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A year in the life of our customer services committee

Published: 23 January 2023

Our customer services committee is a year old this month, so we thought we’d look back on what the committee has achieved since its inception in January 2023.

The committee was set up to provide a link between our existing tenant scrutiny panel and our board, building on the work of the panel by reviewing our strategies and policies, providing further customer insight, as well as influencing and monitoring our key performance indicators.

We had a great response to our shout-out for committee members in November 2022 and soon recruited five members, Tracey Hindley, Adenson Gumbo, Michael Gore, Michael Rickett and Debbie Rees-Armstrong, with Debbie also becoming chair and a member of the board.

You can read more about the committee members here

The committee was first given an in-depth grounding in three key areas of work for SLH in 2023.

Repairs

They were presented with What is a Repair, a major piece of work by the assets team which aimed to develop customers’ understanding of who is responsible for what when it comes to repairs in their homes.

Rent arrears

They were also given an overview of our current approach to rent arrears, which focusses on supporting tenants through the cost of living crisis to help them manage their rent accounts, and reviewing how we talk about arrears with our customers.

Decarbonisation

With sustainability a key focus for SLH and every other business we also made sure that the committee was up to speed with our work on decarbonising our homes and the delivery of our services.  This included an overview of our roadmap to net zero carbon, our whole house retrofit programme and our work on carbon literacy for colleagues and customers.

To equip the committee with the necessary skills and knowledge, they received a series of mandatory training courses including unconscious bias, transgender and hate crime awareness and risk and compliance training.

Suitably primed, the committee rolled their sleeves up and got busy, starting a series of quarterly service reviews which included a review of our compliance, performance and repairs functions.

They went on to conduct deep dives into the regulatory consumer standards, a set of government standards that ensure that social landlords are well-managed and economically viable, while providing quality homes, choice, protection and hold their landlords to account.

You can read more about the regulatory standards for social housing here

The committee’s deep dives looked at the tenancy standard, the neighbourhood community standard, the tenant involvement and empowerment standard and the home standard.

Our policies were put under the microscope, with ten policies reviewed by the committee including our home ownership, service charge and aids and adaptation policies.

One of the key functions of the committee is to direct and develop the work of the scrutiny panel, which was set to task on review of our damp, mould and condensation and anti-social behaviour policies.

Read about scrutiny panel’s deep dive into damp, mould and condensation here

We caught up with chair of the committee Debbie and asked her to sum up the year.

“As a group we’re delighted with what we’ve achieved in our first year. We’ve been given a real insight into how SLH and the housing sector works before getting under the bonnet of the organisation and making recommendations to improve a whole range of SLH services.

“It’s great to be part of a pathway of engagement for tenants that starts with scrutiny panel and ends with board membership. As a long-term south Liverpool resident, it’s great to be part of a committee that helps SLH co-create services that have real benefit for their customers, and we’re excited to continue our work in 2024.”

What’s in store for 2024?

The committee is looking forward to the challenges that 2024 will bring, building on the great work they have started, and continuing to expand their housing sector knowledge to support the board and lead our scrutiny panel.

Want to get involved?

If you’re interested in getting involved and making a difference at SLH, our scrutiny panel is a great place to start. Directed by the customer services committee, the panel conducts deep dives into our services and recommends changes to the committee and the board.

Find out about scrutiny panel here

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