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BLOG: using resident feedback to improve our repairs service

16 June 2023

Welcome to Behind the Stats, our blog series breaking down what our performance statistics and targets mean, and how they impact you and your home. These blogs are written by the teams who work with these statistics, so you can find out more about what they do, as well as how their goals and targets impact your homes and the services you receive. This blog is all about recent repairs figures and how our Repairs team is responding to these statistics and using feedback from residents to improve the service. It is written by Holly Nash, our Repairs Admin Officer.

Holly Nash

Over the last financial year (2022-23), we’ve gained many insights from residents’ feedback about our repairs services. We’ve also identified some challenges we’ve faced while changing our repairs service provider and areas which we believe improvement is needed.

Holly Nash, Repairs Admin Officer

Changing our repairs service provider

Earlier this year, we announced that MCP property services Ltd, who had been managing all repairs outside London, are now covering all communities we work in while we secure a new contractor to deliver our repairs service. The increase in locations covered by MCP has created a few hurdles that we have been determined to tackle and overcome. For example, MCP had to become fully resourced in all trades to cover all residents’ repairs, which has meant training new members of staff on the processes and expectations we have for our repairs service. We aimed to keep our service running as usual with minimal disruption to you during this change. We have continued to respond to your repair requests as usual, but we understand that this transition may have caused slight delays for some residents. We apologise for any frustration or disturbance this may have caused.

We are working closely with MCP to continuously improve communication with residents to minimise delays or concerns about the service and sustain resident’s trust in us, which is our key priority. To make sure we are delivering an increasingly reliable service, we’ve been having more frequent collaboration days with MCP so we can closely monitor their performance. Also, MCP have been hosting regular sessions with their engineers and head office colleagues to ensure they are on track to meet and exceed our expectations. We appreciate that these are steps in the right direction, though it can still take some time to restore the consistent efficiency and productivity we want to see in our repairs service.

How we can work together to improve our repairs service

Letting us into your home to complete repairs

In most cases, when a repair is reported, our contractors will need to come into your home to complete the repair, so it’s really important that someone is home at the agreed appointment date. In recent reports, we have seen a month on month increase in the number of repairs where it has been reported back that our contractors couldn’t access the home to complete the necessary repairs. For example, from January 2023 to March 2023 there was a 91% rise in access issues for repairs which had a scheduled appointment.

The knock-on effect of this is that an increasing amount of residents experienced delays to their repairs. We aim to have residents’ routine repairs resolved in 42 days, and issues with entering residents’ homes to complete necessary repairs meant that it was more difficult to deliver our services in a timely manner. As well as this negative impact on residents, we also experience financial consequences when people are not home to let us in to complete their repairs, with additional costs of £30 per repair on average from the last three months. We want to be able to keep our promise of providing residents with reliable services and maintaining a high level of satisfaction for completed repairs. To support us with providing services you can rely on, if you have an appointment is booked and confirmed with us, please make sure that you are home for the appointment, or alternatively please contact us as soon as possible to reschedule to a new date.

When to raise an emergency repair

We’ve also noticed quite a rapid increase in emergency repairs over the past few months. On average, currently 22% of repairs reported during our opening hours are emergencies and 11% of out of hours repairs. This means that one third of all jobs raised this financial year (2023/24) are emergencies. Emergency repairs are situations where there is a risk to someone’s health or safety, a home is not secure, or there is damage that will compromise the structure of your home. We aim to come to your home to make the issue safe within 24 hours of you reporting an emergency repair.

As the volume of emergency repairs increases, this can have a substantial impact on routine repairs which are booked ahead of time as our contractors must focus on resolving to the high volume of urgent cases. To make sure that our contractors can resolve these emergencies promptly to keep residents safe, please only report repairs as emergencies when they fit the description outlined above. Reporting non-emergency repairs as emergencies can cause further delays to both routine repairs and residents with emergency repair issues who need urgent solutions most. We encourage you to work with us to make sure all residents receive the service they need for the issue they are facing.

Using your feedback to make improvements

The impact of the challenges outlined above has been reflected in the number and types of complaints that have been raised to our Repairs team. When reviewing the complaint figures in the 2022/23 financial year in comparison to repairs raised, we found that 479 complaints had been reported against 45,228 repairs raised meaning that 1.1% of repairs turned into formal complaints. Each complaint has been carefully investigated and responded to based on the specific details provided and unique circumstances of each resident. While we are proud to have a very low percentage of complaints given the challenges faced in 2022-23, we will continually aim to reduce them as much as possible so that more residents are satisfied with the service they receive and trust that we will deliver a great service when they need us.

By analysing all complaints received by the Repairs teams, we have been able to clearly pinpoint the root causes, such as missed appointments or admin errors, which we always feedback to colleagues, teams and contractors. As well as identifying the problems that need to be tackled and raised with the relevant people, we commit with action, putting measures in place to streamline our processes and prevent such things occurring again. We actively make sure to monitor issues raised by residents and learn from you to improve the quality of our services.

We are also keen to make sure that any financial consequences of service failures are recovered from contractors where possible, so that we can reinvest this money into improving the quality of the service. Last financial year, we reclaimed a total of £65,790 from our contractors which was awarded to residents in compensation for receiving a service below the standard we expect.

What is happening now?

We have recently implemented a new approach to managing repairs with MCP, by focusing on the types of repairs that are needed instead of the location they are in. By shifting our approach, we intend to reduce errors and tackle a key issue we are facing which is missed appointments. We also now require all MCP repairs supervisors to carry out an audit cases where a repair has to be raised twice as it is not fixed the first time, identifying any training or gaps in knowledge or materials that can be reviewed. These audits aim to eliminate factors that could cause a drop in service and contribute to complaints, escalations and general concerns shared with us by residents.

This financial year, our Repairs team are committed to being more transparent with residents as we recognise that there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes that you may not know is happening. This blog is one of the many ways we’ll be sharing more about what decisions are being made to improve the service you receive and how your feedback is helping us do this. So watch this space!

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