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The Social Housing Charter: Our seven commitments


18 months have passed since the Government published the Social Housing White Paper, setting out a Charter of seven commitments that social housing residents should be able to expect from their landlord. In the Queen’s Speech last month it announced that this would become law within the next 12 months.

At the heart of the commitments is the right for residents to safe and good quality homes; to know how their landlord is performing; and to be able to hold their landlord to account.

In this first blog, I wanted to share with you some of the things we have done, or have planned. I’ll start with some introduction to the Charter, but it would be great to hear back from you about your areas of interest – let’s start a conversation so that with your feedback we can improve our services to you.

Stonewater will be judged on its performance by the Regulator of Social Housing and by the Housing Ombudsman Service – both of their roles are being strengthened, giving more assurance to residents and customers that if things do go wrong, there are independent organisations that will intervene.

Our aim is to get things right first time – now, your experience might be that we never or rarely achieve this. We know that this is frustrating, sometimes this may have caused you worry.

Honestly, this is not what we set out to do, so we are sorry if that is how you might feel now. Also, some of you may feel that our services are generally reliable. There is a lot we have done in the past year or so, listening to your feedback, to improve your experience. There will always be more. We’d love for you to become involved in helping us design those improvements.

The seven commitments

  1. To be safe in your home
  2. To know how your landlord is performing
  3. To have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly
  4. To be treated with respect
  5. To have your voice heard by your landlord
  6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in
  7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership

I’m going to focus on Commitments two and three in this blog.  A lot is happening on the others and I will provide more detailed updates on these soon – please do let us know which you’d most like to hear about.

To know how your landlord is performing

Currently we:

  • Report our performance to the Board, our Scrutiny Panel and to the Customer Experience Challenge and Assurance Panel
  • Publish monthly performance reports on the website
  • Provide annual performance reports in the Customer Annual Review
  • Measure customer satisfaction on services received through “Rant and Rave”

What we have done differently:

  • Carried out a telephone survey with a sample of 800 customers using the proposed Tenancy Satisfaction Measures the Regulator will judge us against from April 2023. This is a “perception” survey – how do customers feel about our services; what services matter most; satisfaction with the repairs service; satisfaction with being listened to; that their home is well maintained and safe; that customers feel informed; that communal areas are well managed; and with our approach to managing anti-social behavior.

Let us know

  1. How would you like us to provide this information to customers in the future?
  2. What would you like to know?
  3. How would you like us to carry out satisfaction surveys?

When we collect the views of customers we want to make surveys accessible.  By taking part we want customers to feel this will improve services that matter most to them. We also want to consider value for money in how we carry out these surveys.

To have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly

So far we have:

  • Adopted the Ombudsman Complaints Code 2020
  • Reviewed our Complaints Policy
  • Invested more people resources to manage complaints
  • Created a new Customer Panel for Complaints

What we have done differently:

  • Taken a cross team approach to resolve complaints at an early stage with customers
  • Used complaints to make improvements, so that we learn from what has gone wrong
  • Carried out a self-assessment against the new Complaints Code 2022

Let us know

  1. How would you like to be kept informed about what we are doing to deliver the Charter?
  2. How would you like to be involved in developing our action plan?

Our vision is “to provide an opportunity for everyone to have a place they can call home”.

Our Customer Promise is “if it matters to our customers, it matters to us”

We won’t always get it right but we want to listen, we want to learn, and we want to deliver great services again and again.  So please send us your comments and answers to the questions, and we’ll be back with another blog soon.

Best wishes,

Karen Stephens, Director of Strategy and Transformation