In 2014 Derwent Living launched the Green Inspectors project. This entailed customers carrying out inspections of the grounds maintenance service in the area they live. Inspectors carry out an assessment based on a set scoring criteria, and the results are then passed back to Derwent Living and the contractors, Greenfingers.
The Green Inspectors project has been a huge success and allows for customers to give us direct feedback, both good and bad, and helps to monitor the ongoing service provided. Greenfingers contracts manager, Patrick Collins says “it’s allowed the residents and our operatives build a relationship which in turn has improved the service we deliver. The Green Inspector project has allowed a key resident on the scheme to take a lead and pass on any comments/requests that other residents may have. The Green Inspector project has opened up a new communication channel which has given the residents a say in the service they receive.”
The project was also shortlisted for a Tenant Participation Advisory Service award, for its excellence in contractor engagement.
One of the Green Inspectors, Rosemary commented that “I enjoy being a Green Inspector as my way of helping to keep the place where I live to the standard we all want, and this is easy when you have a good team to rely on who deserve your support. Stops small incidents becoming major and expensive problems – nips it in the bud, if you will pardon the pun!”
If you are interested in becoming a Green Inspector please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01332 346477 and asking to speak to a member of the Resident Involvement Team. Full training is provided for this role.
Between March and May 2014 a panel of customers were involved in tendering panels to award five Asset Management contracts, ensuring the contracts meet customers service expectations.
Customers were involved in setting specifications, judging submissions documents, interviewing contractors and taking part in site visits.
Customers helped to award 5 contracts for services including Cleaning, internal stock investment, passenger and emergency lifts, windows, doors and glazing and cyclical redecoration.
By involving customers in the selection of contractors, it ensures that residents are confident in the standard of works that will be delivered. It also informs customers of the processes involved so that they have a better understanding and knowledge of the contracts that Derwent Living award and the specifications that contractors work to.
Customer Survey 2014
In 2014 Derwent Living conducted a large scale survey to enable all customers to have a say on how satisfied they are with their home and the services they receive.
A range of methods was used to complete the survey, in addition to the traditional paper format, the survey was also available to complete online and text messages containing a link were sent to customers. Customers on retirement schemes were also assisted in the completion of the survey by members of staff visiting their homes.
The survey was also entirely compiled and analysed in house rather than using an outside consultant. This allowed cost savings of over £6.00 per response received. As well as an overall saving of over £15,000 compared to when the last large scale survey was carried out in 2010.
The introduction of alternative methods for completion also proved beneficial to both the organisation and customers, 66% of responses were elected to be completed online.
The results of the survey have been analysed and any areas of poor performance have been targeted by the specific service areas concerned, with an action plan put together to ensure improvements are evident.
50th Anniversary Roadshows
2014 saw Derwent Living celebrate their 50th anniversary of providing affordable housing. As part of the celebrations the Resident Involvement Team embarked a tour of several schemes across the regions in an authentic 1960’s campervan.
The roadshows also providing an opportunity to meet customers who may we not always have regular contact with and to inform them about the different ways in which they can get involved, as well as discuss the services we provide and gain some valuable feedback.
Throughout the week 18 different schemes were visited ranging from our oldest schemes, to some of our newest developments. Many of the customers spoken to are now regularly involved in projects and initiatives, and are better informed about the ways in which Derwent Living operates.
The roadshows also allowed customers to celebrate the 50th anniversary by learning a little bit more about Derwent Living’s history, as well as entering prize draws and receiving a goody bag too!
Customer Commitments Consultation
Each year Derwent Living consults with customers on their Customer Commitment targets, but in 2014 the consultation included looking at whether the actual commitments themselves were still relevant and what customers wanted to see.
The consultation resulted in targets for 2015 being set, as well as agreeing with and recommending new commitments to run for the next three years. Customers were surveyed on their preferred customer commitments and the targets that should be set for each.
An online survey was included on derwentliving.com and customers were emailed and texted a link to allow them to complete the survey quickly and easily.
Customers will continued to be consulted on an annual basis on whether our targets are still relevant and they feel they are set at the right level.
In 2014 Derwent Living launched its in house mediation service. This replaced a service run by an external agency to tackle neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour.
The mediation service created by Derwent Living, included 6 staff members from across a range of departments at Derwent Living and 6 customers. All participants were required to apply for a place on the mediation team and take part in an interview once shortlisted. To ensure the team were able to carry out mediation in the best possible way, all 12 members took part in intensive and practical training and assessment to be rewarded with a recognised qualification from Mediation UK.
In just their first year the mediation team have already begun to take on and resolve a number of cases with a satisfactory outcome. The team engage in regular training to ensure their skills are kept up to date and they are delivering the best service possible. The service is also monitored with feedback gathered once the mediation process is complete.
One of the staff mediators, Callum, whose usual role is as a Customer Service Advisor commented that “being a part of the mediation team has been a great experience, especially working closely with the customer mediators who bring a different and valuable perspective.”
Referrals to the mediation team usually come through staff members who have received reports of complaints between neighbours and residents who have not yet been able to resolve their issues.
Retirement Involvement Talks
As a result of the Customer Survey a series of talks was planned at various retirement schemes throughout the area. These included visiting customers at residents meetings and coffee mornings to discuss the other ways of getting involved and answering general queries.
In the survey responses, residents on retirement schemes said they wanted more information on Derwent Living and its services, and to know how they can get involved. The involvement talks were an ideal opportunity to provide this information, and as a result many of the customers spoken to are now part of Derwent Living’s regular panels and forums.
Due to the success, good attendance and positive feedback from the Retirement Involvement Talks more of these will be carried out at other schemes in the future.