We are making improvements to provide a better service

You spoke, we’re listening. We’re taking action

Cornwall Housing engaging and empowering tenants

How we are making improvements to provide a better service

We know that Cornwall Housing’s service isn’t where it should be. So, to make sure that we are doing the best we can for you, we are sharing some changes happening in 2022. Keep visiting this page to keep up to date with what is happening to improve compliance, repairs and maintenance and service on your homes.

You spoke, we’re listening 

The booklet attached has some information about:

  • our new Board, the interim leadership team that will be seeing these changes through and
  • the company that will be managing all our repairs and maintenance – Corserv Facilities.

Corserv Facilities - consultation on repairs and maintenance 

We will always do everything we can to keep you safe and well in your home.

Here are some Frequently asked Questions about Corserv Facilities: 

 


Your repairs and safety visits

Thank you all for your support and understanding over the last two years of the pandemic. Below is some key information about how we are managing repairs and maintenance and reducing the backlog caused by coronavirus.

Urgent and essential work

We’ll continue to prioritise all emergency and urgent repairs as well as essential safety checks such as:

  • gas
  • electrical EICR checks
  • oil
  • solid fuel and
  • other heating systems

Please continue to help us by allowing our staff and contractors access to your home.

The backlog of repairs

We’re working hard to catch up on the backlog of non-urgent repairs. We’ve made great progress but there’s still a way to go.

To help us get through the build-up of repairs work, we’ve brought in additional teams. If you’re waiting for a repair, we’d like to thank you for your patience. We will be in touch as soon as we can to make sure you have all the latest information about your repair and to arrange an appointment.

Thank you for your understanding - it’s not been an easy time for anyone. Please continue to report any routine repair requests to us as you normally would, we will get to them as soon as we can.

Compliance and health and safety in your home

As a landlord, we’re responsible for meeting various regulations and making sure you home is safe for you and your family.

To make sure we’re keeping your home safe we’re:

  • carrying out a high level of safety checks, visits and improvement works
  • adding to our workforce to help manage compliance and safety standards. We’ve already employed specialist consultants. This includes a Fire Safety Consultant and an Asbestos Manager
  • writing a building safety engagement strategy. This will outline everything needed to meet the various regulations. It will cover what it means for us and what it means for you
  • creating a Building Safety tenant group to give you a clear voice in decisions and a way to feedback on what we’re doing well and where we could improve

Following our inspections, we may need to complete work on your home to make it safe. We will prioritise this work over non-urgent home improvements.

Keep an eye on our social media pages and our website at cornwallhousing.org.uk for tips and ideas on how you can help keep your home safe.

Planned maintenance

We will continue with improvements and planned maintenance, including:

  • renewing pitched roof coverings
  • new PVCu windows and external doors
  • bathroom modernisation works
  • external repairs
  • painting
  • security doors to communal areas of blocks of flats

Keeping you safe

Even though restrictions are easing, we‘ll still follow safety processes to control the spread of coronavirus. This is to make sure you, your families and our teams stay safe.

These include:

  • wearing appropriate PPE, including face coverings
  • keeping our distance from others while we are in your home
  • reducing contact with surfaces wherever possible

Our teams will also take a Covid test twice a week to help prevent the virus from being spread unknowingly.

How you can help

We cannot carry out any non-urgent repairs if anyone in your home has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for Covid-19. Please contact us if you have an appointment for one of our team to visit your home and you’re uneasy about the visit, are feeling unwell or self-isolating.

If you have an urgent repair, special precautionary measures will be put in place to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

While our team is in your home, please continue to be considerate to our teams by maintaining two metres social distance and:

  • leaving all relevant internal doors open to avoid contact with door handles
  • opening windows in rooms where repairs will be carried out, so there is good ventilation
  • leaving the room where the repair is taking place, if possible
  • wearing a face covering during the repair if you can

Engaging and empowering tenants

Cornwall Housing and Corserv Facilities work together on an exciting, new vision for Cornwall to engage and involve their tenants throughout the county, with their Repairs and Maintenance service.

Through a planned workshop and feedback activities, the group aims to actively engage their tenants on the future of repairs and maintenance of their homes.

Corserv Facilities, the latest company to join the Corserv Group, took on the repairs and maintenance of council-owned homes along with Cornwall Housing earlier this year. This latest initiative will build relationships and help improve services and create a new vision for the region.

The relationship between council tenants and Cornwall Housing is at the very heart of that vision,” said Interim Managing Director of Cornwall Housing, Iain Sim “Hearing and listening to the voice of tenants and communities has never been more important. We have an exciting opportunity to make far-reaching and innovative changes to how we deliver engagement across council-owned housing in Cornwall.”

“We’re delighted to have had our first of the new workshops with our key Cornwall Housing tenants and the group which was really well received.”

Cornwall Housing Tenants' recent workshop included the Senior Managers of Corserv Facilities and Cornwall Housing. The aim of the event was to create a vision that will lay out how tenants will be involved in the vital repairs service and have their voices heard and influence service changes and improvements.

Many residents gave feedback that they felt the landlord worked positively with them and that engagement made a difference.

Corserv Facilities have taken on the repairs and maintenance service for Cornwall Housing and tenants that attended the workshop had the opportunity to ask questions and hear presentations on how everyone is working hard to improve the service that tenants receive.

Members of the Tenants Forum and tenants from different communities were presented with a video about improving how people report repairs using new technology. As well as discussing how some people would rather phone in a repair or use an online form.

The table discussion session gave managers and tenants the opportunity to explore different ways that tenants’ views about the service and their experiences could be captured, in order to make sure it was used to improve the repairs and maintenance service.

“Tenants suggested a range of activities,” added Corserv Facilities Managing Director Al Hoare “They discussed Tenant Focus Groups, surveys, phone surveys, round the table discussions with teams, visiting Corserv Facilities teams to see what they do, estate clean up days, presenting performance information to the Tenants Forum and working the Tenant Scrutiny Panel.”

“In order to have a range of views, a number of tenants have also been telephoned too.”

We feel It is important that Cornwall Housing and Corsev Facilities fully embrace the opportunities that digital can also bring to encourage and enable more people to get involved, facilitating conversations quicker and in different ways, but at the same time keeping sight on the importance of face-to-face interaction.

“We aim to engage with our tenants as part of the repairs partnership and further include them in decisions for the future,"  added Cornwall Housing, Iain Sim. 

Following the workshop, a draft vision will be shared with all those that took part at the event and once finalised, it will be available on the Cornwall Housing website.

“The opportunity here of course is not just about bricks and mortar, but to develop council housing as a vital part of our local community, and to make long term investment in places that people are proud to live in," said Cornwall Housing, Iain Sim. 

“We all want to live and work in safe, vibrant and thriving communities. Positive tenant engagement can go a long way to making that happen. We need a culture that continues to actively welcome, and act on, the views of the people that live in council-owned homes in Cornwall."

“We aim to grasp the opportunities today and make embedded and effective engagement and empowerment in council-owned housing in Cornwall for the future.”

There will be several events and initiatives run by Cornwall Housing across the region this year to build on the community partnership including their popular annual Garden of the Year competition.

“We love taking time to celebrate and recognise tenants and leaseholders who take pride in their outside spaces,” added Iain.  “We’re encouraging tenants to send us photos and inspire others to be creative with their outside spaces. Members of our Tenants’ Forum will judge all entries and award prizes and certificates to the best ones.”

“Whatever size or style of your garden, everyone is invited to enter. Whether you’ve got a brilliant balcony window box, a perfect patio, a fantastic flower bed or vibrant vegetable patch - we want to see all your gardening and growing exploits. Last year we had our first entry from a community garden and we’d love to see more of these.”

To enter, please email your name and contact details, together with your photos, marked for the attention of Julia Walsh, to info@cornwallhousing.org.uk. Alternatively, you can phone 0300 1234 161 and ask for Julia who will arrange for a photograph to be taken.


Cornwall Housing on Target to reduce Repairs & Maintenance Backlogs

After a few very challenging years, Cornwall Housing has reported today significant improvements in the number of tenants waiting for housing repairs, maintenance, inspections and compliance work.

Following a recovery improvement plan launched by Cornwall Housing earlier this year, to tackle the build-up of work waiting to be completed across the county, the teams have seen improvements and are on target to reduce the backlog.

“Historically it hasn't been business as usual,” said Iain Sim, Interim Managing Director for Cornwall Housing. “The coronavirus pandemic, shortages in labour markets, the damage caused by the recent storm Eunice, constraints on the supply of materials and rising costs, and, quite frankly, a lack of real customer focus, have all contributed to the backlog over recent years.”

We know this isn’t good enough, which is why we’ve launched our recovery improvement plan. We’re committed to getting this right and delivering for our tenants right across Cornwall.”

“The Covid lockdowns meant that repairs and maintenance were not able to be carried out for significant periods. In addition, we do know that many tenants had been waiting too long for work to be carried out even before the Pandemic struck, which has not been an acceptable level of service.”

“Cornwall Housing has seen a big increase in the number of repair requests from tenants over recent months. Some tenants were understandably nervous to report repairs during the pandemic which is why we’re seeing a huge surge lately.” added Iain. “Despite the surge, we have, with the support of Corserv Facilities, our new repairs and maintenance partner, been able to see a reduction in the number of logged, and outstanding repairs reduce from 2,700 in November, to 1,700 responsive repairs at the beginning of April.

In addition, we have also more than halved the number of outstanding inspections that have been awaiting a visit from 1,800 to 600 today.”

“However, we know we have a big task ahead of us, and in addition to how we deliver our day-to-day responsive repairs, we are also developing new ways of investing into homes for the future. Later this year, with the valued support of Cornwall Council, who are investing significant additional resources into Cornwall Housing, we will be starting a full stock condition survey to ensure that we have the right information to target our capital spend more effectively. We want to target necessary compliance work and direct funding into a more fabric based approach, such as new roofs.”

Part of the improvement centres around better communication. This will take the form of additional newsletters, free advice leaflets, via the website, through our Tenant’s Forum, emails and texts. “Sometimes communication can be challenging as it’s estimated 30-40% of our tenants do not have access to the internet. However, we are investigating additional ways to contact these residents so no one is left out.”

To help Cornwall Housing get through the build-up of work, they’ve brought in additional teams plus a new ‘triage’ system for communicating about inspection visits. The new system will allow a rapid response service that ensures all reports are dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

“The new service is very popular with tenants as our experienced triage teams are using their extensive knowledge and expertise to accurately classify the issue. The rapid response teams are then quickly dispatched with a real insight into the job enabling them to deal with it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“We’d like to thank all our tenants for their support and continued understanding during these tough times. We know that Cornwall Housing’s service hasn’t been where it should be over recent years and we don’t think it’s good enough. Our tenants spoke, and we listened. We recognise that we have a long way to go and some tenants have been waiting too long for repairs to be completed.

Through a series of new initiatives, our teams working together more, the fantastic support and work from Corserv Facilities, the new triage system, better communications and with a new Board of Management to oversee progress, we are starting seeing improvements all round,” added Iain.

“As long as we’re not hit by further lockdowns or exceptionally fierce storm events such as Eunice, we are confident these improvements will continue, until we provide a service we can all be proud of.”