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Residents at the heart - our performance report

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Housing associations should be among the most trusted and accountable organisations in the country and that means having a stronger, more balanced relationship with our residents. 

It means being more open and honest, doing what we say we will, learning from when we get things wrong and enabling residents to hold us to account. 

The residents in our engagement structures also play a key role in monitoring what we do – as well as helping us maximise our impact in communities.

These pages tell you more about that and:

  • how we’re doing 
  • what’s going well 
  • and where we need to do better.

Want to know more?

Have a look at our Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018/19 to find out more about the places we’re building, our flourishing communities and our plans for the future.


Have your say

Please contact us to share your feedback or tell us what else you'd like to know more about.  


Your safety

Keeping you safe in your home is a top priority for us and we’re committed to meeting all our legal responsibilities. This includes providing smoke alarms as well as checking and servicing gas, oil and solid fuel appliances in annual safety checks and completing regular inspections of electrical systems. In our blocks of flats and similar sites, we make sure that fire risk assessments (FRAs) are up-to-date, there are appropriate smoke detectors and fire alarms, fire doors and other fire safety measures.

Last year we visited 36,000 homes to make sure all of those with gas have a valid gas safety record. We also completed nearly 600 Fire Risk Assessments and closed more than 1,700 fire safety actions or checks. If you’re a resident in a flat or similar accommodation you can ask us to send you a copy of the latest Fire Risk Assessment for your building. If you live in one of our taller buildings (six storeys or more), we’ve also published some summary safety information about these blocks.

You can also find more information and advice online about our #GetFireSmart campaign or our work around gas safety, asbestos and the safety of the water supply in your home.

When it comes to your personal safety, we work closely with the police and other agencies on issues like domestic abuse, hoarding and anti-social behaviour so please get in touch if you need advice or support. We also have an anti-slavery statement.

Contact channels

Telephone, email and social media

More people are now using our digital channels (like MySovereign, email and social media) when they don’t want or need to speak to someone in person.  And this is linked to a drop in the number of calls we received in July to September - 5,000 fewer than in the same three months last year.

July to September 2019

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125,768 calls

-4% from Sep 2018


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21,136 emails

+5% from Sep 2018


Social media icon


13,877 messages

+25% from Sep 2018


April to June 2019

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125,965 calls

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20,957 emails

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12,570 messages

What's next?

There’s more we’re doing this year, including introducing software which will give our advisors a single point of access to multiple systems: from who’s listed on your tenancy to when your gas service is due and what type of boiler your home has.

MySovereign

MySovereign is the online home of everything to do with your tenancy and is available 24 hours a day, every day. You can pay your rent, book a repair and update your details all in one place.


Registered users
50% more registered users by September 2019 compared to September 2018 – 18,311





Satisfaction journey
Satisfaction with registration journey – up from 82.7% to 83.2% - September 2018 compared to September 2019




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Satisfaction with payment journey – up from 87.8% to 89.9% - September 2018 compared to September 2019




Using MySovereign

We have 50% more MySovereign users than at the same time last year and satisfaction with the registration journey remains above 80% and has gone up slightly from last year. Satisfaction with the payment journey has increased further this year, to 89.9%


What's next?

We want MySovereign to become our number one contact channel: letting you get in touch whenever it suits you, at the click of a button. So we’re focusing on developing the site to let you do much more online. 

We’ll work on making it easier for to you to report a repair, find your way around MySovereign, ask to add a tenant to your tenancy agreement and look at how we can make web chat more available to you. 

We’re also making it easier for you to join MySovereign – you can now use web chat if you have any questions while you’re registering.

Sign up to MySovereign

Feedback - July to September 2019

Your feedback matters and helps us to do things better, so we collect it in various ways. For example, we carry out surveys with residents who use different services. We also look at the causes of complaints and analyse why customers are contacting us, to see what we can improve on.

Last year we expanded the sort of feedback we collect, to help us see how we’re doing against our four customer experience commitments:

  • We make it easy

  • We take responsibility

  • We get it done

  • We keep in touch

 

We now measure how much effort customers have to make to get their enquiry or issue resolved (a high score means it was less effort) for some key areas of service, how much they trust us on these areas and how satisfied they are.

Anti-social behaviour bar graph
Repairs bar graph
Complaints bar graph

What's next?

The feedback we’ve collected has given us some clear areas to focus on this year:

  • Putting extra emphasis on improving our complaints service and reducing the number that haven’t been resolved
  • Improving our understanding of the whole customer experience, so that we can identify areas where we can get better
  • Making it easier for residents to give us feedback by offering more ways to respond

 

Complaints - July to September 2019

We try hard to offer good quality services, but sometimes things go wrong.

The two main services we received complaints about were: 

  • Property Services* - 438
  • Housing Management - 180

 * the majority of Property Services complaints will be related to responsive repairs (these are repairs you’ve asked us to carry out).

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Number of complaints

697


Causes of complaints - Property Services

Property Services pie chart

Causes of complaints - Housing management

Housing management issues

Ombudsman cases

If we’ve done all we reasonably can to resolve a complaint but someone’s still unhappy, they can ask the Housing Ombudsman Service to look into their complaint.

We have very few complaints that get to this stage. There was one case pending review with the Housing Ombudsman at the end of September 2019.

Bar chart for results of ombudsman cases year to date:

Ombudsman graph

We recognise that dealing with complaints to a high standard means we need to understand the problem, put it right, apologise and learn from our mistakes. We also know there’s more we can do to reduce complaints and handle them better.

Earlier this year we carried out an internal audit into complaints and the Scrutiny Coordination Group (SCG) and resident scrutineers also carried out a scrutiny review and made a series of recommendations. You can watch a short video about this and we’re working through an action plan. 

Their recommendations included ‘closing the loop’ better between complaints and lessons we’ve learnt. They also said we should share more information on how complaints have helped to re-shape our services.

So here are a few other changes we’ve made following complaints and other feedback.

  • Improved our complaints process to capture any lessons learnt, and updated our guidance to show that information is also available in other formats and languages.
  • Developed new guides for kitchen and bathroom replacements, so residents know what to expect and what they need to do to get ready.


What’s next?

  • Newly-built homes have a 12 month ‘defects’ period when the developer’s responsible for correcting various issues - but there can be problems that lead to complaints. The SCG and resident scrutineers are now doing some ‘customer journey mapping’ to see what improvements we could make at the various stages in this process.
  • Did you know: residents of new homes can already see a countdown clock on MySovereign, showing when their defects period will end.

 

We listen and act on resident feedback, making sure our residents’ voice is embedded in our governance, scrutiny and community work. Residents have a key role in the way we're run, the services we provide and how we keep a local focus within our neighbourhoods. 

  • The Resident and Board Partnership (RBP) helps to influence our strategy, policies and service standards, as well as monitoring the quality and performance of our services. Members of the group have also shared their voices on the national stage, talking about subjects that affect all social housing tenants.

    In the last few months they’ve presented at National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing conferences and hosted a regional Tpas meeting (a national tenant engagement organisation).

  • The Scrutiny Coordination Group (SCG) uses scrutiny as a way of monitoring, managing and developing our services. 
  • Community Engagement Groups (of Sovereign residents and other members of the community) work with us to make a difference in their local area about the things that matter to them.

Our resident engagement webpages explain more about these groups and how you can get involved. Here we focus on the way that resident-led scrutiny is influencing how we do things.


Resident scrutiny

The SCG agrees and commissions reviews to make sure we're providing quality services and a great customer experience. Helped by resident Scrutineers, their recommendations lead to action plans, which the SCG reviews regularly to make sure the actions are happening.

Here’s a snapshot of the services they’ve reviewed, some key recommendations and what we’ve done as a result. Other actions are underway or being developed.

Lettings

  • Dedicated lettings officer roles in the south (as in other areas) are enabling us to relet homes faster. 
  • Recommendations from the review included developing action plans for sites where homes generally taking longer to let, which we did.
  • We also held talks with several councils about them nominating new residents for homes more quickly.
  • Joint visits by our housing and property teams give us a better idea of how long any redecorating or other work is going to take – so we can tell new residents.
  • Before we build new homes, we’re being clearer about the sorts of home we know people need there.
  • And we’re working with our Income team to find the best time in the month for new residents to sign up if they’re on Universal Credit as this can change how long they’ll have to wait for payment.

 

Repeat calls about repairs

  • Over 100 hours of volunteering
  • Recommendations included working with residents to agree a definition for repairs being completed ‘right first time’ and we’ve now done this. 
  • We’ve also improved our reporting to managers and the Resident and Board Partnership: on the percentage of repairs done first time, the average number of contacts before a repair’s completed and on repairs compensation.
  • Longer-term, we’re developing a fully-automated way for residents to report and book repairs appointments via MySovereign.

 

Complaints

  • Recommendations included ‘closing the loop’ better between complaints and lessons we’ve learnt – so we’ve now updated our internal processes to capture this. 
  • Sharing more information on how complaints have helped to re-shape our services - you can read more about that in the ‘How we’re doing’ section.
  • In the summer we updated our complaints guidance to show that information is available in other formats and languages.
  • We’re also revising our complaints policy and including a step by step guide to the process.

 

What's next?

The SCG’s latest scrutiny exercise is now underway. This time they’re working with resident scrutineers to look at how we get homes ready to re-let once someone moves out.

We’re also building on our existing approach and doing some other new things to embed the voice of residents in what we do and how we do it:

  • Customer journey mapping – analysing key services from the point of view of different residents, understanding exactly what any blockages and issues are from beginning to end and what we can improve or simplify at each stage. This is already happening with a project to look at the defects period after a new home is built.
  • Agreeing with residents new aspects of what we do (‘co-creation’) – this is about working together, bringing ideas, listening and having honest conversations to design for now and the future. The first thing we’re looking at is jointly developing new standards for the core services we provide as a landlord.