November 2023: Extra Care Court Newsletter
The November 2023 edition of the Extra Care Court Newsletter will cover the following topics:
- Grab a cuppa with Kris: New opportunities to engage with senior leaders
- Community and Wellbeing Fund
- Share your story with us
- What is antisocial behaviour (ASB) and the procedure to report it
- Celebrating our employees
- Compliments and Complaints Update: Performance update: July to September 2023 - Quarter Two
- Listen to our podcast!
- Your feedback matters
- Pendants – testing procedures
Grab a cuppa with Kris
We’re launching a series of new resident engagement sessions where you can hear key updates and ask those burning questions.
Every three months, Kris Peach, Executive Director of Extra Care, will ‘go live’ on Microsoft Teams to talk about the issues that matter most to you.
In his first session, Kris will be talking about the results of the Resident Satisfaction Survey and how they are shaping our plans for the future. You’ll have the chance to ask Kris your questions using the question and answer function during the session, but feel free to pass on your questions to your scheme manager ahead of the session.
You can find out more about the session and get the link to join on the Grab a Cuppa with Kris webpage.
Community and Wellbeing Fund
The Community and Wellbeing Fund is a new addition to the Helping Hands service we offer and is available to start or further develop a project or social activity at your scheme. The aim of the fund is to improve wellbeing and bring people together with neighbours and the wider community.
There are three tiers of funding available, and your scheme could apply for anywhere up to £750 towards your project’s total cost. We have already awarded money from the fund to some schemes to go towards garden furniture, a BBQ, a karaoke machine, food hygiene training and exercise equipment!
Jan, a resident at Bluebell Gardens and the Chair of the scheme’s Community Committee, is sharing some of her top tips for applying for a grant:
- Make sure your project and the application meet the fund’s objectives.
- Open up your project to all residents and the wider community. More people benefit and it’s a good way to meet your neighbours.
- Make sure you explain in your application what you are doing to make your project affordable and if you are asking for a larger amount, how you will help fund it. Tell them if residents are contributing or if there are other funding sources. For example, Bluebell Gardens has a regular entertainment evening and residents pay a small fee to attend.
If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved at your scheme, please speak to your local manager.
The Community and Wellbeing Fund is not available to leasehold schemes. If you have any questions, please speak to your local manager.
Share your story with us
As part of our work to promote Housing 21 as a great place to live, we want to share the stories of our residents to highlight the diverse groups of people we have living in our schemes. We’re collecting stories and sharing them as case studies on our website, social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, and in printed materials.
Over the next few months, our focus will be on three key themes to tie in with upcoming awareness days:
- Serving in the Armed Forces
- Living with a health condition
If you have a story to share about one of these three themes – maybe you served in the military, volunteer for a cause close to your heart or want to raise awareness of a health condition you’ve experienced, we would love to hear from you!
Each of us has a story to tell, and we want to share yours. Contact us by emailing the Communications Team or speak to your scheme manager and ask them to get in touch with us.
What is antisocial behaviour?
What is antisocial behaviour (ASB) and the procedure to report it
Antisocial behaviour is ‘behaviour that would generally be considered to cause nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to anyone in the community.’ ASB can be classified as a nuisance, harassment or abuse which may cause significant distress to those who are affected by this type of behaviour. It may sometimes involve criminal activity and differs to neighbour nuisance.
If you have any concerns or questions about ASB, please speak to your scheme manager and they can refer to our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy and Procedure, with information about how it can be prevented, recorded, managed and resolved. You can also read more in the Resident Handbook.
Celebrating our employees
Have you had a positive experience with one of our employees?
Perhaps they have supported you with claiming benefits, or generally gone above and beyond to support you?
If so, we would love to hear from you and to share your story to make sure our people are recognised for Making a Difference (MAD).
Compliments and Complaints Update Performance update: July to September 2023 - Quarter Two
We always welcome and value compliments about our employees and services. We have received a total of 254 compliments this quarter. 73 percent were about employees/teams, 26 percent about services and one percent about our contractors.
We received 38 formal complaints this period (19 in Retirement Living and 19 in Extra Care). This compared to 35 for the same period in the previous financial year. Our local managers are working hard to try to resolve as many complaints informally as possible, meaning we resolve your issues as soon as we can.
During this quarter we received 203 informal complaints of which approximately 19 percent (38) progressed to stage one and 12 complaints progressed to stage two. However, some of those complaints were initially logged at stage one in the previous quarter. In the year to date, 23 percent of all formal stage one complaints received have been escalated to stage two by the complainant.
Our performance against the response targets which are set within the Housing Ombudsman Complaints Handling Code are as follows:
- Acknowledgement of stage one formal complaints within five working days
- We achieved 100 percent
- Response to stage one formal complaints within 10 working days
- We achieved 91 percent (three outside timescale)
- Response to stage two formal complaints within 20 working days
- We achieved 100 percent
Note: at time of this article three formal complaints were still in progress and within target timescale for response. Performance is reported on complaints that are responded to.
The types of complaints which are logged as ‘Other’ include: damage to property (one) and issues relating to fairness and/or respect (two).
Learning from formal complaints
Complaints are important to us, because if we get something wrong there may be changes we need to make to improve our services. We call these ‘lessons learnt.’
Learning from complaints has mainly been related to local learning at schemes. A common theme no matter what the subject of the complaint is a failure to follow policy and procedure, such as anti-social behaviour, lettings or mediation, which we are working to improve.
Some examples of local learning are:
- Ensuring employees working at night display ID cards
- Ensuring reports of antisocial behaviour (ASB) are dealt with promptly and the provision of additional lighting on sensors to deter ASB
- Ensuring that sales and scheme literature have an explanation on cover arrangements for long term absence
- Identifying poor performance of a contractor early on, obtaining another quote and changing the contractor
- Ensuring that all new residents have received their pendant alarm on moving in
- Employee training on communication with residents, including professional boundaries and customer service
- Reminders of the process for wellbeing checks with reference to personal preference
- Reviewing new resident rent accounts at team meetings to ensure speedy and effective communication and support on any arrears issues
- Ensuring there is a discussion with residents if photographs need to be taken of repairs issues
- Training on complaints handling and record keeping
- Training on the procedure for accessing residents’ property
- Training on asbestos awareness
- Ensuring Powers of Attorney are invited to service charge meetings
We continue to review how we learn from our formal complaints and make sure changes are actioned and recorded so we can see how services are improved. We are implementing changes through our internal complaints groups, and a resident-led complaints group.
We dealt with 203 informal complaints with 81 percent being responded to within 10 working days. The main areas of complaint are care (24 percent), repairs (20 percent), employees (13 percent) and housing issues (10 percent). The more complaints we can handle informally helps our residents get quick resolutions to their concerns.
Further details about our complaints policy and procedure can be found on the complaints pages of our website.
Housing Ombudsman Update
The Housing Ombudsman looks at complaints from residents from different types of housing providers if residents remain unhappy with the response from their landlord. Its work is funded by annual landlord subscription fees. Investigating these complaints is a free, independent and impartial service for residents about their housing related complaints.
We received three case requests during this period (of which one was later withdrawn) and one determination which related to the previous financial year. Case requests can take many months for the Housing Ombudsman to process and so determinations can often relate to a previous financial year. Our target is zero at fault cases.
Regretfully, we received two at fault determinations during the quarter (one service failure and one maladministration) relating to cases submitted in 2021. In both cases the issues related to ASB handling, the associated complaint handling and record keeping. Both complaints were originally dealt with prior to the implementation of the new ASB and complaints policies and associated training that was carried out across the operational teams, which has meant we have already met any requirements set out by the Ombudsman.
The Housing Ombudsman Service can be contacted at any point during the complaints process for advice and guidance using the following contact details:
Listen to our podcast
Tune in to 21 Talks; a podcast showing that at every age, everyone has important stories to tell and opinions to share.
We have episodes on sustainability, the Extra Care Academy and inclusivity and financial wellbeing, featuring our wonderful Housing 21 employees and residents!
Have you listened to our latest episode on getting to grips with tech? This episode is all about our residents using technology in their day-to-day life and how technology has changed over the years. Within the episode we highlight how Housing 21 can help you be more confident online by signing up to our new Digital Eagles course – please speak to your scheme manager for more information.
If you have an idea for a topic we could discuss in the next episode and would like to feature in our 21 Talks podcast, please contact the Communications Team.
Your feedback matters
Trustpilot is an independent website where you can review organisations and share your experience. We value your feedback and know that potential future residents want to know what it is like to live at a Housing 21 property. You can help with this by leaving a review on the Trustpilot website to let people know about your experience.
Pendant testing procedures
A reminder that all residents should now be testing their own pendant alarm once a month. This arrangement has the added benefit of helping residents to build confidence in using the equipment. Please ensure you test your pendant alarm from inside your accommodation, not in the communal areas.
New residents, during their tenancy sign-up, are informed that it is a resident’s responsibility to carry out a monthly pendant test. However, where a Scheme Manager believes a resident is unable to test their pendant, or they have no immediate family members to support them, they will carry out the test. If you have any queries or concerns about pendants / pendant testing, please contact your local manager.
Please don't forget to test your pendant alarm.
A monthly test is all it needs to ensure it is working effectively.
If you have any comments on this newsletter, please contact your Scheme Manager.