Posted by: sammycoop | February 13, 2009

Ridgeway Park Residents Association

Local Conversation

With Members of Ridgeway Park Residents Association

Held at the Community Centre on Monday 2nd February 2009

Facilitated by Dave Murphy and Sam Cooper 

The residents of Ridgeway 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 Ridgeway Park.

 

FIRST THOUGHTS

  1. Will our landlord take any notice?
  2. We want to be treated as individuals by our landlord and the TSA.
  3. Looks great on paper, when will we see action?
  4. We will end up getting one thing said and either nothing will be done or something completely different done.
  5. Great on paper but it will not change much to the tenants.
  6. We already have a voice but it falls on deaf ears far too often.
  7. We want more communication but real consultation not just information.

 

 

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, however wanted to put their other ideas which are not in any priority after the first 5 points.

 

  1. Look after existing stock and tenants before growth.
  2. Listen to existing tenants views especially those tenants who have been loyal and contributed to the success of the organisation by being involved and through their rent.
  3. More efficient Repairs Service that completes the repair first time and has an appointment system that is kept to and followed up on feedback about contractors and let tenants know what has resulted.
  4. Stop re-housing cases that are costly in financial terms to manage and costly to the health and well being of existing tenants who suffer the consequences. This can be achieved by having staff that really know about the area and have their ear to the ground.
  5. On site estate officer to give a personal service who is aware of local issues.
  6.  Improve communication. (More events like today)
  7. No time wasting at meetings – give answers to requests.
  8. No more mergers.
  9. Speak to people, and that includes staff talking to staff.
  10. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  11. No rent increases above RPI.
  12. Concentrate on managing lettings and rented property – not sales.
  13. Be pro-active and keep to agreements made, and give us progress reports where you exceed an agreement and where you fail to keep to the agreements or standards.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Make us proud to be Contour tenants like we were when we were with Collingwood.
  2. We want Contour to be the best landlord and to work you to be so.
  3. The Philosophical Enquiry is a very good and interesting way of getting to know about issues and developing a point of view.
  4. More interesting meetings like this to give and receive information instead of spending money on fancy magazines that nobody reads.
  5. Value and respect your tenants and you will get the same back from tenants.
  6. Anti-social behaviour must be dealt with urgently.
  7. The repairs service must become more efficient so that money is not wasted by having parts on the van or not being the right trade to carry out the repair that you have requested, leading to tenants having to have more time off work to grant access to their homes.

 

 

Answers from the group of the other remaining 5 questions.

 

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

Companies who the group felt gave a good service:

NHS – prompt and deals with the unexpected and emergencies, they have also improved their out patient appointments.

Small local garage – knows you and your car, good value for money and personal service.

SKY – straight forward menu of services, easy to pay, does what it says on time,

Reasons

Generally excellent service is done by organisations that are accessible, know their customers needs and meet them, have good local knowledge, offer empathy to customers, show they care and are prompt with their actions.

 

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

BEST

  1. Good intentions.
  2. Tenant participation and support from Resident Involvement staff is appreciated.
  3. They re-house people.

 

WORST

  1. Don’t listen to residents views.
  2. Staff tells lies or do not keep promises.
  3. Some staff can be negative to tenants.

 

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

  1. More resident involvement staff to support tenants associations so they can grow and be trained to understand issues and run events like tonight’s meeting.
  2. Look after and reward tenants who look after their homes.
  3. Take action against tenants who abuse their homes.
  4. Loyalty scheme for long term tenants.
  5. Make the local lettings policy more transparent and work to include more residents, e.g. hold the meetings so more working tenants can attend.
  6. Staff to be more health and safety aware and follow up actions from scheme inspections, etc.

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

  1. Plan major works by notifying us, consult (for real) give feedback, minimize inconvenience for tenants.
  2. Provide us with a modern efficient heating system that is reliable, can be repaired, parts are available and carried by contractors.
  3. Has a caring, respectful and personal service.
  4. Have a sensitive approach to arrears management dealing with residents with respect, many do not like being in arrears and for many years pay promptly – that should matter how people are dealt with.
  5. Carrying out repairs or replacement items should be like for like, currently some repairs are giving inferior quality replacements, e.g. doors.
  6. More accessible senior staff that visit schemes and speak directly to tenants, we want to see and hear from the Chief Executive and Managing Directors.
  7. Tenants invited to AGM’S or events where they can meet and talk directly to board members.
  8. Only let properties when they are ready and achieve the good standard, this encourages good tenants to want to live in Contour properties.
  9. Admit and apologise when mistakes are made.
  10.  Get to know the tenants better.
  11. Appointment systems.
  12. Residents that are encouraged to feel part of the organisation.

 

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

The tenants recognised that they have choices of how they pay their rent and the colours of doors and when improvements get to be carried out.

For the Future

  1. Want more of a say on the standards of repairs and services, e.g. the frequency, etc. They want more say on who performs the gardening and window cleaning services.
  2. More match funding opportunities.
  3. To be share holders like board members so they have a right to vote at AGM’S, etc.
  4. A choice on mergers and whether Contour allows other tenants or landlords into the Group such as stock transfers or other business that might distract them from looking after existing customers.
  5. More say on choices and big decisions.

 

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