Getting closer to our customers

Posted on 27 February 2024

We’ve increased our neighbourhoods from 37 to 55, putting our customers at the heart of what we do and transforming the way we manage our homes to become closer to the people and communities we serve. 

We’ve launched our new Neighbourhoods and Specialist Housing Service, changing the way we manage homes, schemes and neighbourhoods to improve services to our customers.

The average number of homes in our new neighbourhoods is around 750 - that's more than a third lower than before we introduced this new way of working, helping us to be closer to customers and communities.

Our 55 new neighbourhoods (previously 37) are aligned with council wards and managed by a dedicated Neighbourhood Officer, working closely with other teams including repairs and maintenance, antisocial behaviour, tenancy and service charges to create a streamlined, local service for customers.

Neal Ackcral, our Chief Operating Officer, said: “We carried out extensive consultation with our customers over an 18-month period.

"They told us they’d like to us to improve the way we communicate with them and be updated about services in their local areas, they’d like to have more clarity about who’s responsible for carrying out various tasks and resolving issues.

"They also asked us to be more visible and available to discuss issues and ideas within their neighbourhoods.

“We listened and have now implemented our new neighbourhood model to ensure that we improve in all these areas. I’m proud to say our new service will bring us closer to our customers and the communities we serve.”

Through this improved collaborative working culture, we’ll ensure that customers feel listened to, and will work hard to build trust and enhance customer satisfaction. Our new approach will also foster stronger relationships with local councillors, MPs, and other stakeholders.

Specialist Housing (later living and supported schemes) will be managed by a specialist team. We've increased the number of housing officers in our schemes, ensuring more vulnerable customers receive the dedicated support they need.

Neal continued: “Being closer to our customers means getting to know them more personally. We’ve introduced welfare checks where we’ll be checking in on our customers regularly. It may be that we haven’t heard from them or we’re unable to gain access to carry out compliance checks, we will make sure that we contact our customers, ensuring that they’re okay and all is well within their home.

“Our priority is making sure our homes, buildings and neighbourhoods are safe and well maintained. We’re putting more resources into delivering local services and bringing some compliance checks in-house, which will ultimately reduce customers’ service charges.

“Using improved IT functions, supported by our new customer service centre will also help us to provide more streamlined services, give customers more choice in how they get in touch with us, and reduce the time they spend reporting issues to us on the phone.”

“Our front-line staff will be champions for the neighbourhood they manage. Customers will know where to go when they need us and see us out and about and working in their areas more often.”

We launched our new Neighbourhoods and Specialist Housing Service at the beginning of the year, and will continue to roll it out throughout 2024.