Resident Scrutiny Team Report - Review of Mutual Exchange Process (January 2017)

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The team carried out a review into the Mutual Exchange process and procedure. With a view to making recommendations for improvements where needed; the main aim being to improve the experience for customers going through the process.

The RST looked at the following to assist with their review of the Mutual Exchange process and procedure.

  • Benchmarking using Housemark and comparisons with other landlords including, Magna HA, Guinness Northern Counties and Derby Homes.as part of this we looked at their policies, procedures, application forms, websites.
  • Conducted an interview with the Tenancy Services Manager to gain an initial overview of Mutual Exchange. Followed by further in depth questions regarding performance information, grounds for refusal, transfer/waiting lists.
  • Reviewed all paperwork and associated documents, including letters/correspondence related to Mutual Exchange.
  • Reviewed ease of use for homeswapper website and the information contained within it.
  • Carried out consultation surveying mutual exchange participants since January 2016 to gage satisfaction with service. Reply rate of 13% with 100% satisfaction.
  • Reviewed Performance stats and queried areas of concern. Now satisfied that there are no underlying issues.

Conclusions 

  • Policy documents including ‘Swapping your home’ are fit for purpose with minor amends, as per recommendations.
  • Lack of promotion of Mutual Exchange within Derwent Life magazine; looked at previous 12 months copies with no mention at all.
  • Lack of easy to access information on website and other digital formats; difficult to find or not present at all.
  • Current processes are in keeping with other landlords that were benchmarked, i.e. timescales etc. These are suitable.
  • Based on customer surveys, satisfaction is generally high with Mutual Exchange and its process. This should be monitored as a matter of course.
  • Overall, Mutual Exchange service is fit for purpose and works well, with some amendments to promotion and making information widely available.

Recommendations 

  • Advertise/promote Mutual Exchange in Derwent Life magazine; in every edition in some format, i.e. advert, case study, ask Max.
  • Swapping your home document should be more widely available.
  • Improve information available on website, electronic handbook and app regarding Mutual Exchange.
  • Ensure there is a direct link from website front page for information on Mutual Exchange/swapping home, including homeswapper.
  • Survey customers who have taken part in an exchange to monitor satisfaction with service/process on quarterly or as necessary basis.
  • Include stage in process policy to detail what information will be provided to new landlord, e.g. size and members of household, court orders (pending or enforced) and any open ASB cases.
  • Swapping your home document; fit for purpose. However, re Important Points, point 3. consider changing wording from “could be fined or even evicted” to “you will get a straight refusal to exchange”. This is based on benchmarking information from other landlord documents.
  • Include the above point as grounds for refusal within the policy.