In 2021/22 we continued to bring our repairs service back to normal after the pandemic which had made it difficult for us to access materials and parts. We engaged with Riverside Customer Voice Executive to ensure changes in the repairs service were influenced and informed by our customers.
Despite our efforts in improving services, our responsive repairs performance reduced last year and understandably customers are unhappy about this. We are working across Asset Services to improve how we diagnose repairs more accurately, reduce the time taken to complete a repair and communicate what’s happening with customers during the repair journey.
Following on from the implementation of the new Empty Homes Standard in 2020, we began consultation with Care & Support teams and launched a pilot for customers accessing homes in Care & Support services. The results were positive and the new Care & Support Empty Homes Standard and went live in the summer of 2022. We will report on the success of this new standard in next year’s annual report.
Planned maintenance and investment
We improved how we communicate with customers where we are delivering planned investment in their home by having Customer Liaison Officers on every contract site and introducing booklets describing what the work will involve and what to expect.
During 2021/22 we spent £35.7 million improving homes, including replacing 592 bathrooms, 687 kitchens, 883 windows and 2,530 boilers which is part of our planned maintenance programme. We also installed 307 major adaptions and 982 minor adaptations to make homes more suitable for customers with specific needs. These included walk-in showers, specialist baths, stairlifts and grab rails.
We worked with customers to install 450 Switchee devices in their homes to inform us and customers how their boiler is performing. We are using this information to direct future investment and the support we offer to all our customers.
We have also reviewed how we manage reports of damp and mould in customers’ homes. We’re making changes to improve our service and we are investing £3 million next year to ensure customers’ homes are good to live in.
We have made some changes to the way we manage building safety to ensure we focus our efforts on areas of greatest concern and improve customer experience. Some of the key things we have introduced are additional staff to help deal with customer queries, requests for information and manage dissatisfaction.
We have created a ’one-stop-shop‘ for all services delivered to our shared spaces. This includes estate management, which means it will be easier to resolve queries around service charges. We have introduced new ways to obtain customer feedback including:
- an annual building safety perception survey for our customers living in higher risk and more complex schemes to enable us to better understand how safe our customers feel and the key areas we need to improve
- a transactional survey for services that impact on the safety of our customers’ homes to improve the customer experience
- customer engagement plans.
We invested £25 million to maintain and improve building safety performance this year. We improved the overall safety of our homes by completing over 100,000 legal inspections and over 35,000 safety inspections of our shared spaces. We identified and resolved over 32,000 safety hazards and over 6,000 recommendations have been reviewed and controls put in place within our communal spaces.