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Service review brings improvements

Making sure your home is safe, modern and in good repair is a priority for us. Every year we make a significant investment into the improvement of homes through general maintenance and repairs, and by carrying out safety checks. This is a big part of our everyday work so it’s important for us to make sure that these services are efficient, provide value for money and meet your expectations.

Having access to your home is a critical factor in all of this. A wasted visit costs us time and money, and can also be frustrating for you too. That’s why, in September 2016, we asked our Customer Committee to carry out a service review, looking at the issue of ‘no access’ for our repairs service.

The committee found that a wasted visit by a repairs operative was costing an average of £47.91. It made a number of recommendations for improvement to the Board and, as a result, a working group involving technical teams from across the organisations was set up in May 2017 to improve performance. A robust plan was developed, which included 81 separate actions – all aimed at making us more efficient and providing you with a better service to improve our first-time access rates.

Doing better

This lengthy and comprehensive piece of work is now complete and we can report some early improvements in our performance and your satisfaction levels. At the end of the first quarter of the last financial year (June 2018), we accessed properties 91.1% of the time. At the end of the last quarter (March 2019), this had improved to 92.8%. Customer satisfaction around being kept informed when our operatives would visit rose from 79.5% in April 2018 to 95.7% in March 2019. This is a significant improvement in how you rate our communication with you.

Some of the changes we’ve put in place include:

  • Moving from a 12 to 24 hour emergency response time so that we’re not visiting your home during unsociable hours.
  • Using a tailored (and easily identifiable) envelope for the letters we send out about needing access to your home.
  • Introducing a text messaging service to remind you about your appointment.
  • Providing mobile phones for our operatives so that we can reach you on the number you’ve provided if you’re not at home or haven’t answered the door.

Involving tenants

Working closely with tenant representatives was an important part of this project.

Eunice Rowley and Lynne Jones were members of our Customer Committee and, following a governance restructure, our Operations Committee from 2018. Our Operations Committee members view here, monitor how we deliver our core landlord services.

Eunice and Lynne joined our no access project team. They have played an important role in helping us to see things from the tenant’s perspective. As well as being part of the working group and attending meetings, they have surveyed tenants to gain valuable insight into what we can do to improve our services.

Eunice said: “We recognise the efforts that have gone into this project. It was a difficult challenge and there has been a determination to bring to fruition a number of changes that will benefit tenants, which matters most.”

Thank you to both Eunice and Lynne for all that you have done to improve service delivery over the years and for what you continue to contribute to Bolton at Home and your communities.

Thank you

Thank you for helping us to avoid no access visits. Each time we can’t get into a property results in wasted time and money, so your commitment to being home when we visit makes a big difference.

Getting access to your home for annual servicing appointments is also very important for your safety. Speaking of safety, please ensure you always ask for ID before letting people into your home that you don’t know. Give us a call if you have any doubts.

We hope that you’ll see an improvement in our visiting services. If you’d like to give us your feedback, please get in touch at 01204 328000.

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