River Clyde Homes tenants produce first scrutiny report

Customer-SenateRiver Clyde Homes’ Customer Senate has produced its first scrutiny report which looked at how the Inverclyde based housing association re-let some of its empty properties.

Almost two years ago River Clyde Homes started a programme called ‘Count Me In’ to give customers a real say in developing the services that matter most to them. The Senators were recruited following this customer engagement initiative.

The Senate started its first investigation, to look at the time taken to re-let short term voids, in August last year and has now produced its report which has been agreed by the association’s Board. An action plan has now been developed to follow through on the Senate’s recommendations for improvement.

To compile the report the Senate did a number of things including: looking empty properties in Inverclyde and visiting a well-performing organisation to their empty properties to look at theirs; had collective meetings with managers within River Clyde Homes, had small sub-group sessions to compare the lettable standards of other associations and reviewed records to find out why customers were refusing empty properties.

This new approach to scrutiny has resulted in the Senate making 12 recommendations based on their findings on how services to customers could be improved.

Some of the recommendations include: use incentives to encourage customers to allow access to their homes during the 28 day notice period to see what repairs needs to be carried out; advertise hard to let homes with the possibility of ‘moving in’ packages; and use a 360 degree virtual tour to advertise homes on our choice based lettings website.

Siobhan O’Kane, governance and executive support manager at River Clyde Homes, said: “We really enjoyed working with customers throughout their first scrutiny exercise. They have now taken on the challenge of a second one which will look at the service delivery for aids and adaptations and they would like more customers to join them. This is a great opportunity to make a difference and we would encourage customers to get in touch if they would like to get involved.”

Joyce Stephens, a Senator involved in the first investigation, said: “I really enjoyed the experience of working on the scrutiny report. It was fascinating to gain an insight into the complexities of the process and I hope that the recommendations we made will make a difference to the service. We look forward to monitoring the progress.”

A user friendly summary and the full report can be found here.

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