Posted by: sammycoop | February 13, 2009

Lena/Latham Street, Bolton

Local Conversation with Tenant’s of Lena/Latham Street

Held at Longcliffe Walk Community Room

On Friday 6th February 2009

 

 

The residents of the Lena/Latham Street scheme 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.

 

The local conversation was facilitated by Dave Murphy, Toni Nugent and Zubeda Sufi who translated the discussion from English to Gujarat.

 

 (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 Bolton.

 

FIRST THOUGHTS

  1. Good to be asked what our opinions are.
  2. We would like feedback.
  3. Nice to be recognised as important.
  4. Will we get any changes or action as a result of today?
  5. The DVD did not give a very clear idea of what s wanted from us.
  6. DVD was a good idea as it enabled direct communication.

 

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 addressed the question in the presented format for a Philosophical Enquiry. The group selected their top 5 issues.

  1. Improve communication.

(i)                 No feedback.

(ii)               No written replies to letters, in fact any replies at all to many letters or complaints.

  1. Want more consistency, e.g. complaints policy, no passing the book, blaming the Council or other departments when Head Office is contacted.
  2. Have an appointment system and keep to the appointment.
  3. Improve the out of hours service provided by the warden call service/system so they acknowledge issues like ASB and help tenants to report the ASB incidents.
  4. Take on responsibility for the neighbourhood, e.g. security and issues that make the community feel insecure.

Other issues

  1. Gardens and window cleaning service could be improved.
  2. Hold more events that are facilitated by Head Office staff like today.
  3. Reimbursement for tenants when they have to undertake repairs themselves because of poor or lack of response.
  4. More tenant sensitive policies.
  5. Zubeda Sufi who is our scheme cleaner undertakes many duties which help Asian tenants with language difficulties to be able to access the services, she should be recognised and paid for those duties which she often undertakes voluntary.
  6. Be more helpful and follow up issues as often no action happens unless the tenant chases up the landlord.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. This has been an interesting meeting which was well facilitated that enabled us to speak open and freely.
  2. We like face to face communication, especially Philosophical Enquiry style.
  3. Nice to see Head Office staff are real people, let’s see more of you.
  4. Hopefully, this can be the start of Contour and residents working in partnership to get things better.
  5. Can we have feedback please?

 

 

Answers from the group of the other remaining 5 questions.

 

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

  1. A hospitable people based organisation.
  2. Staff that have good people skills.
  3. Personalised services that know who we are and care who we are.
  4. Regular contact with customers.
  5. Look after existing customers or regular customers.
  6. Staff with good knowledge of products.
  7. Caring staff.

– The Royal British Legion provides a 1st class service for ex-service men.

 

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

 

BEST

  1. Excellent facilities in the properties.
  2. Good caring local staff that are helpful and offer good assistance.
  3. Good neighbours and community.
  4. Contour has good intentions.

 

WORST

  1. Repairs are not good quality, e.g. jobs not completed.
  2. Appointments too vague, e.g. am/pm and then not kept.
  3. Contractors do not respond quickly enough for repairs.
  4. Contractors do not have the skills to repair heating systems on 1st or 2nd visit.
  5. Good intentions are not always acted upon.
  6. Letters not replied to by Contour.

 

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

  1. Improve all communication, e.g. advertise better that large print, audio, Braille and translations are available.
  2. Help contractors with translations for non English speaking tenants.
  3. Contour staff needs to believe their tenants and not the contractor when they say they have not completed a repair.
  4. Make appointments and keep to them.
  5. Quicker repairs for heating problems especially.
  6. Get contractors to give evidence where they say they have called to a property and got no access. Customer Service is often told by contractors that tenants aren’t in when they are.
  7. Better heating contractors.

 

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

  1. Good communication.
  2. Lower rents.
  3. Good repairs.
  4. Good common facilities.
  5. Identify the tenant’s needs.
  6. Knowledgeable staff that is caring and helpful.
  7. Treat everybody fairly.
  8. A listening landlord that encourages and even more importantly supports and helps tenants to give their views.

 

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

  1. Ways to pay rent.
  2. Where we want to live.
  3. Freedom of movement.
  4. Consultation and choice on doors and improvement works, e.g. bathrooms and kitchens.
  5. How and whether to get involved.

For the Future

  1. Top choose who completes or performs the repairs, if landlords fails to do so.
  2. To have choice on mergers and stock transfers.
  3. Loyalty/bonus scheme for tenants.
  4. More language choice/ help, e.g. interpreters.
  5. Energy source, e.g. solar or wind power.
  6. More choice about going green.

 

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