Annual Report to Tenants







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Annual Report to Tenants

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Customer care and complaints


Customer involvement


Maintaining and improving homes


Letting homes and setting rents


Communal areas, neighbourhoods and anti-social behaviour


Providing good value for money


Being well managed and financially secure


Regeneration and development


Supported housing


Blue Mountain Housing Association


Revival Home Improvement Agency


Customer influence has developed this year, with the SHA Residents’ Panel (SHARP) completing its first scrutiny of SHA’s service provision.

SHARP examined planned improvements, such as window replacements, consulting with residents and staff, and presented a report to the Board of Management detailing recommendations for future improvements to this service.

Service Improvement Panels (SIPs) met with staff to review policies, and ‘mystery shoppers’ have looked in detail at the quality of reception services, the telephone answering service and the standard of properties prepared for reletting. Customers do influence SHA, and by working together we can improve services for everyone. Ann Starkie Chair of SHA Residents’ Panel (SHARP)

I want to personally thank all SHA customers who have worked so enthusiastically throughout the year, giving us their valuable time, knowledge and experience to help us improve the services we deliver.

I can see from this report that, because of the involvement of customers, the things that are important to you are being tackled or made priorities for improvement.

The amount of involvement in policy, scrutiny, mystery shopping and day-to-day feedback is tremendous. SHARP’s first full scrutiny review of a service is a major milestone for us and a genuine step forward in developing a true partnership between staff, customers and our board of management. We are all looking

forward to the year ahead and continuing to build on the great progress everyone is making.

Diane Lea Chief Executive

Welcome to our second Annual Report to Tenants. When putting this report together, we took note of your comments on last year’s report and worked with a group of customers who gave their views on the style of this report and the information in it. It did not get the ‘customer approved’ stamp until the working group was satisfied that it was interesting, easy-to-read and appealing to look at. We have stayed with the simple format of looking at each service area in turn and giving summaries of what we have done, what we are doing this year, how this compares with others, and where we need to improve.

We hope you enjoy reading the report, and if you want to become more involved in influencing what we do, please get in touch with Adrian Foster, our Customer Involvement Co-ordinator.


Customer care and complaints

What we have achieved


Following a ‘mystery shop’ (where •

trained customers test a service) of our email responses, we found we were not answering emails as quickly as we should have. We changed our procedure to help us answer emails more efficiently.

We have started to use a new call •

monitoring system which shows us how many calls we receive and when we receive them. This information helps us make sure we have enough staff answering calls at busy times. We now include a yearly report on •

complaints in SHA News. It gives key facts and figures about complaints and how we handled them, and reports on lessons we have learned.

We have trained all customer-facing •

housing staff to be able to give benefits advice to customers.

What we are doing this year


Continuing our programme of mystery •

shops to check the standard of service we give to people who contact us. Giving staff guidance on answering •

the most frequent queries we receive. This will help us deal with more of your requests immediately without having to pass you on to other staff.

SHARP (SHA Residents’ Panel) will •

inspect our complaints service. Continuing our two-year project to •

achieve ‘Investors in Diversity’. This is an official accreditation awarded to organisations who can demonstrate that they treat their customers fairly and equally.

Introducing customer contact •

management. This is a system which will track the progress of the queries we are dealing with.

Where we need to


Our new website with improved •

information for customers has not yet gone ‘live’. We will make sure it does so later this year.

Increase satisfaction levels with our •

complaints service. SHARP’s inspection of the service will help us to identify areas to improve the service and we will use their report to put an action plan in place.

Deal with your emails more quickly and •

improve the quality of our responses.

How we compare and value

for money

We asked you to rate your satisfaction with our reception service from 1-10, with 10 being completely satisfied. Here’s how you rated us in 2010/11, and how it compares to 2009/10.

Our target

rating Your average rating in 2009/10 Your average rating in 2010/11 9.5 9.8 10


Where we need to


Engage more younger customers to •

get involved with us and help ensure that we are working with a diverse range of customers.

Feed information back more regularly •

and keep you informed of how residents have shaped the services that you receive.

How we compare and value

for money

When compared with other •

organisations using statistics from HouseMark*, we are an association that spends an average amount on involving customers, while satisfaction with customer involvement puts us in the top 25% of similar-sized housing associations.

What we have achieved


Nearly 500 of you took part in the •

roadshow event where we asked which service elements are most important to you and where we could make improvements.

We used what you told us on the •

roadshow to develop new ‘Customer Service Standards’ which we sent out to all tenants.

The Staffordshire Housing Association •

Residents’ Panel (SHARP) carried out their first scrutiny review. They looked in detail at the planned maintenance service and produced a report of recommendations which went to our Board of Management. If you would like a copy of the report and recommendations, please ask. We have trained 10 customers •

as mystery shoppers. So far, the shoppers have tested our reception, phones and email services. Following their findings, we have included improvements in our staff action plans.

16% of our involved customers •

have come from minority ethnic communities, which has exceeded our target of 10%.

The ‘Live and Learn’ customer training •

programme has proved popular, with over 100 customers due to take part in some form of training or activity by the autumn.

What we are doing this year


SHARP will carry out three more •

scrutiny reviews, focusing on complaints, responsive repairs, and lettings.

A group of younger members of staff •

will be carrying out some work during 2011 to see how we can engage and consult more effectively with younger tenants.

Setting up a Service Improvement •

Panel (SIP) specifically for customers living in supported housing schemes. Starting to use social networking sites •

to feed back and communicate with you informally.

Customer involvement

*HouseMark is an organisation which compares the performance of housing associations and helps associations share learning and best practice.


Maintaining and improving homes

What we have achieved


All SHA homes met the Decent Homes •

Standard by December 2010 (a national standard set by the government).

We spent £2.5 million on home repairs, •

which included 7,525 responsive repair jobs.

We invested £1.3 million on •

improvements and installed: 725 new windows; •

170 new external doors; •

50 new central heating boilers; and •

35 major adaptations. e.g. Level •

access shower rooms.

We now offer two-hour appointment •

slots for all urgent and routine repair jobs, and we offer Saturday morning appointments for minor electrical and plumbing repairs.

We have maintained our target to •

complete 85% of repairs at the first visit.

We prepared 288 properties ready •

for re-letting and improved customer satisfaction with the standard we achieved. (265 in 2009/2010) We now give customers a leaflet •

explaining what happens when they are having their kitchen replaced - you told us that this would be helpful.

What we are doing this year


Investing £2.3 million in your homes. •

Part of the money will be spent on responsive repairs, gas safety checks and external painting, and £994,000 of it will provide:

85 new kitchens; •

40 new central heating boilers; •

30 new bathrooms; •

40 major adaptations; and •

500 new smoke alarms. •

We have appointed a Team Leader •

who will be responsible for responsive repairs. We will also be recruiting another Technical Officer, which will give us more time to inspect homes and ensure we maintain standards.

Reviewing our empty homes service to •

identify improvements so homes are prepared for letting quicker.

Where we need to


On responsive repairs, we need to: Make booking repair appointments •

more flexible.

Investigate using text message •

reminders for customers.

On planned maintenance, we need to: Develop useful customer guides which •

explain what happens when we replace bathrooms or windows.

Give feedback to customers at the end •

of a project and explain what we have learned for the future.

Make sure you know who our technical •

staff are when they are supervising improvement contracts.

Ask you to sign to say that you •

are happy with the quality of the improvement work we have done. Hold review meetings with customers, •

staff and contractors once work has been finished.

Use telephone as well as postal surveys •

to give you more opportunity to tell us how satisfied you are.

Carry out return visits to schemes to •

check on ongoing customer satisfaction with the work carried out.

How we compare and value

for money

We are comparing our repair costs with those of other local housing associations to ensure that the services we pay for are competitively priced.

When we compared our repairs completion performance against 28 other associations in the West Midlands, we came out fifth best. Herefordshire Housing came out top by completing 100% of their routine repairs within the target time. The table below shows how we compared with some of the more local organisations.

We asked you to rate your satisfaction with our repairs services from 1-10, with 10 being completely satisfied.

Here’s how you rated us in 2010/11, and how it compares to 2009/10. Category Our target rating Your average rating in 2009/10 Your average rating in 2010/11 Responsive repairs 9.5 9.1 9.1 Gas servicing 9.5 8.9 9.4 Planned works 9.5 8.3 9.0

Aids and adaptations 9.5 N/A 9.6

Percentage of routine repairs completed within target time

SHA 99.6%

South Staffordshire HA 99.4% West Midlands average 98.0% Aspire Housing 97.4% Moorlands Housing 96.3%


Letting homes and setting rents

What we have achieved


We let 248 homes: •

Overall satisfaction with the •

lettings service was 92%, compared to 93% last year. 12.2% of lettings were to •

people from minority ethnic communities. Our target was at least 10%.

We worked with residents and •

partners to introduce four ‘local lettings plans’ which allow us to respond flexibly to local issues. We have improved the quality •

of information we give to people who want to join our housing register, and the information we give to new customers when they move in.

What we are doing this year


Introducing more scheme-based local •

lettings plans which will allow us to respond to local issues when we let homes.

Reviewing the way we re-let empty •

homes so we can make the process more efficient by saving staff time.

Where we need to


It currently takes us just over 4 weeks •

to let a property. We aim to reduce this to 3 weeks.

Continue to improve the quality of •

information we give to customers when they move into their home. Increase the level of customers’ •

satisfaction with their new homes.

How we compare and value

for money

When we compared the number of days it took us to relet an empty home against 19 other associations in the West Midlands, we were ranked 16th best. The table below shows how we compared with some other organisations during 2009/10.

Here’s how we compared with others when we looked at the percentage of rent lost due to homes being empty. We were ranked 9th out of 16.

When we compared the percentage of rent due to us that we collected against 14 other associations, we were ranked 6th best. Worcester Housing came out top. The table below shows how we compared with some of the more local organisations.

* All figures include collecting rent arrears as well as current rent. This is why some figures are above 100%.

Average number of days taken to relet an empty home

Herefordshire Housing 14 Moorlands Housing 17.4 Trent and Dove Housing 20.7 West Midlands average 21 South Staffordshire HA 21.6

SHA 29.5

Accord Housing 30.3

Percentage of rent lost due to homes being empty

Elgar Housing 0.49%

Spa Housing 0.67%

Herefordshire Housing 0.68% West Midlands average 1% Accord Housing 1.23%

SHA 1.26%

Moseley & District Housing 1.52%

Percentage of rent due to us that we collected

Moorlands Housing 101.57%* Family Housing 100.67%* West Midlands average 100% Accord Housing 99.22%

SHA 99.58%

Aspire Housing 98.9% South Staffordshire HA 96.5%

How we let our homes

33.5% of homes were let to people nominated by our local authority partners. 56% of homes were let through our choice-based lettings scheme. 8.5% of homes were let to existing tenants who had requested transfers. 2.0% of homes were let to other agencies.


Communal areas, neighbourhoods and anti-social behaviour (ASB)

What we have achieved


We inspected all SHA housing •

schemes throughout the year. For homes that are not part of larger ‘schemes’ and do not receive scheme visits, we introduced a home condition questionnaire which enabled residents to self-assess their homes.

We dealt with 165 new anti-social •

behaviour (ASB) complaints. Most were resolved by our housing officers agreeing solutions with the people involved.

We took legal action to prevent ASB in •

18 cases. This resulted in two evictions and four injunctions.

We used independent mediation •

services to resolve three neighbour disputes.

42 customers used the out-of-hours •

ASB response service. We introduced three ‘estate •

agreements’ to help deal with ASB in specific locations.

We held regular meetings with the •

police and other landlords throughout North Staffordshire to agree ways to deal with ASB.

We had an independent review of •

our ASB service and put together an action plan to make improvements. The Tenancy and Estate SIP (Service •

Improvement Panel) produced a ‘good neighbour’ leaflet which we sent to all tenants.

What we are doing this year


Staff from different SHA teams will •

join housing staff on scheme visits following suggestions from customers. Customer ‘mystery shoppers’ will •

carry out scheme inspections. Offering new customers a ‘financial •

health check’ to ensure they can pay their housing costs.

Working with customers on a review •

of the communal cleaning service to make sure that we are delivering a high quality service that is good value for money.

Using a ‘customer contact system’. •

This IT system will help us keep track of our progress when dealing with ASB reports.

Where we need to


Provide customers with financial •

‘health checks’ and advice, and continue to help them use financial services.

Improve customer satisfaction with •

communal cleaning at schemes.

How we compare and value

for money

Compared to other housing •


We provide high quality but high •

cost estate management services. We provide average cost ASB •

services but achieve customer satisfaction rates in the top 25% of associations.

We asked you to rate your satisfaction with our ASB service from 1-10, with 10 being completely satisfied.

Here’s how you rated us in 2010/11, and how it compares to 2009/10. Our target rating Your average rating in 2009/10 Your average rating in 2010/11 9.5 9.2 9.0

We asked you to rate your satisfaction with our estate management service from 1-10, with 10 being completely satisfied.

Here’s how you rated us in 2010/11, and how it compares to 2009/10.

Our target

rating Your average rating in 2009/10 Your average rating in 2010/11 9.5 8.2 8.1

We asked you to rate your satisfaction with our money advice service from 1-10, with 10 being completely satisfied. Here’s how you rated us in 2010/11, and how it compares to 2009/10. Our target rating Your average rating in 2009/10 Your average rating in 2010/11 9.5 N/A 10


Providing good value for money

What we have achieved


We have shown value for money improvements against each standard in this report. Below we list of some of the financial benefits achieved.

We have obtained 100% funding to •

carry out cavity wall insulation on 43 individual homes.

We went out to tender and appointed •

a new insurance broker, saving us £27,000, equivalent to 25%.

We have introduced a new decorating •

allowance system. Customers now have a choice of decorating cards from either B&Q or Homebase. If cards are lost we can cancel them, saving us the cost of the lost decorating allowances. Using an energy consultant, we have •

saved £9,000 on communal electricity charges. This saving helps keep service charges down.

We borrowed some money at very •

competitive rates to help us carry out our stock reinvestment programme and take up future development opportunities.

We are now processing our payroll •

ourselves instead of using an external company, saving us £6,000.

What we are doing this year


Re-tendering contracts for •

replacement kitchens, replacement bathrooms, and aids and adaptations to ensure we achieve right quality at the best price.

Reviewing our empty homes processes •

to reduce the time it takes us to re-let homes. This will mean that we are able to collect more rent.

Looking at our spending plans to •

identify other areas where we can make efficiencies.

We have started a programme of •

installing photo-voltaic panels to roofs which will reduce customers electricity bills.

Where we need to


Understand our customers better so •

that we can tailor services to meet individual needs.

Ensure that all our staff have •

objectives to achieve value for money and use this understanding to find efficiencies and make improvements to services.

Understand our estate services costs •


How we compare and value

for money

Bradeley Village, Bradeley

We compared our costs and

performance against 42 similar housing associations in the North and Midlands regions. We found that we had:

Low costs and good performance on: responsive repairs

empty property repairs •

housing management •

Medium costs and good performance on:

resident involvement •

anti-social behaviour management •

cyclical repairs •

High costs and good performance on: estate services


Being well managed and financially secure

What we have achieved (2010/11)

We are in a strong financial position. Our regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, has checked our financial plans and confirmed that they are viable.

We spent £12.7 million developing new homes, including completing a 100 apartment extra care scheme in Stoke and 34 sheltered apartments and bungalows in Normacot. We received £5 million in grants to help finance these schemes.

Where our income came from and where we spent it

Our money came from:

Rents and service charges we collected from you; •

Loans from banks and building societies; and •

Grants from the Homes and Communities Agency and RENEW North Staffordshire. •

Most of the income we received was spent on: Maintaining and improving homes; •

Management costs, such as employee costs, office running costs and insurance premiums; •

Paying interest on loans; •

Providing for future investment on new and existing homes; and •

Scheme services •

During 2010/2011 we received income totalling £12.7 million. Here’s where it came from:

During 2010/2011, every pound we collected from rent and service charges was spent as follows:

9% came from shared ownership property sales.

78% came from rent and service charges.

3% was other income. e.g. Supporting People income

10% came from Revival Home Improvement Agency funding.

Maintaining homes: 27 pence Management costs: 23 pence

Empty homes and bad debts: 3 pence

Loan interest: 21 pence Improving homes: 14 pence Services: 13 pence


Regeneration and development

What we have achieved


We have supported local community •

environmental improvement schemes and neighbourhood days.

We have helped 3 SHA residents •

create business ideas to help them to get back into work.

We have helped to develop 20 •

sporting and community activities in North Staffordshire, including a football team in Chell Heath who are doing well in their league, a dance academy, a community street party and a green and fair trade day. We have developed 156 new homes, •

13 of which have been sold. We received £5 million of funding •

from the Homes and Communities Agency and other agencies for regeneration and development activities.

We have delivered large scale, •

boundary wall and face lift schemes. Over 250 local people have worked •

on our construction sites and we have helped 150 trainees gain valuable work experience.

What we are doing this year


Carrying out a programme of •

improvements, including installing photo voltaic (PV) solar panels on some houses to make them more energy efficient and cheaper for

customers to run.

In response to customer feedback, we •

are working with Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to improve recycling collections at some schemes. Delivering energy advice projects to •

help residents reducing their energy use and save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Building 17 bungalows at Warren •

Road, Chell Heath, on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Building four houses on a former car •

park at London Road, Chesterton. Continuing to take part in a ‘mortgage •

rescue scheme’ where we will help 20 households to remain in their own homes.

Building 40 new homes at London •

Road, Stoke, next to West End Village.

Supported housing

What we have achieved


We opened a new ‘extra care’ scheme, •

West End Village, Stoke, in January. It is a large retirement village with 100 apartments and has a range of communal facilities for residents and the community to use. Support is available 24 hours a day for residents who need it.

We opened Alhambra Court, a •

sheltered scheme in Normacot with culturally sensitive facilities and services to meet the needs of the diverse local community.

We consulted with residents at •

Bradeley Village and conducted a review of the services on offer there. As a result, we started making changes to ensure staff spend more time directly supporting residents. We also introduced a lunch time meal option, relaunched supervised gym sessions and introduced a ‘Get Digital’ project which provided computer equipment and training for residents.

What we are doing this year


We are restructuring our Supported •

Housing Team at head office so that we can work more effectively and efficiently.

We are consulting with residents at •

Hanover House on how we provide housing management, support and caretaking services for the scheme.

We are introducing new roles •

at Bradeley Village - including a Sheltered housing manager, support workers and a community development worker - to help us provide excellent support services and involvement opportunities for residents.

We are introducing a new assessment •

tool to help customers set their own goals for their support plans.


Blue Mountain Housing


Blue Mountain provides support for refugees who are settling in Stoke-on-Trent.

What we have achieved


We achieved 2 ‘A’ ratings and 3 ‘B’ •

ratings in our Supporting People review, showing a significant improvement in the standard of our support services. Working in partnership with HACT •

and B-Arts to launch “How do I?” - a short film to educate new ethnic communities about various beneficial services available.

Organised 2 events on residents’ annual •

activities plan promoting community cohesion and integration of residents. The multicultural diversity and Chinese New Year day were each attended by 50 customers.

More customers have joined our Service •

Improvement Panel (SIP), and there are more opportunities for customers to influence the services they receive. Blue Flash, our newsletter, has •

continued to improve and involve more residents in its production.

What we are doing this year


Improving services with an aim to •

achieve at least 4 ‘A’ ratings in our next review.

Developing customers’ knowledge and •

skills so they can be involved in service improvements.

Aiming to be chosen to deliver a •

floating support contract for refugees. Looking to get funding for more •

projects to help improve community cohesion.

Building stronger relationships with •

our partners to help us provide a more comprehensive service to our customers.

Continuing to offer customers financial •

advice and help them understand how forthcoming changes will affect them. Increasing our awareness of how we •

compare to similar service providers and growing and strengthening our business by offering different services.

Revival Home Improvement


Revival provides assistance to home owners and tenants. They help people to stay independent by providing a range of services such as handyman, falls prevention checks, adaptations and improvements.

What we have achieved


Our customer panel met during •

this year where we discussed how the panel could become more representative of the three local authority areas that Revival works in - Stoke on Trent, Newcastle under Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands.

We also discussed public sector •

funding cuts and asked the panel what the essential services were from the customers’ point of view.

We had 5507 enquiries, of which •

2880 turned into work. This work was house repairs, disabled adaptations and improvements, which were worth £2,890,980.

74% of home visits were completed •

within 2 weeks of enquiry.

What we are doing this year


We will meet with our panel every •

three months in 2011/12. The Kick Start project - which •

provided affordable loans for essential home repairs - is ending this year due to cuts in government funding. We will look to work with another company who can provide affordable loans to enable our customers to have essential work done to their homes. We aim to carry out 80% of home •

visits within 2 weeks of receiving a customer enquiry.


The year’s publications

We sent out a range of publications throughout the year. Here’s a quick snapshot.

If you would like a copy of any of these publications please contact Adrian Foster or email We will be happy to pop one in the post or email you an electronic version.

SHA News continued to keep you up-to-date with news from our teams, service updates, events, residents’ information, competitions and more.

The ‘Being a Good Neighbour’ brochure was written by residents and aimed to help promote friendly relationships.

We worked closely with customers to agree a set of customer service standards. This booklet explains what the standards are and how we will achieve them.

We updated the ‘Live and Learn’ customer training brochure to offer you even more opportunities to learn, including computer courses, hobbies and skills.

‘Go Green’ was full of useful tips on how to save energy, save money, and do your bit to save the planet. It explained some of the jargon out there and looked at what you can do the home, on the road, while out shopping, and more.


If you have any comments about this report please contact Adrian Foster. We really appreciate your views.

308 London Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 5AB Tel: 01782 744533 Fax: 01782 744931

Email: Website:





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