper that I won.” Lunch and refreshments will be served, and it will take place at Stockport County Football Ground on Hardcastle Road. Free parking is available and we can arrange transport for those who need it.

We will pay for all out of pocket expenses (including carers allowance and childcare costs). Please let us know and we will assist.

FREEPOST envelope provided or you can phone the Customer Involvement Team on 0161 474 2862 or email: paul.whitehead@ stockporthomes.org

If you are able to come please complete the slip below, cut it out and return it to us in the

We look forward to seeing you there!

I would like to attend the conference on Saturday 14 April 2007

Yes

No

I require assistance with transport (we will book a taxi for you).

Yes

No

I have dietary needs.

Yes

No

Name: Address:

Tel:

email:

If yes, please give details:

I have other needs as follows (please tick boxes as appropriate): Hearing loop Wheelchair user

Interpreter

(which language) Large print

Sign language

Braille

Other - please specify www.stockporthomes.org

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Customer Involvement news

(continued)

Customer Inspec During the Summer of 2006, June Young and John Henshall volunteered to become Customer Inspectors of voids (empty properties) with the Greater Manchester Peer Review Group. What is the Peer Review Group and what does it do? Perhaps it’s best explained in the following poem. We are a group called Peer Review And we are managed by the BPU. Numbers involved are not a few And we’re not afraid to try something new

We’ve tested standards of Customer Care But you won’t know when, by who, or where. ‘Cos Mystery Shoppers act with flair, They do much more than simply stop and stare.

We walk the streets to see if they’re clean But some of them – they look a bit mean. We report back on what we’ve seen On ‘Eyes Wide Open’ we’re very keen

Void Inspections were time well spent; Standards varied wherever we went. Most were good but we’re not content, Perhaps there needs to be more investment.

The BPU is the Best Practice Unit based in Rochdale and funded by members’ subscriptions. Stockport Homes is a member along with other ALMOs in Greater Manchester. John and June committed to seven days of planning meetings, training, inspections and a very interactive feedback day held in Wigan on 5 December. Their interaction with the other 10 10

customer inspectors was best summed up by one of the joint chairs for the day as follows: “When we started working with the Peer Review Group, we were a number of individuals who wanted to improve standards. We’ve grown into a group of friends who are confident, well trained and well informed and we can go back to our organisations to encourage others to take part and to influence the standards in

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our properties.” Inspectors were asked to give their first impressions of each property as they approached it from the coach – even getting close to a property on some narrow estate roads raised issues of parking and accessibility – and demonstrated that those first impressions are really important, especially if a prospective new tenant is also new to the area.


ectors These are some of the issues raised: ● Is the garden well maintained and clear of litter (empty properties are notorious for attracting fly-tipping)? ● Are the windows clean? ● Are the drains clear of rubbish and leaves? ● Does the front door look solid and secure? ● Lock changes are now standard but are the old keys ‘recycled’ with the old locks? ● Are all surfaces clean and does the property smell clean? ● Has the property been decorated OR are all walls in an acceptable state of decoration, i.e. no wallpaper peeling off or only partly removed for re-plastering. ● On average, it costs approximately £2,000 to completely redecorate a property so there’s a tendency to give decorating vouchers to incoming tenants.

● Fit at least one smoke alarm (preferably hard wired) and ensure it is working – although this is becoming common practice, there is no legal requirement for the landlord to do so. ● If replacement is imminent, use void period to carry out work on new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems – this is more likely as more and more work is being done to bring properties up to the Decent Homes Standard.

● to remove all damaged wallpaper to present a clean and solid surface for the new tenant to redecorate; ● to ensure all internal surfaces are clean & smell pleasant; ● to secure any trailing wires, TV aerial cables or other potential trip hazards.

First impressions of the inside of each property focussed on whether somebody could move in straight away, so cleanliness and decoration were really important. At the Feedback Day, both inspectors and senior officers agreed that their top priorities were: ● gardens and footpaths must be clear of potential trip hazards;

What’s next? Stockport Homes (Repairs & Maintenance Team) has set up a ‘Quality Panel’ of customer inspectors who will carry out void inspections, shadow the surveyors in their daily tasks and monitor void costs. They will also be taking part in Estate Walkabouts in areas where, currently, no customers accompany the Housing Officers. If you’d like to join the panel, please contact Susan Chieni-Cookson, Customer Liaison Officer on 218 1295 or Jane Clayton, Customer Involvement Officer on 0161 474 2959. We actively encourage new members and all out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

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Do you need someone else to contact us on your behalf? Would you like a friend or relative to contact Stockport Homes on your behalf? It may be to report a repair or pay your rent. If you feel unable to deal directly with Stockport Homes, you can give us the name of another person who can speak to Stockport Homes staff on your behalf. If you would like to make an arrangement like this, you need to nominate someone you know and trust, such as a close relative or a close friend. You will need to put your request in writing and sign it so we have your permission. If you are unable to write a letter, you can ask your relative or friend to write on your behalf but we will need to speak to you to check you are happy with this. Please write to or telephone your District Office. See back page for details.

Tell us what you think! This is the second time you will have received the new style newsletter, ‘Stockport at home’. We would like you to tell us what you think about it by completing the reply slip below and returning it to us in the enclosed FREEPOST envelope.

Do you like the layout and style?

Yes

No

Yes

No

If your answer is NO, what would you like to change?

Are there enough pictures? What topics would you like to see more coverage of?

Are there any other topics you would like to see included? Please give details below.

If you would like to join our editorial panel for the newsletter or find out more information, please contact Jane Wresdell, Marketing & Communications Manager, telephone 0161 474 2863 or email jane.wresdell@stockporthomes.org 12

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Keep fit and healthy Keep fit and healthy If you keep fit and healthy you stand less chance of getting ill in the first place. It also helps you to recover quicker if you do get ill. Physical exercise is important to keep your body in tip top condition. To boost the benefits of proper exercise, you should make sure you eat the right foods, drink enough water to stay hydrated, and get a good nights sleep. Together, all of these can help you feel your best both physically and mentally.

Exercise can help you to: ● Feel and look good ● Strengthen your muscles (including your heart) and increase flexibility ● Reduce your risk of developing certain diseases when you are older ● Maintain a healthy weight

Everyday ways to get active Getting exercise is easier than you might think. Adding a little extra activity to your everyday routine can make a big difference. ● Bike or walk to work, the library, or the shops ● Park further away than you normally would and walk ● Walk around during breaks ● Take the stairs not the lift

Eat better live better Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice. It’s about getting the balance right, because what you eat and drink can have a big influence on your health now and in the future. A balanced diet means a diet that includes a combination of several different food groups. These food groups include grains and pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat or meat- free alternatives, dairy products, and fats and oils. Try to eat something from each of these groups every day (except fats or oils, which should always be eaten sparingly).

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Finance news Have you had a change in your circumstances? Are you getting Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit? Did you know it is an offence not to tell us about any changes in your circumstances that affects your benefit? Here are examples of some of the things you must tell us about: ● If you change your address ● If you, or your partner, go into hospital ● If you or your partner’s income or savings goes up or down including wages, benefits, tax credits or pensions ● If you, or your partner, start work or change employer

● If someone comes to live with you or if someone leaves your house ● If you stop getting child benefit for someone ● If the income or circumstances of someone living with you changes If you are not sure whether you need to tell us about a change, you should check with

Stockport Council’s Benefits Section. Phone 0845 644 4303 (local call rate) E-mail benefits@stockport.gov.uk Write to Benefits, PO Box 70, Stopford House, Piccadilly Stockport SK1 3ZY Or call into any Stockport Direct Local Centre.

We’re on the move! The East and West district housing offices will move to new purpose built premises in April. The West office will re-locate from Barnfield Road West to Bridgehall school and the East office will relocate to new premises adjacent to the existing offices as part of the re-development work at Brinnington. In both instances the moves will enable housing staff to work more closely with key partners such as the police and neighbourhood regeneration staff with the aim of improving services to you, our customers.

Reception services will be provided by the council (as they are at the Reddish office now). Staff will be able to deal with enquiries about all Stockport Homes’ and the Council’s services. We look forward to welcoming you to our new and improved receptions. The new East office can be found at: 1 Berwick Parade, Northumberland Road, Brinnington, 0161 474 4372 The new West office can be found

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at: Bridgehall Community Centre, Siddington Avenue, Adswood, Stockport. SK3 8NR. Tel: 0161 474 4371. A launch event for the West office will be held on Saturday 26 May from 11.00am – 1.00pm and is being organised by all the service users of the building. There will be some entertainment, stalls and tours of the building – so why not come along and have a look a the new offices? Please note the phone numbers for both new offices will not be changing.


Fond farewell Thinking of leaving or moving out? If you are ending your tenancy, why not get up to £135.00! Stockport Homes would like to thank you for maintaining your property as detailed in your tenancy agreement. The Fond Farewell Incentive Scheme has been developed to reward tenants who are moving out and meet our required standards as detailed below. The scheme started on 1 March and covers the following areas:

Accompanied viewings

Rechargeable repairs

Inside your property

£30

£20

£50

During your four weeks notice period, we may request access to your property to allow future tenants to view the inside. If you allow our staff to visit up to 5 times with prospective tenants, during this four week period, you can expect a payment of £30.00. At least one accompanied viewing needs to be carried out to entitle you to a payment.

Stockport Homes appreciates that accidents do happen and these are repairs which Stockport Homes has no legal responsibility to undertake.

Wherever possible, Stockport Homes would like the property to be ready for the new tenant to move in. To help us achieve this, make sure you:

You can arrange for the works to be carried out yourself, at your own expense or by paying us for the cost of the repair. An example would be a cracked or broken window.

● Leave the property clean and tidy, swept and vacuumed. ● All furniture and belongings have been removed. ● All cupboards have been cleared. ● Rubbish or unwanted items are disposed of. You can expect a payment of £50.00 if the property has been left in an acceptable condition.

You can expect a payment of £20.00 if no rechargeable repairs are identified.

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Anti-Social Behaviour news

(continued)

RESPECT Give respect Get What is the

Respect Standard for Housing Management?

What is

Respect? The Respect Agenda is a cross-Government strategy to tackle bad behaviour and nurture good - and so help create a modern culture of respect. It is about central government, landlords, agencies and local communities working together to build a society in which we can respect one another – where anti-social behaviour is rare and tackled effectively, and communities can live in peace together. 16

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The Respect Standard is where a landlord, like Stockport Homes makes a public commitment to delivering services in accordance with the standard to help stop anti-social behaviour and create a culture of respect. Stockport Homes plays an important role in protecting communities from anti-social behaviour and helping stop it happening in the first place. By signing up to the Respect Standard, we will be making a public commitment to delivering good services to help stop anti-social behaviour and create a culture of Respect within our neighbourhoods.


respect

What is in the Standard? The Standard is made up of six commitments that Stockport Homes is committed to work towards: Accountability, leadership & commitment – Making a visible commitment to the community so that everyone is clear that issues of ASB are taken seriously. Empowering & reassuring residents – Working together by involving residents and giving you the opportunity to influence decisions. Prevention & early intervention – Preventing ASB occurring in the first place and when it does, addressing the problems quickly through early

What happens next?

intervention such as issuing clear warnings or offering mediation Tailored services for residents & support for victims – Making it as easy as possible for complaints to be made and making sure that ongoing support is given to witnesses who come forward to give evidence. Protecting communities through swift enforcement – Using the tools available to tackle ASB quickly. Tackle the causes of ASB – Offering support to people to change their behaviour.

We have already done our own assessment against the Standard with key partners such as the Community Safety Unit, but we want you to have your say. Customers were invited to hot topic meetings in February where we asked how well they felt Stockport Homes performed in certain areas and where they felt we needed to improve. If you would like to have your say then please send us your comments. You can write to Liz Ellis, Anti-Social Behaviour Manager, Stockport Homes, 1 St Peter’s Square, Stockport, SK1 1NZ or email: liz.ellis@stockporthomes.org Stockport Homes is signing up to the Standard jointly with other social landlords who own homes in Stockport so that we may be able to deliver more co-ordinated and effective services.

Signing the Standard Stockport Homes is committed to delivering services in accordance with the Respect Standard and already meets the Standard in many areas.

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Anti-Social Behaviour news

(continued)

Case study There are a wide range of powers available to Stockport Homes that we can use to tackle antisocial behaviour. One example was when legal action was taken against a family on the Adswood Estate in July 2006. The family had caused harassment, alarm and distress to several residents, and one neighbour in particular, over a period of time. After several visits from the Senior Housing officer and Tenancy Enforcement Officer, warning the family of the consequences of their behaviour, a Notice of Seeking Possession was served. The family persisted to cause nuisance within the community and so in 2006 Stockport Homes applied to the County Court for possession of the property on the grounds that the family were in 18

breach of their tenancy for nuisance behaviour. The residents who had witnessed the nuisance showed great courage and determination by acting as witnesses and providing evidence in court over a two day period. With their help Stockport Homes was granted immediate possession of the property. In addition to applying for possession, Stockport Homes also applied for, and was granted, two twelve month injunctions with powers of arrest attached. These injunctions protected the witnesses in the case by specifying

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that the perpetrators could not approach any of them. If they did so, they could be arrested and face imprisonment. The District Judge also granted an exclusion order banning the family from entering certain parts of Adswood. This is another example of Stockport Homes’ commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour. It clearly demonstrates our willingness to using all the powers available to us, where appropriate. It also demonstrates the enthusiasm of our customers to tackling anti-social behaviour on our estates. With the determination and help of the witnesses in this case, we were able to gather the evidence needed to successfully stop the behaviour from continuing.


Do you have problems with anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the evening or at weekends? Following a review of our anti-social behaviour service, and in response to customer feedback, a dedicated number for reporting ASB was launched which allowed customers to report incidents of anti-social behaviour seven days a week from 8am until 10pm. We are continually looking to improve our service and have been working with the Council to provide a new 24 hour number, available seven days a week, for reporting incidents of anti-social behaviour.

New 24 hour number for reporting Anti Social Behaviour Tel: 0845 833 4444 You can report any type of anti-social behaviour on this number which can

include violence and threatening abuse or behaviour, racial or other kinds or harassment, vandalism and graffiti, noise nuisance, rubbish dumping, vehicle nuisance.

What happens when you report anti-social behaviour? Your initial complaint will be taken by a trained officer who will then forward it onto the appropriate District Housing Office to deal with. Your complaint will be acknowledged within two working days and then the District Housing Office will where necessary arrange for an interview to discuss

your complaint further within five working days. This service is not an emergency service or same day service. Remember if you witness a criminal act in progress, or if you or any one else is in danger you should ring 999 or 872 5050 if you require a police response.

Reporting off road motorcycle nuisances when the vehicles are being used. Please visit the new website for more details: www.stopoffroadnuisance.co.uk

The Police have designed a new website to report off road nuisance. The type of information that they require is listed below, but if you can only provide some parts of it this would still help: ● Name of rider or driver ● Address of rider or driver ● Registration number (if it has one)

● Colour of vehicle ● Type of vehicle ● Where the incidents are taking place ● Date and time of incident. All information you can supply is of use to the Police, as it helps to build intelligence as to where and www.stockporthomes.org

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Performance news We want to tell you how Stockport Homes is performing against its performance indicators (known as ‘PIs’) up to and including December 2006. Performance indicators will help you to see what we are doing well or where we need to focus more time and effort to improve performance. Performance information has been provided from April 2006 to December 2006 and is compared against the previous year and against our targets (which are our desired levels of performance that we aim to achieve by the end of the year). Our targets are based on our performance last year aiming to

continue to improve and we are one of the highest performing housing organisations in the county. To show you how we are doing compared to our targets, ‘smiley face’ symbols have been used. These symbols show:

Where we are performing well and have achieved our target Where we are performing well but are just under our target Where we are not performing as well as we would like to and are not achieving our target

Repairs Average time taken (working days) to complete non-urgent repairs

Customer satisfaction with repairs service 94.8

14.4 15.2

17.1 17.2 16.7 16.3 16.5 16.8

94.2 93.9

94.1

94

94

94.1 94.1

Sep 06

Oct 06

Nov 06

11.3 93.8

Apr May 06 06

20

Jun 06

Jul 06

Aug 06

Sep 06

Oct 06

Nov 06

Dec 06

Apr May 06 06

Jun 06

Jul 06

Aug 06

Dec 06

This indicator is declining, but is better than the target of 19 days

Performance is improving and is on the target of 94%

Performance last year: 23 days (Improvement of 6 days)

Performance last year: 94% (Sustained satisfaction from last year)

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Anti-social behaviour % of anti-social behaviour cases dealt with to the satisfaction of the customer 83.3 71.4

71.4 64

63.4

62.5

61.3

60.6 58.4

Apr 06

May 06

Jun 06

Jul 06

Aug 06

Sep 06

Oct 06

Nov 06

Dec 06

This indicator is new for this year, as anti-social behaviour surveys are now carried out on all closed anti-social behaviour cases. Although performance has varied between April and September and was at its highest between May and July, customer satisfaction is ahead of the target of 50%.

Key: On or better than target Under target Target

These are only three of the many indicators that we collect on a regular basis. If you would like further information on the indicators, please contact Gemma Edghill on 0161 474 2856 or email gemma.edghill@stockporthomes.org

www.stockporthomes.org

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Birch Avenue (before)

Birch Avenue (after)

Estate Walkabout Actions Making a difference by taking part in walkabouts Every quarter with each newsletter, Stockport Homes publishes a list of dates and locations for customers to join Housing Officers in inspecting estates. Here are some examples of what has happened as a result of issues being picked up on the walkabouts. Birch Avenue Romiley Residents in Birch Avenue identified a need for additional car parking. Housing officer Dee Ellis, consulted those affected, and the District Forum approved £21,000 of the Estate Improvement Budget to be allocated to the project. Two grassed areas were removed and the area re-surfaced with parking bays (including 2 for the disabled) and the perimeter wall was altered. Tenants in Birch Avenue were really pleased and the project helped to ease traffic congestion in the street, so other residents benefited as well! Garners Lane, Oban Crescent, Ashburton Road, and Eccleston Road in Adswood. In Adswood, at the above location there are several blocks of flats set around a communal garden. Residents identified that the fencing to the communal garden was dilapidated or non existent. There was a lack of privacy and some residents felt vulnerable due to people taking short cuts through the garden. There was also the nuisance of dogs getting into the 22

communal area and fouling. Housing Officer, Adele Keating helped tenants to obtain £11,000 through the Estate Improvement Budget.

The pictures above demonstrate the gardens are now a safe, attractive and secure area for residents to enjoy. Poets Corner North Reddish Residents on the Poets Corner Estate have been active in attending walkabouts with their Senior Housing Officer. A whole range of issues have been identified. Some of these are for the Senior Housing Officer to tackle, such as untidy front gardens. Other issues are the responsibility of other Council departments and agencies e.g. damaged grass verges, broken kerb stones and litter in the road. In

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order to make an impact on the estate, Senior Housing Officer Joe Humphreys is working with local residents, the Council and ENCAMS. The latter is a campaigning environmental non profit making organisation. This partnership has obtained £50,000 for improvements to be made to the estate. £25,000 is being provided by Stockport Homes and the other £25,000 is from the Government agency. Local residents are currently being consulted via a questionnaire to find out what issues are the most important to them and the results of this will determine where the money is spent in improving the local environment and improving people’s quality of life. Poets Corner


Sustainability news

Estate Walkabout and Estate Improvement Budget Stockport Homes is not only committed to providing decent homes but also improving the neighbourhood where you live. As winter gives way to spring there are lots of ways you can help us improve your neighbourhood and together we can make a difference to the area where you live. The estate walkabouts and estate improvement budget are just two ways you can get involved.

Estate Improvement Budget ... ... provides customers with the opportunity to improve the appearance of an estate or communal area where there may be issues of safety, security or a need for environmental works. Each year ÂŁ400,000 is made available between the three District Forums to deliver projects. All customers are

encouraged to put forward projects, by completing a form with the help of their district housing team and customer involvement officers. All the projects for each district are then taken to the District Forum for customers to agree which projects should happen in their area.

www.stockporthomes.org

During 2006 a range of improvement projects have been carried out. This has included improvements to communal gardens, security gates, fencing, car parking, lighting and seating. If you have a project you would like to develop please get in touch with your local housing office.

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Sustainability news

(continued)

Sustainable Open Spaces on Offerton Estate Did you know that in December 2006 Stockport Homes, in partnership with the Offerton Park Parish Council carried out a consultation with tenants surrounding Sleddale Close and Stansbury Place to discuss how together, we can improve the open spaces on their estate. Stansbury Place

Sledale Close

Your views matter and they will be used to improve the open spaces throughout the estate that are currently not being used. Some very interesting and innovative ideas have been expressed and we are currently formalising

drawings incorporating those ideas. When this process has been completed, all residents will be invited to attend another open day where votes will be taken to decide which scheme is taken forward.

Winner of Sustainability Hamper – Trish Ruddock from South Reddish 24

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Two other environmental projects at Winnington Green and Ashway Clough have been approved by the District Forum and funded by the Estate Improvement Budget. The work began week commencing 5 February 2007. If you live on Offerton Estate and are interested in any open space, located close to you, please contact Jacqy Allatson or Jackie Heapy on 0161 474 4373.

Liveability Project Stockport Homes is committed to improving the quality of the local environment for our all customers. Safe, clean and attractive places to live and work are important things in helping us all to develop sustainable neighbourhoods. In partnership with Stockport Council a successful bid has been made to become one of the seven pilot areas within the North West to take part in the ENCAMS Liveability Foundation project.

vehicles. The pilot project has commenced on the Poets Corner estate, in North Reddish. A survey of the area is being carried out to assess the condition of the local environment and customers have been asked for their views on issues such as cleanliness, vandalism, fly tipping, litter and dog fouling.

ENCAMS is an organisation which is partially funded through Central Government to campaign on ways of tackling environmental problems such as litter, graffiti, noise nuisance and abandoned

The results of the survey including the views of customers will be reviewed by a group of officers and customers and an action plan to carry out improvements on the estate will be developed. www.stockporthomes.org

The lessons learnt from the survey will help us to carry out similar projects on other estates managed by Stockport Homes, and also help other housing providers and local authorities across the North West. If you would like further information about the project please contact Caroline Davies, Project Manager on 0161 474 5745 or email caroline.davies@stockport.gov.uk. And for information on the work of ENCAMS telephone 01942 612621 or visit the web site www.encams.org.

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Service Improvement news

You said, we did... We value your feedback on our services, whether you wish to make a complaint, compliment or comment. We try to learn from our mistakes and some of the things we have done as a result of your feedback are listed below. As you can see there are a lot of improvements in place and we are continually trying to improve our service to our customers.

What you said...

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What we did...

● You were unhappy with the actions taken by Stockport Homes in connection with harassment received from another tenant.

● We have improved the links we have with the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team on reporting crimes.

● You were experiencing noise problems from a neighbour.

● We have done more work to develop good neighbour agreements.

● Our contractors hadn’t stuck to appointment times for a repair.

● The Repairs Contact Centre has put in place a team which deal with any follow up enquiries resulting from repairs jobs, such as failed appointments. This means the contact centre is able to deal with 15% more customers reporting new repairs.

● There was poor communication between the contractor and the customer.

● PMS (Property Maintenance Solutions) has strengthened its commitment to customer care by ensuring all its operatives are aware of the importance of communicating with customers.

● You were unhappy with how one of our contractors was dealing with your complaints.

● The contractor has now dedicated a member of staff to dealing with complaints, resulting in complaints being dealt with more quickly and fewer complaints being received.

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Status

survey

During September and October 2006 Stockport Homes did a postal survey of around 2000 tenants. This was called the STATUS survey - this is a Government survey which we have to do every three years. A large number of forms were returned (42%) - if you were one of the people who returned your form - thank you! Some of the findings of the survey are detailed below. If you would like more information or a copy of the final report please contact me Tanya King, Service Improvement Manager on 0161 474 2887, fax to 0161 474 2869 or email to: tanya.king@stockporthomes.org or write to me at 2nd Floor, 1 St Peter’s Square, Stockport SK1 1NZ. Overall, 83% of you said you were either ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ satisfied with Stockport Homes as a landlord. This is very pleasing and means Stockport Homes is one of the best landlords in the country for customer satisfaction. However, we are not complacent. We know there are still areas where our customers feel improvements are needed. To give you a few examples: ● 14% of respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied

our services more accessable. This includes reviewing our opening hours. Once we know what customers want, we can decide how best to improve accessability, whether this be by telephone, in person or by other means.

with the area where they live. The biggest problems on your estates are litter/rubbish and vandalism, and one fifth of tenants felt ‘quite unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ on their estate at night. We are working more closely with the Council to ensure litter and rubbish are dealt with promptly and that you feel safe on your estate.

● We will contact all tenants who said they have a wheelchair user in their property to give them advice on adaptations where appropriate. ● Most of you prefer to contact us by telephone and the most common reason you contact us is for repairs. Three quarters of you stated it was easy to contact the right member of staff, with 87% finding staff them helpful.

● A small but significant number of respondents stated they found it difficult to contact us during office hours. We are working with these respondents to try and make

www.stockporthomes.org

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Service Improvement news

Status survey ● 81% of you were ‘fairly’ satisfied or ‘very’ satisfied overall with Stockport Homes repairs service. This is a considerable improvement since the last time we did the survey in 2003. The speed of work and attitude of workers highly rated, although you were less happy with the length of time taken before work started. ● 88% of you were satisfied with how well you are kept informed by Stockport Homes

(continued)

(continued from page 27)

and that your views were taken into account. This reflects the great improvements that have taken place in customer involvement at Stockport Homes which offers you the chance to give your views in a wide range of ways including telephone surveys, one off meetings, regular meetings, District Forums, customer feedback forms, Housing 100. ● The three most important issues for tenants are repairs

and maintenance, followed by the overall quality of home, then equally between keeping tenants informed and value for money for rent. Tanya King Service Improvement Manager tanya.king@stockporthomes.org

Charter Mark for Stockport Homes? Charter Mark is a national award for organisations giving excellent customer service. During 2007, Stockport Homes will be applying for Charter Mark status. There are six parts that we have to meet: ● Set clear standards by consulting customers and monitor the standards. ● Actively work with customers, partners and staff to make sure we deliver high quality services and that the organisation communicates clearly and effectively.

28

● Make services available to everyone who needs them, offering choice wherever possible. ● Look for ways to improve services and facilities, to put things right quickly and learn from and improve as a result of complaints, compliments and suggestions. ● Have effective financial management and use

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resources effectively to provide best value for taxpayers and customers. ● Awareness of our impact and usefulness in the local communities we serve. Stockport Homes is hoping to be assessed and achieve Charter Mark later this year. We will keep you informed of progress.


Repairs & Investment news Stockport Homes

Repairs Team... ...aims to provide all its customers with a high quality, efficient and comprehensive repairs service. Here are some important reminders from the Repairs Team. 1) Priority 1 - High Priority Emergency Repairs This is any repair that would be dangerous or would be a health risk if it was not fixed or made safe within four hours. 2) Priority 2 - Emergency Repairs Any repair which would cause serious inconvenience if not fixed quickly will be completed in 24 hours. Please ensure when reporting a repair as an emergency, it is a genuine emergency. If you abuse the emergency repair service you are now likely to be charged an average £65. 3) Priority 3 - Urgent Repairs These are repairs which would not cause a great delay or

inconvenience, but could cause disruption and will be completed within five days. 4) Priority 4 - Routine Repairs This is the most common priority for repairs which will be completed in a maximum of 20 working days, but will be appointed earlier if possible. 7) Voids Managing the repairs in empty properties and bringing them up to the Stockport Homes Lettable Standard, giving customers a high quality, well appointed home they can be proud of.

5) Access If you have reported a repair and someone is coming to carry out the work, you must ensure that you are in to provide access. Please let us know if the appointment is no longer convenient rather than just going out. It currently costs £2,000 per week in wasted appointments. 6) Equipment and Adaptations A surveyor works with Social Services to develop quality services for all our customers with special requirements such as stair lifts. www.stockporthomes.org

8) Repairs contact centre The contact centre operates from 8.00am – 6.00pm, outside these hours calls are directed to the contractors’ call centres. The number is 0845 644 4304 9) Disrepair Surveyors who manage legal claims with Stockport Legal Service and outside agencies. Thankfully, We do not have too many cases as the service is run effectively.

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Security news

Urgent notice: Gas Safety As part of our legal duty to you, the Council must comply with Gas Safety Regulations. The Council, through Stockport Homes, must gain access to your home and service all Council owned gas appliances in it every year. Where we have not been able to gain access, after leaving the relevant calling cards and sending reminder letters, Stockport Homes will then gain legal access to properties to ensure that gas service work is undertaken (under Section 54 of the Housing Act 1985). If you have had reminders but not yet arranged access to your property you MUST now contact the Repairs Contact Team on the number below IMMEDIATELY so that we can provide a date for your appliance to be serviced. Please do not ignore this advice as it could save your life!

Contact the Repairs Contact Team on:

0845 644 4304

If you live in a tower block... ...please do not put large items of rubbish down the chute. They are causing blockages in the rubbish chutes and are a fire hazard. Please take all large items of rubbish to the rubbish store on the ground floor. If you have any questions or queries about this please contact your caretaker. Thank you.

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Gardens news

Garden competition 2007 Due to the popularity of last year’s event, Stockport Homes will be holding another gardening competition this year. Details of the competition are currently being finalised but the categories are: ● Best individual garden ● Best container garden ● Best communal garden ● Best vegetable garden There will also be a category for children of 12 or under for the best drawing or painting of a garden or plants. Prizes will be awarded in each district to first, second and third in each category and a trophy will be

presented to the overall winner of the Borough for the best individual garden. Details and applications forms will be available from your District Housing Office and on the Stockport Homes website in early spring. Alternatively if you complete and return the slip below, we will ensure an application form is sent to you as soon as possible.

Please send me more information about: (please tick box) The 2007 Gardening Competition

Yes

No

The garden tool loan scheme in Adswood and Bridghall

Yes

No

Name: Address:

Tel: email:

www.stockporthomes.org

Garden tool loan scheme in Adswood/ Bridghall Do you live in the Adswood/Bridghall area?

Stockport Homes, in conjunction with Community Network are launching a garden tool loan scheme in the Adswood/Bridgehall area. Customers will be able to borrow manual garden tools such as lawn mowers, spades, rakes, forks and shears for a nominal annual fee. If you would like any more details on this scheme please complete the tear off slip on the left and return to either Stockport Homes West District office or Community Network Office at 199 Garners Lane, Adswood.

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Useful Phone Numbers Repairs

0845 644 4304

Customer Finance Automated Payment Line 0845 129 7010 West District Housing Office Customer Finance Team

0161 474 4371 0161 474 2668

East District Housing Office Customer Finance Team

0161 474 4372 0161 474 2677

Central District Housing Office Customer Finance Team

0161 474 4373 0161 474 2676

Customer Feedback

0161 474 2600

24hr Anti-social behaviour 0845 833 4444

Diversity and accessibility A free interpreting service is available if you need help with this newsletter. Please telephone Stockport Interpreting Unit on 0161 477 9000. Email: eds.admin@stockport.gov.uk

If you would like a copy of this newsletter in large print, Braille, or on CD, please contact Phil Rhodes (Diversity Policy Officer) on: 0161 474 2860 or email: phil.rhodes@stockport homes.org

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Issue 08-customer_news_spring2007  

at home formerly ‘NEWS and views’ Issue 8: Spring 2007 Do you live in the West District? page 3 New number to report ASB page 19 Are you fre...

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