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Residents investigate Connect

Tenant Engagement Officer Lisa tells us about how residents have been investigating and influencing change for all.

Lisa Stead, Tenant Engagement Officer

Earlier this year, one of our resident groups carried out a deep dive review looking at ‘missed appointments in day-to-day repairs’.

This group is known as the Connect Scrutiny Panel (CSP), which can sound quite formal and a little off putting, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to get involved and be a part of this fantastic group.

If I were to describe what they do to someone who has never heard of scrutiny before, then I would compare the work that they do to that of Ofsted, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to find out what the reality is and make suggestions for improvement.

They quickly got to work with:

  • A 360 introduction to how the appointment systems work within Connect.
  • A desk top review looking at various bits of performance data and insight from other residents via surveys and complaints.
  • Holding interviews with key managers and informal chats with some of the front-line staff – such as technicians who carry out repairs – and the office staff who manage repairs calls and schedule in appointments.

All the while being supported by myself and Emily. It’s our job to make sure that we make the ‘behind the scenes’ things run smoothly, such as getting the right information for the panel in easy-to-read formats, making sure meetings are held when most of the group are available and generally being there to offer help and support to the residents as a group and as individuals.

The review ended up with seven recommendations being made to Connect, with six of those being formally adopted by Connect’s Board:

  1. Provide staff training to ensure the correct pathways are followed when booking follow-up appointments so that reminder texts are sent where appropriate. ​
  2. More work to be done by Connect to highlight tenant responsibilities and reasonable behaviours. For example, when tenants make unreasonable repair refusals, staff have no other choice but to re-book at a cost to Connect. There is nothing in place to make the tenant think twice about their responsibilities. The scrutiny panel thinks Connect should launch a campaign. ​
  3. Include data about missed appointments on monthly management reports.
  4. Connect should provide a telephone system for the schedulers to use to call tenants directly from to book appointments, so that tenants are not avoiding calls from unknown numbers. Calls need to show as ‘Connect Housing’
  5. Connect needs to ensure that any translation vulnerability is transferred onto the job sheet so technicians know to call schedulers who can, in turn, use the translation service. ​
  6. Connect to deliver training to new and existing technicians, to reinforce the procedure for when an appointment is missed. Specifically, around calling the tenant (where a contact number is available on the job sheet) before a no access card can be left.

These will now be monitored and tracked until completion. Board was really pleased with the work and thanked the panel for their hard work and efforts which were clear to see.

One of the added benefits for our panel members is that they are rewarded for the work that they do, it’s a great opportunity to make a difference and boost your income with money or vouchers at the same time.

So, if you fancy yourself as a bit of sleuth and have some spare time that you’d like to put to use, give our team a shout to find out more via: gettinginvovled@connecthousing.org.uk or call 0300 5000 600 and ask for the Tenant and Communities Engagement team

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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