Customer report 2018/19

An exciting view into a vibrant company

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Moving forward

2018/19 marked Chorus Homes first full year in the Places for People Group. It’s gone very quickly, and we have achieved a significant amount in that short space of time.

Joining the group has been a very positive experience, and it’s been a pleasure to work with new colleagues up and down the country. Much has changed locally at Chorus Homes, not to mention a change of name! We took a big step forward with repairs by transferring the service to Places Management, a specialist team within Places for People who have a strong track record for delivering excellent customer service.

During the year, I was so delighted to see a growing number of our customers getting involved with us to help shape our services, by suggesting a range of improvements.

We’ve been making big strides against targets in our business plan, delivering homes in Huntingdon and Peterborough, and planning hundreds more over the next few years. Developing new homes continues to be a priority. At the same time we’ve also been hard at work upgrading our existing housing stock and improving customer services.

Looking forward, our focus will be on encouraging more customers to get involved with us, and to provide a greater range of services online so that they are available at any time to fit in with the busy lives our customers lead.

Nigel Finney
Managing Director,
Chorus Homes

A new name for Luminus Group

On 17 June 2019 Luminus was renamed as Chorus Homes.

Our address, other contact details and tenants and leaseholder’s rights and responsibilities remain unchanged.

Our new name, and our new mission statement, “Working together, creating great places to live” were created with the help of our staff. They reflect that, as part of Places for People, we work with you to improve services, build new homes and support communities.

Annual report statistics 2018/19

The following figures demonstrate areas where we are on target and where we can improve for your benefit.
KPIs correct as at 1 April 2019.

100% of our homes have a valid gas safety certificate

0.5% empty homes as a percentage of total stock

Target 0.5%

26 days average time taken to relet general needs homes

Target 25 days

2.8% percentage of current tenant rent arrears

Target 2.8%

99.4% rent collected as a percentage of annual rental income

Target 99.8%

91% repairs appointments made and kept

Target 93%

96% of repairs completed right first time

Target 88%

100% homes with gas safety certificates

Target 100%

23 days average time taken to complete routine repairs

Target 28 days

96% satisfaction with repairs

Target 85%

100% communal areas with fire risk assessments

Target 100%

95% emergency repairs appointments kept

Target 99%
 

Highlights of the year

New homes built

We built 10 new homes at Paston, Peterborough. These affordable, high quality family-sized houses for rent will provide wonderful, energy efficient homes.

We began an exciting new development of 77 much needed homes for rent and shared ownership at Drovers Place in Huntingdon. The development is testament to Chorus Homes delivering on social housing promises. It will have a hugely positive impact on the local community.

New repairs service

Chorus Homes repairs service is now managed by Places Management, a specialist team within Places for People. The change took place in October 2018.

Chorus Homes vans and uniforms have been replaced and now carry the new brand of Places Management. Places Management gives our residents peace of mind by making sure their homes and neighbourhoods are well cared for with expertly planned and executed maintenance and timely repairs.

Celebrating community heroes

The winners of the 7th Annual Community Inspiration Awards were celebrated in July.

The awards recognise the achievements of local people who have gone the extra mile to serve their communities.

More resident involvement

We began a new relationship with the country’s biggest tenant engagement experts Tpas. Tpas’ membership covers over 2.5 million homes.

With the help of Tpas, we will improve our tenant engagement activities to bring real and longlasting change to communities.

Inspiring the next generation

We visited local schools to speak directly to the next generation, to help develop accountability, responsibility and a sense of pride in their communities.

The aim of our ‘Junior Warden’ scheme is to engage students in fun activities that educates them about issues affecting their local community such as recycling, gardening and road safety.

Supporting people

In December, we joined hundreds of other housing organisations signing the Make a Stand pledge.

Tragically, two women are killed every week by their partner or ex-partner. Signing the pledge shows our commitment to support people experiencing domestic abuse.

Creating interactive events

We held our first new-look Conference in November.

Residents found out more about the changes since we joined Places for People and told us what they think. The conference was very interactive and, based on feedback from residents, the conferences are going from strength to strength.

Acting on resident’s views

In November 2018 we asked residents for their views on how we are doing. You told us where we are doing well, and where you would like us to improve.

From the results, we created a Customer Action Plan which will improve services over the next 12 months.

Improving our services

A new panel for residents was formed in January. It decided to review the way we deal with antisocial behaviour.

The report by the Scrutiny Panel made many good recommendations that we will implement.

Scrutiny Panel members carry out regular reviews and suggest improvements to our services.

Improving our online services

We have a new website and we continue to improve what we offer online. We listen to your feedback and use it to improve our digital services.

In addition to the new website, we have given our newsletter a new look and a new name. In Tune is available both on the website and as a paper copy. We have taken on board your views and will bring you stories and articles that are helpful and informative.

Residents completed a questionnaire to let us know how they use digital devices and this will help us improve how we develop and deliver our online services.

 

Looking after our homes

Ensuring our housing stock is well maintained is an important part of Chorus Homes’ day-to-day operation and where the organisation spends a significant amount of money.

In 2018/19 we spent over £10 million on repairs and maintenance to homes and communal areas.

We also invested in the refurbishment of properties, installing energy efficient boilers to around 280 homes and installing 80 new kitchens.

We spent £650,000 on renewing roofs, helping protect our homes as well as reducing heat loss.

We are committed to investing in our homes and improving our neighbourhoods for current and future generations.

Award winning residents

Chorus Homes resident, Pam Brehaut, showed great bravery in rescuing her neighbour from a fire, and stopping it from spreading further. The fire service confirmed that her actions prevented a major incident.

Mrs Brehaut received the Places for People Good Neighbour Award.

Congratulations also goes to resident Peter Wright on winning the prestigious Hunts Forum Rural Volunteer Award.

Peter spoke at a Tpas Eastern Members Event about how he is helping to shape services and enabling residents to have a voice.

Following a national recruitment process, Chorus Homes resident Janet Boston will be joining 11 other residents on the National Housing Federation’s National Tenant Panel.

Well done to all our inspirational residents who really go the extra mile to get involved and make a difference.

A special relationship

In May we created a new Resident Involvement team, comprising of a Resident Involvement Manager and a Resident Involvement Officer. Working closely with our colleagues from across the Group, the team have implemented new ways of working with residents.

In the last year our Resident Involvement team has grown in confidence and embraced working at a national level with Tpas, the tenant engagement experts. This has provided a fantastic opportunity to share good practice and gain a wider customer viewpoint.

At Chorus Homes we are committed to listening to your views. Customers can be involved in shaping our services in a variety of ways including customer feedback, customer satisfaction surveys, through social media and getting involved in one of our groups.

A key part of our work is to develop our customer offer, and we have continued to do this throughout the year.

Customer surveys

Throughout the year we carried out a number of customer surveys. Our Customer Opinion Survey was completed by 951 tenants (a response rate of 13%). The survey gave residents the opportunity to tell us what they think about how we provide services and how we can improve.

You said we could improve our customer service centre, repairs and maintenance and anti-social behaviour service.

Putting your views into action, we have developed a Customer Service Action Plan, which was approved by our Board and will be making changes to how we deliver services and communicate with you.

We are planning to carry out a number of further surveys to find out your views on subjects such as digital services and how you would like to be involved in Chorus Homes.

Volunteering opportunities

Over the past year Chorus Homes worked in partnership with Cambridge Regional College, and offered three Business Studies students work placements. These were extremely successful and we will be increasing numbers in the new academic year.

Chorus Homes roadshows

We held three Summer Roadshows during 2018 in St Ives, St Neots and Cambridge.

At the roadshows we promoted our values and the ways in which tenants can make a difference.

Getting involved

We have a number of ways that you can be involved. Some of these initiatives can be done from the comfort of your own home and would require very little time, but could make a very big difference.

They include:

  • Community/Block Representatives
  • Mystery Shoppers
  • Editorial Panel
  • Focus Groups
  • Resident Associations

Resident involvement

At Chorus Homes, residents are involved in a range of ways.

These include:

  • 33 Street/Block Representatives
  • 6 Editorial Panel members
  • 63 residents a month at sheltered scheme drop-in sessions
  • 45 attendees at bi-annual residents conferences
  • 6 scrutiny panel members
  • 2 Independent Complaints Panel members
  • 60 children per academic year in our Junior Wardens

Find out more

To find out more please visit the get involved section of this website.

Adding social value

Social housing is about helping those who are vulnerable and serving our communities. We have added social value in a number of ways.

Our Neighbourhood Warden Team dealt with over 3,800 issues from January to April 2019 including community dropins and carrying out safety inspections.

Our HOPE Shop has seen a significant increase in footfall with almost 200 customers using the service. HOPE provides good quality, low cost household items to the community. HOPE Social Enterprises provided essential maintenance work through cleaning and gardening services.

HOPE currently has four regular volunteers, two who joined through the Chorus Homes Ex-Offender project.

HOPE has also provided regular work experience for two SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) students from Cambridgeshire Regional College.

HOPE is working on projects to offer more places to for the forthcoming academic year.

Chorus Homes has jointly secured funding with PECT from UK Power Network to deliver free home energy advice to 150 homes.

Learning together

Learning from Complaints

In 2018-19 we investigated 18 Stage 1 complaints and two of these escalated to Stage 2. One complaint was heard by our Independent Complaints Panel. The learning from customer complaints is invaluable to us, as it helps us to improve services and develop new ways of working.

Outcomes

As a result of your insight, we have created our first Customer Service Action Plan. The plan will be rolled out during 2019-20 and is a positive step to improve the customer experience.

We recognise that we could communicate with and update our customers more effectively, and we are working to improve this.

So far our Neighbourhoods Teams have undertaken the Housing Ombudsman’s Dispute Resolution training, and we have developed our own Person Centred training so we can effectively support our customers when they need it.

The future

2018-19 saw the introduction of our new Resident Involvement Strategy and we have recruited a new Customer Experience Manager.

Our Customer Experience Manager analyses all of your feedback, from surveys to complaints and compliments, and works with colleagues from different departments to service improvements.

As a result we have:

  • Conducted a Resident Scrutiny Panel review of our ASB service, the Panel will shortly make recommendations to Chorus Homes Board
  • Introduced new training in dispute resolution and case management
  • Began a review of our service centre
  • Started a review of our complaints process.

Meet our Anti-Social Behaviour Team

Our Antisocial Behaviour Team is committed to maintaining safe communities in which people can live and thrive by addressing nuisance and promoting positive behaviour.

The team has been in place for the last three years and works in close partnership with the Huntingdonshire Safety Partnership, Public Protection Team and Cambridgeshire Constabulary to resolve nuisance in the wider community.

We use a wide range of interventions and offer an opportunity for people to amend their behaviour prior to legal action. We work with many agencies including specialists in substance misuse, safeguarding and tenancy support.

Depending upon the nature of the nuisance we may consider voluntary agreements, Injunctions or possession proceedings.

Taking legal action may be a complex process with cases not reaching the court stage for up to 2 years.

All complainants are offered a risk assessment to tailor the way their cases are managed and we support them with their individual needs.

The team also has a specialised officer to support victims of domestic abuse.

All information is strictly confidential and our approach is victim orientated.

Thank you to our Chorus Homes Editorial Panel

We would like to extend our thanks to our Resident Editorial Panel who reviewed the Annual Report and made some great recommendations.

Some example of the changes we made as a result of the Panel’s suggestions are:

  • Adding the date to key performance indicators so residents can see what period they relate to
  • An introduction report to a team or a staff member so that residents can find out more about our day to day operations.

The Panel gave some positive comments about the Annual Report including:

  • “It’s great to see how much residents are involved.”
  • “It’s easy to read and I liked the short paragraphs mixed with pictures.”
  • “I felt my knowledge about Chorus Homes had increased.”

Your thoughts

What do you think of our Customer Annual Report? Share your views by emailing getinvolved@chorushomesgroup.co.uk or join our Editorial Panel and review selected publications.