• On Monday 16th May, we will only be operating an emergency repairs line due to our team attending a first aid course.

    This means that between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm our phone lines will be emergency repairs only, with the out of hours kicking in at 4:00 pm.

    We apologise for any inconvenience. Thank you.

Listening to our customers and making improvements based on what is said is one of the most important things to us here at Aspire Housing.  

To do this, we collect customer feedback from regular surveys, feedback and complaints, and our involved customer groups. We’ve rounded up some of the key things you’ve been telling us over the last 6 months, and what changes we’ve been making based on what you said.

You told us... What we've done about it...
‘The wait for repairs feels longer than usual, and sometimes I can’t book an appointment slot because there aren’t any available.’

Our teams have making a concentrated effort to clear the backlog of repairs that built up due to Covid 19. We’ve also cancelled contracts with 3rd parties who don’t meet our People First standard, and have been busy recruiting more roles to our in-house team. We’re confident that having a ‘one team’ approach will help us provide you with higher quality, more consistent repair services. We’re proud to say that we’re currently getting over 90% of our repairs right first time, which we know is one of the things that matters most to you.   

We’ve also made improvements to our booking system, opening up slots up 12 weeks ahead, making it easier for you to find an available appointment.

‘When I moved in, some of the repairs I’d been promised hadn’t been done and it wasn’t as clean as I’d expected.’  

We’ve reintroduced a post-cleaning inspection, ensuring our homes are clean and tidy and checked over before move in. With many customers telling us that cleanliness and repairs are the most important factors for us to focus on, and that many want to personalise the décor themselves, we’re now ensuring we spend more time on cleaning and repairs, and providing decoration vouchers to support customers to decorate their home the way they’d like. We know that, despite our best intentions, some repairs issues may still get missed, so we’ve introduced a 14-day care call to our new customers to check if everything is well with the property. We’re also going to be reintroducing pre-termination property inspections this Spring, helping us to assess the condition our properties will be in when they are handed back to us, and plan accordingly.

‘I’ve been living here many years now, and it’s starting to look a bit tired and run down. I don’t think the kitchen or bathroom have been replaced for a while, and sometimes I get issues with damp and mould which I’m not sure how to solve.'

To help tackle this, this year we are spending £13 million on upgrades to existing homes, including 430 kitchens, 122 bathrooms, 691 boilers, 747 electrical upgrades and rewires, 97 doors and 168 new roofs. This forms part of our new 5-year commitment to increased investment in our existing homes, seeing us spend more than £100 million overall on improvements, repairs and cyclical work. We’ve also been working hard to support with damp and mould concerns, improving our response times and developing new advice and guidance materials to help you know how to spot issues and know how to get help.

‘With all the lockdowns over the past couple of years and the recent rises in cost of living, it makes me worry more about my money and what to do if I’m struggling. It means a lot when the person on the end of the phone is helpful and easy to talk to.’

New training has been developed and will be rolled out to all our Income colleagues this summer, which will help us to consistently provide a personalised and caring service to you. We are also using technology to help us get our communication timing right. We learnt from customer feedback that getting the timing right in when we contact customers has the biggest impact on satisfaction with arrears support, so we’re using analytics software to help us identify customers in priority need of contact and support to improve this further. Recognising affordability difficulties for some customers, we’ve also changed our Rent and Arrears policy so that customers now only need to keep 1 week’s credit on their account for the length of their tenancy, compared to the 4 weeks previously required. Additionally, we’ve signed up to the National Housing No Eviction pledge, and have created a tenancy sustainment panel who will review potential eviction cases and check that we have done everything we can to resolve the situation, providing assurance that eviction is truly a last resort measure for us. 

Our Involved Customer groups have also helped us to spot a fault with paying rent on our portal, allowing us to quickly rectify it and prevent additional stress and inconvenience for other customers.

‘I’d like it if I saw Aspire around in my neighbourhood more, and that you listened to us a bit more, so you could get to know us and the area better.’

We launched our new Locality working approach this year, with will involve our neighbourhood teams getting out and about on their patches more often and getting to know their areas better. One of the first activities we’ve done to support this was to conduct our huge ‘Chat 2 Aspire: Shape Your Neighbourhood’ consultation, so you could have your say about what we should focus on to improve your area. Over 2600 of you took part, from across 60 different neighbourhoods, providing us with almost 5000 comments and suggestions! Our neighbourhood teams are currently using this feedback to design bespoke improvement plans based on your suggestions.

This gives a flavour of what we’ve been working on for the last 6 months, but we’re already well underway with improvements in other areas too. We’re reviewing our Service Charges, exploring how we can improve some of our flat blocks, and have set up a new Leasehold customer group to better understand leaseholder needs and how we can make improvements to our services.

Want to get your voice heard?  

As well as responding to our surveys, you can leave feedback any time using our customer feedback form.

If you’d like to be more involved, we also have a dedicated Customer Engagement team who host regular activities and groups. You can find out more about what they do here and get in touch with them at involved@aspirehousing.co.uk or by calling 01782 635200.   

 

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