November 2019 - Resident Forum minutes

Resident Forum minutes: Wednesday 20 November 2019

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

KA welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies were recorded.

2. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Review of Minutes of meeting held on 16th October 2019

Larry King (LK) and Tsvetana Traykova (TT) were at the meeting but not listed as being in attendance.

Matters Arising: KA explained that she would be looking at inviting residents from the on-line portal to set up an on-line group. KA said she would produce a list of service areas for Resident Forum members for January’s meeting. KA said she would arrange for relevant staff to attend the Resident Forum’s January meeting for the items on Budget Setting and Rent Setting. The October minutes were agreed as a true record.

4. Volunteers Code of Conduct

KA asked that all Resident Forum members present sign the code of conduct and hand them to Sam (SG).

5. Resident Forum Work Programme update

KA explained that this was included in everyone’s pack and that nothing had been added to it since their last meeting.

6. Resident Forum Recommendation List update

KA explained that this was included in everyone’s pack and that nothing had been added to it since their September meeting.

7. Customer Service Commitments

KA introduced Edd Wilmot (EW), Customer Services Manager.

EW explained that a resident task and finish group had put together the current customer service commitments. They had looked at around 25 previous commitments and narrowed then down to 14 that they saw as the most important.

EW said that 9 out of the 14 commitments were on target, with a further 2 close to target. EW then took the Resident Forum members through the commitments:

  • % of call backs to customers are made within 2 working days.

  • explained that 2 years ago calls backs were at 65%. Senior management felt that this area of service should be a priority, which has led to a vast improvement to 83.35% in quarter 2.

  • asked what she could do as a Board Member to help reach 100%.

  • explained that he didn’t think this area of the service would ever reach 100% due to the  volume of calls received, which is why the target had been set at 90%. EW also said that a number of things were being done to ensure the target is met; that the system is set up and being used correctly and that the correct processes are in place.

OC asked if EW needed Board members support with teams that were following the correct processes.

EW said that other teams need to keep to the process and that residents expectations of the service need to be managed.

JG stated that he just wanted someone to call him back, even if it was to say sorry they couldn’t deal with his problem then and there but that they would call him back and give him a date and a rough time when they could.

He explained that as a customer he is not interested in any problems the call centre is having, he just wants his problem sorted.

SP asked how many staff worked at lunch time. He had rung in one lunch time and was told he was 11th in the queue and waited 42 minutes for his call to be answered. EW explained that the lunch period is 12noon until 2pm. If he has 8 members of staff then 4 members go to lunch from 12noon until 1pm and 4 members go to lunch from 1pm until 2pm.

SE said that a couple of weeks ago she had rung in and the phone just rang, there was no answerphone and no message. Eventually a lady answered and explained that if there are a lot of calls they just allow the phones to ring. EW explained that if there are more than a certain amount of calls coming into the business, there is a cut of point. TT said that when she last rang in she had waited 40 minutes for her call to be answered. EW explained that if residents choose the call back option they are kept in the queue at the point when they choose that option. TT asked what happened when people rang in with an emergency. EW explained that they joined the same queue as everyone else. That there were 2 phone lines – 1 for repairs and one for corporate calls. KA with EW said they would check to see if people were ringing the right number.

PM asked if EW had data on the flow of calls to the Trust. She also asked whether the Trust could employ parents during school times to help in the call centre. EW said that 9am to 11am on a Monday, 9am to 11am on a Wednesday and 3pm to 5pm on a Friday.

LK asked what the full compliment of staff in the call centre is. EW said that he has 14 staff but only 9 to 11 members of staff on a regular day. LK asked if EW thought he had enough staff. He had rung in 2 weeks ago and waited 40 minutes for his call to be answered. EW said that the average call handling time was currently 7 minutes as opposed to 4.5 minutes last year and that this is because they are trying to deal with as much as possible at the first point of contact. The call centre received 1800 less calls in the first 6 months of this year compared to last year. OC asked whether as the service offered is more than that of a call centre could other departments be recharged and then this money could be used to employ more staff. EW explained that they would need more in place from a digital and access aspect.

  • % of complaints which are responded to within 10 working days. EW said this had been 100% for the past 3.5 years.

  • Confirm the outcome of housing applications within 10 working days of receiving all required information.  EW explained that a lot of work had been done around the process and that they were now achieving 100%. RS asked how it worked with Home Choice and EW explained.

  • % of tenants satisfied with their allocated home. EW said that the Trust had struggled for a while with the lettable standard of properties, but that work was ongoing with the voids team. There is a new voids manager coming on board which will hopefully turn things around as not where we want to be. SP said that the Residents Forum had scrutinised the lettable standard and that hopefully the recommendations made will feed through and have an impact. SE asked how the decision was made about which properties to give residents. EW explained that it was the tenants choice.

  • % welfare appointments offered within 10 working days of referral. EW explained that this service was busier than ever. That the process has been changed and that appointments are booked by the call centre staff and that the resident gets a letter to confirm the appointment.

  • Complete non emergency repairs within 42 calendar days. EW said that this target was the most difficult one. Last year they had reached 28 days. EW said that carpentry was the problem especially when it involved big jobs. JG asked if non emergency jobs were still being given to contractors. EW said this was very rare and that fencing was normally done in-house. JG said that a fence near him had been done by contractors and that he had had to sandpaper the ends as they were rough. He felt they had done a shoddy job. KA said she would find out whether contractors completed fencing work. SP said that when he has been in repairs group meetings he has mentioned the Trust using in-house workmen as it is better value than using contractors. At the last meeting he suggested the Trust take on more multi-skilled workers.

  • % of emergency repairs completed within target. EW said this was above target and better than last year.

  • Planned works - % of appointments kept. EW said all planned works KPIs were above target.

  • Planned works - % of residents satisfied with the service. EW said all planned works KPIs were above target.

  • Planned works - % of people satisfied with the quality of completed works. EW said the focus for this target has been getting as much information as possible through a customer service questionnaire.

  • % of new tenant visits completed within 6 weeks. EW said that the neighbourhood managers were doing these visits and were achieving 100%.

  • % of tenants satisfied with estate servicesEW explained that there were some historical problems that included litter picking and fly tipping. The problems this year are grounds maintenance and communal cleaning. However the new manager Mark Frayne-Johnson (MFJ) is working on these issues. JG said that resident forum members should be able to contact MFJ directly, but KA explained that everyone must go through the call centre and that Resident Forum members must not be seen to get preferential treatment, particularly as everyone pays a service charge. KA also pointed out that all calls to the call centre are recorded so there is a voice recording of their conversations. All calls should be recorded in QL but they are open to interpretation.

  • % of fly tipping removed within 10 working days of it being reported to us. EW explained that quarter 2 was the first time in 4 years that the 100% target has not been met. This was because the low loader broke down.

  • Provide regular updates to all parties involved in an ASB case every 10 working days until case is closed. EW explained that the 100% was a difficult target to meet but that 99.82% was really good especially as Craig is currently the only case worker. LK said it was important to get the name of the person you speak to when you ring the call centre. EW said that call centre staff will only give their first name. That all calls are recorded and that the QL system keeps a record of all a residents calls. EW finished by inviting Resident Forum members to visit the call centre and listen to some calls.

8. ASB Update

KA invited RS to give an update on the work of the ASB Task and Finish Group.

RS explained that the ASB Task and Finish Group’s purpose was to review the ASB policies and procedures. However, at their first meeting agreed that before they could review the policies and procedures they needed to look at the service itself. The group did some research and comparisons with other housing associations looking at numbers of staff and case load per case manager. An interim report has been produced that is being presented to Senior management on Tuesday 26th November 2019.

9. Communication and Community Engagement Update


KA recently attended an Inside Government event looking at the impact of the green paper on Resident Involvement and Empowerment. Because of the snap election a number of speakers had pulled out. KA felt that a lot of what was discussed at the event the Trust was already doing.

KA explained that the Trust has launched the new Involvement Portal, IMPACT. All involved residents can log in and look at up coming events, minutes of meetings and talk to other residents. An online group will be part of the portal and anything coming from the on-line group will be brought to the RF meetings. The portal is available to anyone over 16 but 16-18 year olds must have their parents’ permission. JG asked if there would be someone in control of the on-line group. KA said that it would be a member of the Community Engagement Team. She also explained that it would be a closed group and that they have to abide by the same code of conduct for RF members. Anyone breaching the Code of conduct would be removed from the group. KA went onto say that there would be incentives for residents that volunteer a certain amount of their time. More details about this would be available soon.

KA explained that the Trust was looking at providing more opportunities for residents to run their own events by providing easy to amend packs of marketing materials. The Trust would also be able to provide financial support from different programmes.

KA said that the next edition of Resident News is due to hit residents’ doormats before Christmas.

KA asked for some volunteers to work with her on the communications to residents around rent setting. Need to understand what is important to residents and what they need to know, so would be looking at the content and frequently asked questions and answers. Richard Shadwell (RS) and Sonia Edwards (SE) volunteered to work with KA.

KA explained that Caroline is due back in February 2020 and that Sam (SG) would be with the Trust until Christmas 2019. KA will be recruiting another permanent member of staff.

KA asked if all Resident Forum members had responded their invitation to the Community Impact event being held on Friday 22 November. If they hadn’t they needed to contact Devon King the following day.

KA informed Resident Forum members that Learn Grow Develop (part of Spark programme) recently held some mentoring events for residents in conjunction with Department for Work and Pensions; held 2nd induction event for residents taking Level 2 qualifications. This looks at employability and is done on-line/remotely.


KA explained that there was a vacancy in her internal communications team, following a member of staff going on maternity leave.

KA explained that a number of strategies are going to Board in January for approval, they are:

  • Environment

  • Customer

  • Growth

  • Business Transformation

  • Place Maker

KA explained that the Trust had recently brought Britannia House. The building would provide homes for 4 shared owners and 2 or 3 will be for affordable rent.

KA explained that the Trust will be starting an Electrical Testing Campaign. A selection of properties will be visited to check that the wiring is up to standard.

KA explained that the Trust launched the 2019/20 Community Challenge in conjunction with Mix96 last month. It provides grants to community groups, which can be used to improve a building or a piece of land. The winner will be announced next shortly.

OC said that it was really important that local residents put in bids.

KA said that the sorts of bids that had been received included a childrens football team who wanted funding for a roof the seating area and Hectors House who wanted money to revamp a horse box.

Key Performance Information Quarter 2

KA explained that there was an awful lot of information to go through and suggested that it is looked at as part of a training session on performance information in January 2020. KA said that it was important that Resident Forum members created a suite of KPIs that were important to them.

10. Training Sessions and Dates for 2020

The dates for the Resident Forum meetings in January and March 2020 had already been circulated.

With regards to training, it was agreed:

  • Performance Information Training would take place on 29th January 2020 from 5pm to 7pm

  • Effective Challenge and Questioning Skills training would take place on 19th February 2020 from 5pm to 7pm

11. Any Other Business

SE asked about the Trust merging with all the Councils.

KA explained that the Trust was not part of any merger. The merger was between Bucks County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, South Bucks District Council, Chiltern District Council, Wycombe District Council and would happen in March 2020.

LK asked if it was still the intention to have an independent chair as some members of the Residents Forum were unhappy with this proposal..

KA explained that the plan was still to have an independent chair. Two employees had expressed an interest in the role but unfortunately the times of the meetings were not right for them.

DG said that he didn’t understand why Steve and Maddie could not continue as Chair and Vice Chair..

KA explained that Chairs shouldn’t have an opinion on whatever is being discussed and that this was unfair on any resident chair. KA went on to say that the independent chair would not have a say but would facilitate the meetings and ensure everyone who wants to, has a say.

LK pointed out that some Resident Forum members were not at the previous meeting when the proposal of an independent chair was discussed and agreed. He said they felt like it was no longer a residents forum if there wasn’t a resident chair.

It was agreed that this would be an item on the January agenda

Date of next meeting:

Wednesday 22nd January 2020 from 5pm to 7pm

Board Room, Fairfax House