Access and Customer Care policy

Access and Customer Care Policy Version 2 Approved 28 May 2020 -  Level 1 policy. Part of the Trust’s Customer Care Framework

1. Introduction

1.1. The Trust is committed to building strong and vibrant communities and is focussed on providing support to local people to help them to live healthy, rewarding and fulfilled lives.
1.2. We recognise the negative impact of poor housing and homelessness and aim to provide services which deliver decent homes, positive social outcomes and a great
place to live.
1.3. The Trust acknowledges the importance of ensuring its services meet the needs of those individuals who are, or become vulnerable owing to age, illness, mental health etc. and will work with them to sustain their tenancies and continue to live independently in their own home.
1.4. By putting our residents at the heart of everything we do, we will offer a service tailored to meet the diverse requirements of our current and future residents..
1.5. We will use customer insight and feedback to inform the development of customer focussed services enabling new and existing residents to have the flexibility to access our services when and how they want.
1.6. The Government has a Digital by Default agenda whereby access to their services will be online only, this along with the benefits provided by online access make it vitally important that we encourage and support our residents in accessing digital services. To support this, we will ensure that we empower residents to communicate and transact with us in a wide range of ways.

2. Outline of Service

2.1. We will support residents and communities so that together we can work to meet their needs now and in the future.
2.2. The Trust operates in areas of deprivation some of which are designated as “Red Areas” where there are poorer life chances and greater concentrations of health and mental health issues. The Trust will therefore offer a range of diverse and flexible services as we recognise that many of the issues facing our residents cannot solely be solved through meeting a housing need.. Examples include:

  • Additional Housing Management Service supporting potentially vulnerable groups such as those with poor mental health

  • Community engagement

  • Digital and financial inclusion Employment and skills initiatives

2.3. The Trust will work in partnership with others to help to support people in the right way and at the right time:

  • Using a collaborative approach to meet housing needs strategically, to avoid placing people away from their family or local community

  • Working in partnership with Multi-Agency groups (MAG)

  • Embedding our safeguarding policies for children, young people and adults

2.4. The Trust works with a number of different communities, each with its own needs and unique characteristics. The Trust will ensure that it considers all relevant groups in the delivery of its services.
2.5. The Trust supports diverse, vibrant and successful communities by delivering services that focus on the real needs and aspirations of our residents. We recognise that in order for this to be possible, services need to be accessible to meet the diverse needs of our residents.
2.6. Our approach sets out how we will:

  • better understand residents’ needs

  • increase choice and information for residents accessing our services

2.7. We will work towards the following outcomes to make services accessible.

Residents:

  • can easily access our services in the ways that best suit them

  • receive information that is accessible, current, clear, easy to understand and jargon free

  • receive annual reports detailing how we are performing against agreed customer service commitments

  • will be supported to help them retain their tenancies and live independently

  • influence services to help drive continuous improvement

Employees will:

  • demonstrate a “can do” attitude

  • provide an efficient and professional service

  • resolve enquiries received at the first point of contact where possible

  • be highly trained in customer care, equality and diversity and data protection

  • be appropriately trained to recognise vulnerability

  • work with residents and offer support and advice or signpost them to other agencies where appropriate to ensure they can continue to live in their property

  • wear corporate identity badges

  • respect customers’ privacy and confidentiality

Details on what our Residents can expect from the Trust are contained within our Customer Service Commitments publication, which is reviewed annually in partnership with members of the Residents Forum.
2.8 Highlights of our performance against the customer service commitment targets will be published to residents and monitored by the Residents Forum or a subgroup of it.
2.9. The Trust will obtain and act upon customer feedback through a range of methods to enable residents to have a voice in shaping future services and are capable of effectively holding us to account.

3. Equality and Diversity

3.1. The Trust is committed to promoting social inclusion by applying the principles of equality and diversity to everything we do.
3.2. We will ensure equality of opportunity across the full range of our activities, including both employment and service provision.
3.3. The Trust adheres to the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010

4. Value for Money

4.1 Real efficiencies will be made by getting things right first time and by providing services in a way that is accessible to al who wish to make use of them...

5. Consultation

5.1. This policy has been developed with residents through the Residents Forum where they continually have the opportunity to influence how we provide our services and hold us to account where our performance is not as it should be

6. Implementation

6.1. The Customer Services Manager will hold the responsibility for the implementation of this policy.
6.2. Customer Service Commitments will be used, regularly reviewed and reported upon to ensure residents are fully aware of what they can expect.

7. Performance Measures

7.1. The level of service detailed in this policy will be measured through the agreed Customer Service Commitments across all service areas.
7.2. The Customer Service Commitments will be measured quarterly and monitored by the Residents Forum. All feedback will be used to drive continuous improvement and highlights will be published in our Residents Newsletter.
7.3. To ensure our standards remain high and in line with the needs of our residents the Trust’s overall performance in the delivery of customer service will be annually assessed by ‘Customer Service Excellence’, and if our standards are high enough, accreditation will be awarded.

8. Review

8.1. This policy will be reviewed in line with our policy framework, usually every three years.

9. Legislation and Other Documents

9.1. This policy will link with the documents listed below:

  • Equality and Diversity Policy

  • Customer Service Commitments

  • Value for Money Strategy

  • Data Protection Policy

  • Customer Care Framework

Policy author details
Author Heledd Williams
Job title Assistant Director of Housing
Email heledd.williams@vaht.co.uk
Phone 01296 732696
Publication PUBLIC