Here we’ve listed just some examples of changes customers have suggested that Paradigm has responded to already or ideas we are investigating further.
You said: Resident feedback in our Anti-social behaviour working group suggested our automated phone options needed revision.
We did: We have updated our customer service automated phone line. Now when you call, you will be asked to select "option 1” for repairs, gas, property maintenance and improvements, or "option 2” for all other enquiries; including rent, tenancy and estates, and anti-social behaviour.
You said: Residents’ opinions should be considered when improving our properties
We did: We developed a new approach to improving our properties following the completion of our Decent Homes programme. Our new Better Homes Standard takes into account what residents have told us is important to them.
You said: We needed to clarify repair responsibilities for both landlords and tenants.
We did: we carried out a review of how repairs responsibilities are divided between landlord and tenant with the help of a sub-group of the Residents’ Maintenance Group. The results have been included in the latest Repairs and Maintenance booklet of the Information Pack for Tenants.
You said: Residents need to have up-to-date information about who their housing officer is and how they can reach them.
We did: In the Sept 2012 Paradigm People we are publishing a personalised postcard for each resident with the contact details of their Housing Officer, Rent Officer and a range of other key Paradigm contacts.
You said: Tenants of Lea Bridge House hostel said they wanted to be involved in new tenants' application process.
We did: Tenant representatives from the hostel now show new applicants around their floor, have informal chats with the applicants and give feedback to staff.
You said: Lea Bridge residents said they wanted opportunities to speak with fellow tenants and staff members in a social setting.
We did: Coffee mornings are now held in the Lea Bridge reading room every other Thursday. Donations are being collected during the coffee mornings to be used in the running of future social events for tenants.
You said: On a housing officer's walkabout in Hillway, Amersham, residents said they were unable to easily get to the road during adverse weather because of flooding at the bottom of a key access stairwell.
We did: Funding was made available from estates, through our discretionary budget to install an extension to the steps, which enabled residents to once again use the steps.
You said: Our recent STAR satisfaction survey of Paradigm residents gave a clear message – Most residents were happy with the majority of the services we provide, but they were not satisfied with our cleaning and grounds maintenance.
We did: We are carrying out a full review of these services and have pulled together a project team from across Paradigm to make sure the cleaning and ground maintenance services are value for money and meet customer expectations. This will include involving residents in designing the new service and making sure we get it right.
You said: The Community Engagement Panel (a group of residents) wanted to find an effective way of telling all residents that they could apply for grants up to £10,000 by applying to Paradigm’s Community Engagement Fund (CEF). They looked at different ideas, then asked us to produce the flier advertising the CEF that we sent out with Paradigm People.
We did: We designed the flier and sent it out with the magazine. The response was fantastic. We received 10 new applications and lots of requests for application forms. For more information about Community Engagement grants, call Morgan Presland on 01628 811858.
You said: The area panels were consulted about our new Rent Arrears Leaflets and made a number of suggestions
We did: The main tile used for the leaflets was changed from Rent Recovery to Rent Arrears Recovery. We kept the three leaflets but have made it clearer that each one reflects one of the main stages involved in rent arrears recovery, that is: Prevention, Debt Recovery and Court and Eviction. We changed the colour/shading on the Court and Eviction leaflet to make it easier to read. We’ve also added a fourth leaflet for former tenants.
You said: Residents of Clarkson Court in Hatfield were concerned about anti-social behaviour (ASB).
We did: We ran a pilot reporting scheme for ASB from December 2010 to March 2011. During the pilot, we promised to respond to incidents of ASB reported to us within 24 hours. Contact was made and an officer visited the complainant and the alleged perpetrator to try to resolve the situation.
You said: In December 2010, the residents' Readership Panel looked at our new procedures and standard letters for people requesting an urgent move, known as a 'priority move', because they are suffering health problems, anti-social behaviour or other issues.
We did: As a result of their comments, a number of changes were made. For example:
- The tone of the letter was made more sympathetic
- It was made clearer what counted as a priority move
- We confirmed that data would only be shared with family’s permission
- Fleeing violence is now talked about earlier in the process
- More detail was added about the appeals process
- We confirmed that any arrears will be included as a clause in the new tenancy agreement.
We are now working on a new leaflet taking these changes into account.
You said: We surveyed residents who regularly attend our briefing meetings to discuss new developments about what time and day would best suit them.
We did: We changed the meetings from Mondays at 2pm to Thursdays at 1pm.
You said: Residents asked us to publish how shared ownership rent was calculated and what it included.
We did: We have published a Q&A on how the rent is worked out and what it includes on this website. Select Customer Zone and click on Homeownership.
You said: Two focus groups involving 13 residents were held in December to discuss and agree the priorities for residents in our new Diversity and Equality Strategy.
We did: Residents' comments have been included in the main action plan for the strategy. You can find the strategy on our website under About Us, Equality and Diversity or publications strategies. Call Customer Services to request a printed copy.
You said: Residents said they didn't don’t always know the name and phone number for their tenancy and neighbourhood officer.
We did: A look-up facility was added to the home page of the website so you can check at any time.
You said: The Chiltern Residents' Group wanted to lead on a pilot for local housing surgeries.
We did: We helped them to run three surgeries in Prestwood and three in Chalfont St Peter, they spoke to 22 residents and housing officers were able to resolve the issues discussed. We monitored follow up via survey: 80% of those who came said it was beneficial talking to staff and 82% said they would attend another housing surgery. Call Shirley Goddard on 01494 765398 if you would like to attend a surgery in future.
You said: You wanted support for victims and witnesses of low-level anti-social behaviour (ASB) and not just serious cases as we originally proposed.
We did: Support is now available to anyone experiencing ASB at any level, the support is tailored to the situation and the individual.
You said: You want 24-hour support.
We did: So we are reviewing arrangements for dealing with ASB emergencies out of hours. We have added ASB into the Estate Management Standard because you said this affects the quality of the estate.
You said: You told us through a postal survey and feedback at the Residents' Group meetings that:
- You wanted a statement once a year, not monthly or quarterly
- Statements needed to show more clearly what was a credit and what was a debit
- We should add a translation strap line
- There should be fewer guidance notes because too much text puts people off
We did: All these ideas have been adopted and the new-style statements are now in use. You can request a copy of your statement at any time from Customer Services or view your account on line via our website.
You said: After consultation with all residents affected by our car park monitoring scheme, it became clear that everyone wanted a scheme with no direct cost for residents or Paradigm. Both clamping and penalty fine options were considered. Penalty fine schemes gave a cost-free solution to everyone other than those who were parking where they shouldn't.
We did: We formed a Resident Consultation Group to help us develop a scheme and find a contractor. Four preferred candidates were interviewed by Paradigm staff and two representatives from the Resident Consultation Group, and Creative Parking Solutions have been awarded the contract. The penalty fine scheme will be phased in from the 1 October. We will be contacting residents who will benefit from this new scheme to confirm a date when a representative from Creative Parking Solutions and a Tenancy and Neighbourhood Officer can meet with residents to discuss their scheme.
You said: Customers involved in reviewing our new-build schemes said that all refuse stores should be screened and they should be large enough to cope with fortnightly collections.
We did: We included these suggestions in our New-build Design Guide. Following a number of complaints about refuse arrangements at Park Place, Amersham, we changed from black sacks to wheelie bins to improve cleanliness and hygiene (cleaners are now able to clean the floor area every week).
You said: Tenants told us it would be helpful to know where the stop cock and meters were and how the heating worked.
We did: We now provide this information in writing for all new tenants. We also confirm when the next gas safety check will be completed and details of any other work due to be completed after tenants have moved in.
You said: The Sheltered Tenants' Forum said we should not ask tenants' visitors to sign in when they arrive.
We did: Now we only ask contractors, home help, carers and cleaners to do so.
You said: The Residents' Forum said that residents should decide how Paradigm's Community Engagement Fund should be spent.
We did: All four residents groups (then called area panels) were involved in discussing the way forward and agreed to nominate representatives to sit on the Community Engagement Fund Panel. The panel has now allocated £60,000 in grants to community projects.
You said: The Residents' Maintenance Group has been involved in reviewing our priority times for repairs.
We did: Customer feedback has also led us to review the appointment time slots offered to customers. See survey results, page 6.
You said: We knew we needed to tell our customers more about how we perform compared to our targets, but we did not know what key performance indicators customers wanted to see.
We did: A special Residents' Forum meeting was called in March 2010 where options were reviewed and members selected 10. These are now reported in full every month on Paradigm's website, and the top 10 are published in Paradigm People.
You said: Our customer profiling information has told us that a growing number of our customers are under 35.
We did: To make sure we offer ways to get involved that are attractive to younger residents, we decided to develop a strategy and tailor our approach to them. We spoke to young people and children of residents via face to face interviews, focus groups, postal surveys and a residential weekend. When the strategy objectives went to a joint Residents' Forum/Board meetingin May 2010, it was co-presented by Paradigm's 18-year old Tom Pirouet, whose parents are Paradigm tenants, and Community Involvement Manager, Anthea Watkins.
You said: Customers involved in reviewing our new-build schemes said that all refuse storage areas should be screened or enclosed and they should be large enough to cope with fortnightly collections.
We did: We included these suggestions in our New-build Design Guide.
You said: Feedback indicated that customers would like to listen to some music if they are on hold, while a Customer Services team member researches their question. Previously some customers thought they had been cut because the line was silent.
We did: We posted three potential tracks on our website and asked customers to vote for their favourite. The winning piece of music was 'As If No One Is Watching' receiving well over 50% of the votes cast.
You said: The Resident Maintenance Group has been looking at how we divide up the budget for our programme of fitting new kitchens. They have been working hard to determine the right balance between fitting as many new kitchens as possible while meeting our customers' desired space and storage requirements. One issue that comes up frequently is a wish from tenants to have more units provided as part of the package.
We did: We have returned to adopt a policy of providing a like-for-like replacement kitchen (subject to it satisfying at least our minimum standards for storage). This means customers will not generally find that they 'lose' any units in a re-fitted kitchen in future.
You said: You would like stamps on documents to show where residents had been consulted during their creation.
We did: We have created two stamps for documents such as new leaflets stating ‘Residents’ Forum approved’ or ‘residents consulted’. These will soon start to appear on new publications.
You said: That having one publication for all customer feedback was confusing and the title ‘Reaction’ on the leaflet did not make it clear what it was about.
We did: We have produced two separate customer advice leaflets called ‘Concerns, Compliments and Suggestions’ and ‘How to make a Formal Complaint’ Both have feedback forms attached.
You said: The Reaction card wasn’t tailored to the feedback you wanted to give and it wasn’t confidential.
We did: The forms have been redesigned to make it easier to record your thoughts or concerns. They have seals so that they can be returned confidentially by Freepost or you can post them into Customer Feedback boxes provided in our reception areas in White Hill, Chesham or Rusilip in West London.
You said: You felt that someone in a more senior position should handle a complaint from the outset.
We did: Team Leaders and/or the appropriate Line Manager will now be responsible for handling an initial complaint.
You said: Four stages were too many for a complaints process - the process should be handled more quickly by a simpler process.
We did: We have reduced our complaints process to three stages and have shortened some of the response times within each stage so you get a resolution more quickly.
You said: At an Accompanied Estate Inspection at Honeysuckle Field in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, residents pointed out overgrown bushes, shrubs and trees planted too close to the buildings. These were originally planted by residents who no longer maintain them and they were not covered by our service contract.
We did: Grounds maintenance contractors were engaged for an initial clearance. Our contractor will look after all these trees and shrubs in future.
You said: The grass and bushes around The Foyer in Hatfield were looking scruffy.
We did: We called in The Green Team - a charity Foyer residents frequently volunteer for - and they cut down the bushes and returfed the area around the base of the building.
You said: In the 2009 Letting Survey, tenants said we should give our new residents information about how the heating and hot water systems work when we let a property.
We did: We now find a copy of the manufacturer’s user guide for each system on the internet and leave it in the property, or pass it to the new resident with their keys.
You said: More information should be given to new residents when they move into a property about the repairs and improvement work planned for their home. They should also be told the location of the stop cock and fuse box.
We did: This information is now provided via an information sheet which also gives information about where the stop cock and meters are and when the next gas safety check is due for the property.
You said: Customers and HQN mystery shoppers said that we did not always answer or return your calls in line with our customer service standards.
We did: We have increased the number of mystery shops undertaken by our team of residents to monitor our performance more closely. We also had a customer care refresher campaign for staff during February and March 2010.