Why Effective Resident Engagement Matters More than Ever
Under new proactive consumer regulation measures, social housing providers must survey residents each year to evaluate how they feel about the quality of their homes and the service they receive.
Are surveys of this type what resident engagement is all about? Or should they mainly be seen as a formal way to confirm what social housing providers already know, and to do this in a standard format so the regulator can make comparisons?
Surveys certainly have a valuable role but are limited by being retrospective. They focus on asking residents what they think of what you’ve done rather than engaging them in a conversation about what you should be doing.
Resident Engagement Benefits
Switching the emphasis to proactive engagement brings many benefits.
For one thing, first time fix rates tend to rise significantly. Better communication with residents helps to shape a repairs and maintenance service that responds to their needs. There are fewer missed appointments and more accurate initial diagnosis of faults. This saves a lot of time and helps use valuable resources more efficiently.
We all like to feel that our opinion is valued and makes a difference. Consultation has more impact if it’s an ongoing process rather than an annual event. Periodic surveys could easily become seen as a box ticking exercise that changes nothing.
In other words, residents will have higher satisfaction levels if they feel they’re part of the consultation process. In the latest Annual Consumer Regulation Review, the regulator stressed how housing providers should be stepping up engagement efforts ready for proactive consumer regulations rather than waiting to respond to the first set of results.
Compliance failures are often the result of residents not being listened to. This has been a common theme where significant numbers of homes haven’t met decent homes or fire safety standards. An environment where residents are actively engaged and listened to makes these types of failure much less likely.
Osborne’s approach to repairs and maintenance operations is a collaborative one. We believe in working with residents rather than simply delivering a service to them.