Posted by: sammycoop | February 13, 2009

Kelton Park Residents Association

Local Conversation with Members of Kelton Park Residents Association

Held at Sara Hall Friday 30th January 2009 at 6.30-8.30pm

Facilitated by Dave Murphy and James Williams

 

The residents of Kelton Park volunteered to undertake their local conversation in the style of a Philosophical Enquiry. The style of this method is as follows and due to the positive feedback received, it is the style we shall use when we try the Philosophical method of engagement.

 

 (1)      FIRST THOUGHTS

We show the TSA’S DVD, which we advise residents that once they have viewed the film we are going to split people into pairs or groups of four and get them to discuss their first thoughts and share them with the whole group.

 

(2)       QUESTION

We then show the group six questions which are listed below and ask them to vote on the question they would like to discuss in depth, in their smaller groups and then share the comments with the whole group. We also advise that the group will have an opportunity to comment as a whole on the remaining questions. This is in addition to putting forward their individual views on the TSA questionnaire which we would like them to complete.

(A)       What are the common views around what makes a good service?

(B)       What are the common ideas around the three best and three worst things that Contour do?

(C)       What services that Contour currently perform should we do differently?

(D)       What are the group’s ideas on what makes a good landlord?

(E)       What could Contour do to improve our services and what are the top 5 things that would really impress you?

(F)       What choices do tenants currently have and what choices would they like to have in the future?

 

(3)       FINAL THOUGHTS

Following the discussion regarding the chosen questions, in small groups, and the sharing of those ideas and opinions with the whole group, we then request that individually or in small groups that people put forward their final thoughts on the question, which may have differed from their previous ideas following their discussions.

 

Below are the findings from the Philosophical Enquiry at Kelton Park.

 

FIRST THOUGHTS

  1. The aims and goals of the TSA look good, let’s hope they work.
  2. Let’s hope that our complaints and issues are resolved quicker as a result of the TSA.
  3. The TSA are going to ensure that we, the residents, are empowered and supported.
  4. The TSA need to ensure that adequate levels of staff and resources are made available to support residents.
  5. This is great but why has it taken so long for the regulators to ask our views.
  6. This will help ensure landlords listen and respect residents’ views in social housing.
  7. Let’s hope the TSA creates a forum for open communication, partnerships between landlords and tenants and mediates where required.
  8. More hands on Resident Involvement and support.
  9. This looks like a good opportunity for residents; let’s make sure Kelton Park residents grab it with both hands.

 

QUESTION

The group chose the following question.

 

(E)       What could Contour do to improve our services and what are the top 5 things that would really impress you?

 

The tenants put forward their top 5 things that would really impress them but asked whether I would put forward their other comments as they believe that they are important for Contour to know.

  1. Provide more specialist Resident Involvement staff and support to groups.
  2. Take notice of tenants views more and enforce the tenancy agreement when tenants break rules, etc.
  3. Improve/modernise properties, e.g. provide additional sockets in the flats and provide double glazed doors.
  4. Improved Repairs Service with more quality control and an appointment system that is kept to.
  5. Ensure that all services are value for money, help residents to be judge and comment by giving accurate information and costs.
  6. Free phone number for all types of callers, e.g. mobile and landlines.
  7. Open offices more frequently.
  8. Ensure that recycling opportunities exist.
  9. Value existing long standing tenants more.
  10. Provide a resource centre/community centre.
  11. Organise or set up opportunities for children or get them cheaper access to other organisations activities. (Provide a play area.)
  12. Improve out of hour’s warden service.
  13.  Remove graffiti quicker.
  14. Review rents to make them compatible with other similar landlords.
  15. Provide notice board(s)

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Communication both ways needs to be the focus to both increasing involvement and satisfaction.
  2. Feedback is very important.
  3. Contour are getting better but might look at good practice elsewhere.

 

Answers from the group of the other remaining 5 questions.

 

(A)       What are the common views around what makes a good service?

Residents as a whole believed the service they received from Kelton Park Residents Association was the best example they could agree on.

Reasons

It is local, available, friendly, accessible, personal, trustworthy, listens to our views and meets our expectation, keeps us involved and gives feedback, advise and answers.

 

(B)       What are the common ideas around the three best and three worst things that Contour do?

BEST

  1. Admitted failure when in the wrong and did something about it.
  2. Resident Involvement
  3. Polite and honest staff who try hard.

 

WORST

  1. Sometimes we feel that Contour hides behind regulations such as Health and Safety, data protection, when they don’t need to or want to do what residents ask for.
  2. Poor feedback.
  3. Sometimes staff make comparisons with other organisations or private landlords and tell us how lucky we are. Don’t patronise us.

 

(C)       What services that Contour currently perform should we do differently?

  1. Improved information about service charges and be more accurate and give more information about the standard or level of service so we can assess value for money.
  2. Charge lower rents.
  3. Allocation of property needs to be more sensitive and better awareness of local demographics. Perhaps a local lettings policy might help.
  4. Local housing staff who really know the area that they work in.
  5. Make better use of other agencies and work in close partnership. E.g. Contour and the residents have a good relationship with the Police, utilise it more.

 

(D)       What are the group’s ideas on what makes a good landlord?

  1. High quality repairs that are permanent not temporary, parts on the van and kept undated on progress.
  2. Recognition that tenants comments are meant to improve service – not a whinge.
  3. Make it easier to complain and receive those complaints as opportunities to listen and improve.
  4. Staff that are approachable, visible, available that listen and respond quickly.
  5. A landlord that provides training, support, staff and resources to help and support residents groups to understand issues and get involved.
  6. Staff that go the extra mile.
  7. An organisation that supports tenants federations.
  8. A repairs service that sends the right tradesman first time.
  9. Available specialist staff, e.g. Resident Involvement.

 

(F)       What choices do tenants currently have and what choices would they like to have in the future?

Tenants recognised that they did have some choices and had been engaged on the appointment of gardeners at Kelton Park and some other choices however they felt they did not have as many individual choices as they would like.

For the Future

  1. Prompt payment or discount on incentives for being a good loyal tenant.
  2. More flexibility for existing incentive (the MFI scheme)
  3. If tenant wants to carry out own improvements, e.g. getting some of the costs back.
  4. Not to have poor service charges.
  5. Ring fenced rents so the rental income is spent on the tenants who live on schemes.
  6. To be able to choose local and similar contractors to perform repairs services.
  7. More consultation not information.
  8.  To get rid of Supporting People charge to enable choice of services to increase.
  9. To choose how we are consulted. The method used for this consultation was very good and should be used in the future.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: