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You said, we did

It’s important that we ask residents for their views on a wide range of issues. This is one of our commitments in our new Residents’ Charter.

Feedback is valuable information that we use to make decisions.

We gather views in many ways:

  • our six monthly ‘STAR’ (Survey of Tenants and Residents)
  • text surveys about our services
  • online surveys to our ‘Virtual Voice’ digital consultation group
  • through Scrutiny projects undertaken by resident volunteers
  • through complaints received
  • from social media comments
  • in normal times, we hold meetings with groups of residents.

Residents have said that we don’t always report back on what we’re doing in response to all the information we’ve gathered. In these You Said, We Did updates we’ll briefly describe how we have acted on residents’ opinions and experiences.

These updates are provided on a quarterly basis. At the bottom of the page, you will find links to our annual resident involvement report which we have committed to providing in our service standards and to more information about resident involvement.

 

July 2021

EU Settlement Scheme Information

You said: Residents who are European Union or European Economic Area nationals didn’t know they had to apply to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme for the right to stay in the UK after Brexit.

We did: We contacted residents who we thought might need to apply to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme and provided information about how to apply:

Help applying for a home

You said: People who don’t have internet access struggle to apply for a Together Housing home.

We did: We’ve developed a new system that has freed up more staff time so we can now provide help to people who need it to complete applications over the phone.

Reporting anti-social behaviour

You said: It’s not clear how to report anti-social behaviour and what Together Housing does to help.

We did: We’ve produced a new video explaining how we respond to reports of anti-social behaviour and work with residents to resolve issues – see www.togetherhousing.co.uk/your-neighbourhood/anti-social-behaviour-asb/ 

Listening and resolving

You said:  Residents who are suffering from noise nuisance by neighbours need a better way to record evidence of the problem.

We did: We now have a new noise app which allows residents to record any problems with noise on their mobile phone and send it directly to us. This helps us to respond to residents more quickly. You can find out more details by visiting https://www.thenoiseapp.com/ 

Providing clear information

You said: Together Housing’s income policy is difficult to understand.

We did: We worked with residents to rewrite the policy, taking out all the legal terms and jargon that residents didn’t understand and made it much easier to read.

'How to' video library

You said: Many residents want help to use the online services on Together Housing’s new website and app.

We did: We made new clear and simple how to videos’ that show how to use our online services. Residents who don’t use the internet can still access our services by phone. Visit www.togetherhousing.co.uk/my-account/ for more information.

April 2021

Improving our emergency service

You said – The customer service provided by our out of hours contractor wasn’t always as good as the service that we provide during the daytime.
We did – We’ve now set up regular performance meetings with the contractor and have a dedicated contact to make sure that they can deal with any concerns quickly. This and extra staff training have led to fewer complaints. If there is a complaint, we are following these up to find out what went wrong and contacting residents to put things right more quickly.

Listening to all residents' views

You said – We need to listen to the views of all residents.
We did – To help us to do this, we’ve set up new groups for residents with a disability, and a group for Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents. These groups are just some of the many ways residents can already get involved with developing our services. To find out what else is on offer, please visit www.togetherhousing.co.uk/your-neighbourhood/resident-voice/

Explaining how we deal with complaints

You said – We should explain our complaints policy and process more clearly and simply.
We did – To make our complaints policy and process easier to understand, we have removed some of the legal words and technical terms used in housing. We also explain how we first assess complaints and we give examples of residents’ dissatisfaction.

Making service charges clearer and simpler

You said – We want easier to understand information about service charges.
We did – We have created new leaflets explaining how our service charges work and the information is now available on our website. During 2021/22, all residents will receive a personalised statement that gives an itemised list of charges that apply to them. For further information see www.togetherhousing.co.uk/your-tenancy/paying-your-rent/service-charge/

Providing easier information on our website

You said – Information on the website needs to be easier to find and understand.
We did – We’ve added new videos to our website with accessible information, such as a video about the Covid-19 safety measures staff follow when visiting residents. We’ve also improved the search function to make information easier to find. For further information see www.togetherhousing.co.uk/your-tenancy/repairs-and-alterations/report-a-repair/

January 2021

Ending a tenancy when someone dies

You said“Sometimes your processes are a bit rigid and can be a bit blunt, which doesn’t always make a very emotional time any easier.”
We did – As a result of feedback, we’ve changed how we communicate with the next of kin when a resident sadly passes away. Our approach is now more sensitive and flexible. When the next of kin tells us that someone has passed away, we will update our records immediately. Where this means a tenancy will be ended, we will be led by the next of kin on their timescale for returning keys to us. We have also updated our letters to ensure they can be tailored to individual needs

Why was my repair cancelled?

You said“It’s really frustrating when repairs have to be cancelled or rearranged at the last minute, particularly when it’s hard to find out what is going on.”
We did – While we continue to deliver services, we are experiencing delays within our repairs service due to staff shortages created by Covid-19. Therefore, we are asking our residents to understand that there may be delays in completing routine repairs at this time as this will allow us to concentrate on emergency repairs. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We are keeping residents updated on our website, social media and by post for residents who aren’t online.

What happens when spare parts are unavailable?

You said“It’s really frustrating when repairs have to be cancelled or rearranged at the last minute, particularly when it’s hard to find out what is going on.”
We did – Our technicians can now source some parts from other suppliers where this is possible to speed-up repairs.

Are you letting your properties safely during the pandemic?

You said“Are you still doing viewings for people who want a home with Together Housing? How can you make these visits safe in the Covid-19 pandemic?”
We did – We’re taking extra measures to help keep residents and our staff safe during appointments. We publicised these in the winter 2020 edition of Linking Together, our magazine for residents. We’ve also made a video about how we are managing the signup process to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic that is sent to people before viewings.

How do you support tenants with communication barriers?

You said“Can you provide more information on how you support non-English speakers or those with hearing or sight impairments?”
We did – We have provided our staff with extra resources and support to help improve communication with residents who don’t have English as their first language, or who have communication impairments. We’ve increased both staff and residents’ awareness of these resources and support through training and publicising in our newsletters.

Can you make sure it is easy to find answers on the website?

You said“It’s difficult to find the homeowners’ section of the Together Housing website.”
We did – We have redesigned our website, with the help of some of our residents to make it easier for everyone to find information. Homeowners can now access information they need directly from the website’s home page.

Can you reduce the amount of travel time between gas safety and repair jobs?

You said“Gas engineers seem to spend a lot of time travelling between jobs.”
We did – We have improved the way that we schedule gas safety checks and repairs, so that engineers spend less time travelling, which means they can do more jobs each day.

November 2020

Are appointments with Neighbourhood Officers available?

You said“We didn’t know it was possible to book an appointment with a Neighbourhood Officer.”
We did – You can book an appointment with your Neighbourhood Officer, their details are on your rent statement. We are using all our ways of communicating with residents to let everyone know that appointments are available.

How is Together Housing performing?

You said“We would like more meaningful information about how Together Housing is run and its performance.”
We did – We have created a new Transparency section of the website that provides information about how we are performing at providing services to our residents and useful information about how we are run.

Are staff following Covid-19 guidelines?

You said“Can you make sure Together Housing staff are vigilant and always up to date with Covid-19 guidelines when visiting our home?”
We did – We now speak to residents before a visit and on arrival, reassuring them that we are following the latest guidelines. We have also made a video for residents expecting a visit, explaining how we are working safely.

Why do we pay service charges?


You said“Service charges are difficult to understand, can you explain what they cover?”
We did – We recognise that service charges are not as clear as they should be. We are doing a thorough review of all our charges. In 2021 we will start sending clearer explanations of service charges to residents.

Can you help minority ethnic groups to report anti-social behaviour?


You said“Non-English-speaking residents often struggle to communicate with Together Housing, which means incidents go unreported, especially to do with anti-social behaviour.”
We did – We have produced a video that explains how to report hate crime. We’re developing another video about reporting anti-social behaviour and we’ll make these videos available in community languages.

When do you plan to do improvements to my home?


You said“We would like more information on planned property and investment in our area.”
We did – We now publish this information on our website and ensure our staff are made aware so they can inform residents.

Will you respond quickly if there’s a problem with a repair?


You said“If you don’t get things right with a repair, can you make sure you sort things out as quickly as possible.”
We did – We’re making sure we come back to you within two working days to discuss how we can resolve a problem, if you’re not happy with the service you’ve received regarding a repair.

Can you communicate with shared owners about issues relevant to them?


You said“Shared ownership residents don’t feel a lot of Together Housing’s communication is really relevant to them.”
We did – We now produce a quarterly e-newsletter specifically for all home owners, and part of this website is dedicated to serving these customers.

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