The Customer and Community Engagement Impact Assessment 2020-21

Foreword by the Chair of the Federation of Estuary Residents (FER)

Foreword by The Chair of the Federation of Estuary Residents (FER)

Hello, this is the Customer and Engagement Impact Assessment for 2020/2021. We share this with you to show the effectiveness of Estuary Housing Associations’ engagement with residents, which in turn are shared with the Federation of Estuary Residents (FER.) The team continue to support our training needs which, of course, empowers us residents to continue to be at the heart of Estuary.

The FER uses residents’ feedback via surveys, our Facebook page and of course face to face contact. We think it’s very important to keep in touch with the residents, after all we were elected by you to bring our voices and ears and use them for our good.

In 2020/21 we achieved the following:

  • First virtual event
  • 2 members from Care and Support joined the committee as Co-Opt members
  • Made our constitution as future-proof as possible
  • Secured tablets for FER
  • Supported EHA’s #PlanToPayCampaign
  • We had a say on how Estuary spend the Axis social value funding
  • Took part in National Scrutiny Week
  • We are now reviewing the welfare fund spend quarterly
  • We held an evening meeting to try and get be more accessible for residents that work
  • Supported Estuary’s #SafeToSay campaign
  • 6 committee meetings
  • We streamlined our policy authorisation process with Governance and also set our policy priorities for the year
  • We got involved with the Customer Service Strategy
  • We supported EHA’s #CleanAndCaredFor campaign
  • Supported National Hate Crime Awareness week
  • Lynda and Andy, committee members, became hate crime ambassadors for when they are at events or interacting with residents online
  • Supported the National Housing Federation #HomesAtTheHeart campaign via social media
  • Members Julia and Sarah presented the scrutiny review of complaints to the Board
  • Supported the #PlanToPay campaign by giving feedback on infographics and video
  • Care and Support now have an agenda item on every FER meeting
  • Andy and Sarah were accepted to sit on the Housing Ombudsman Resident Panel

Liz Mansfield, Chair of the FER.

Introduction

Welcome to The Customer and Community Engagements annual Impact Assessment (1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021). This report reflects on the impact we have made over the last year from working with our residents.

Working with our residents helps us to improve the services we provide and the ways in which we engage with them.

What is an Impact Assessment?

An impact assessment measures and evaluates the effect that customer engagement has, and the difference it makes to our services. This report identifies what has changed as a result of residents getting involved.

 

Who is it for?

The Impact Assessments are for residents, Estuary’s partners and stakeholders, to illustrate the benefits of customer engagement.

At Estuary, there is a dedicated team for Customer and Community Engagement.

The team’s priorities are:

  • To empower residents to get involved and have a voice
  • Work with our scrutiny group which is an integral part of Estuary’s performance improvement toolkit.

 

How can residents make a real difference by getting involved with Estuary Housing Association?

  • They can help improve and streamline our services to all residents by getting involved with policy approval
  • They can improve customer satisfaction by sharing their experiences
  • They can gain new skills, increase confidence and potentially get back on the journey to employment
  • They can hold Estuary to account and ensure high standards from their landlord
  • They can help to improve communities and encourage community spirit.

How We Calculate the Level of Impact

Each area of involvement has been rated in terms of impact made as a result of its activities. It also considers inputs (costs and time). The rating is out of 5 stars.

 

Significant Impact

4-5 Stars - A Direct change has been made to how services are planned or delivered as a result of the involvement method.

Example: Resident input into corporate policies or a resident gained employment.

 

Moderate Impact

2-3 Stars - Some influence or minor changes to services have been made as a result of an avenue of involvement.

Example: Resident feedback from surveys that has improved a service area in some way.

 

Low Impact

1-2 Stars - No change has been made as a direct result of the type of involvement, but outcomes contribute towards ongoing reviews of services.

Example: A resident engagement activity that gathered feedback of service that can be used for service improvement in the future.

Our Priorities

Our priorities are...

  1. To increase the number of engaged residents
  2. To offer new opportunities for residents to give us feedback online
  3. That the tenant body, the FER, have the tools to influence our policies
  4. Involved residents who serve on our Services Committee have the tools to be able to work effectively with the Management Board
  5. To help residents increase their chance of accessing employment, training and learning opportunities.

Overall Level of Impact

The Federation of Estuary Residents have assessed and awarded our overall impact with 4 stars out of 5. They took into account the costs, resident time, staff time and all the outcomes of the Customer and Community Engagement team‘s activities in 2020/21.

Accreditations

TPAS Landlord Accreditation and Quality Assured Scrutiny Accreditation

We successfully hold a three-year TPAS Landlord Accreditation with a pass rate of an amazing 99% - The accreditation expires in December 2022. When assessed, our highlighted good practice areas were:

  • Our staff appraisal form is customer focussed
  • Involved residents can provide feedback on the support they received from the C&CE team through their own appraisal process and supervisions with the FER and scrutiny chair
  • The FER succession planning and annual appraisal process is comprehensive.
  • My Digital Voice survey process is clearly explained
  • Mandatory online training for Scrutiny leads enables residents to be effective in the role
  • C&CE team use profile information to identify locations of community days
  • EHA monitors residents’ profiles regarding use of digital communications
  • Care and Support engagement team’s customer newsletter is accessible, so everyone’s voices are heard within this area of work
  • Care and Support's Customer & Community Engagement Impact Assessment report is a first in this sector
  • Care and Support provides clear information and the website include the Advocates contact details
  • Care and Support family members are provided with the dates and times of resident meetings
  • Complaints cannot be closed until the ‘learning from a complaint’ is completed within the complaints log.

We hold the TPAS Landlord Accreditation and the Quality Assured Scrutiny Accreditation.

Federation of Estuary Residents (FER)

2020 was the FER’s 21st year where the committee of residents spoke on behalf of all Estuary tenants. The FER are there to give advice and support to residents and to liaise with Estuary on matters that concern our residents. The Committee meet bimonthly at locations across Estuary stock. The FER have their own Constitution, Code of Conduct, Succession Policy, Terms of Reference and Resident Expense Policy.

The FER’s role includes:

  • Review and approve or decline Estate Improvement Budget applications
  • Monitor the progression of agreed Scrutiny report recommendations
  • Input into the procurement/appointment and monitoring of Estuary’s contractors
  • Be a part of the panel that interviews new staff
  • Judge resident competitions such as Estuary in Bloom
  • Represent residents at Estuary Housing Association's staff meetings (Planned Maintenance meeting, Health and Safety meeting & Services Committee meeting)
  • Approve policies and procedures that affect residents
  • Plan the FER AGM and Big Day Out with the Customer Engagement Team
  • Formal meetings (6 per year)
  • Attend Community Days held by Estuary Housing Association, and speak to lots of residents
  • Run the FER Facebook page and interact with other residents
  • Support and advocate for residents that contact us needing help and advice
  • Challenge Estuary Housing Association's staff and hold our Landlord to account
  • Attend the Resident Awards ceremony and other social events for residents
  • Join the annual Tenant Conference ran by TPAS, the Tenant's Participation Advisory Service.

Covid-19 presented one of their biggest challenges through the year and the FER were adamant in changing processes to meet the requirements from government guidance despite some members home schooling their children and other challenges that the pandemic brought about.

Formal Committee meetings and all other involvement became virtual and the committee adapted very well. In their formal Committee meetings, the FER reviewed 5 Policies and procedures that affect the services all residents receive. This is slightly lower than last year because The FER have now organised all policies and procedures of Estuary’s services into high, medium and low priority to enable them to concentrate on the most important issues for residents whilst managing their time effectively. Policies and procedures that are medium and low priority are no longer reviewed at the meetings, they are reviewed and authorised electronically.

The FER AGM saw the election of 7 new committee members. This includes 2 from the Care and Support side of the business and was a first for the FER. The FER also introduced a Care & Support agenda item as they wish to reach further into the Estuary stock.

The FER had the opportunity to access resident training to increase their skills and knowledge to enable them to completely fulfil their role. They were enrolled on e-learning courses in response to the pandemic and Estuary managers also carried out sessions via Microsoft Teams. Some members have also taken part in online training provided by TPAS.

The FER were invited to virtual local networking conferences to meet other involved residents from other housing organisations.

 

FER Value for Money

Training: £360

Promotional goods: £0

AGM: £357.45

Refreshments: £50.79

EIB: £4994

Travel: £267.80

Training cost were lower due to promoting the e-learning and bitesize courses ran by managers.

There was no cost for promotional goods this year as community events were not able to go ahead. There is a large stock of promos that need to be used.

AGM spend was significantly lower in 2020-21 because the event could not go ahead in the usual way. There were theme park vouchers left over from the previous year, so the only expense was purchasing additional to ensure there was enough for all voters.

The £5,000 Estate Improvement Budget was spent.

Resident travel expenses significantly lower as the majority of meetings have been virtual.

 

The FER have represented Estuary residents on the following EHA departmental meetings:

  • Services Committee – Senior management and Estuary’s Board of Management
  • Care and Support Committee
  • Safeguarding Leadership Panel
  • CORE Group – Property Services and AXIS
  • Monthly Responsive Repairs Operational Contract meeting
  • Estuary’s Planned Maintenance & Major Works Group – Property Services and Axis
  • Health and Safety Committee led by Property Services
  • Gas safety group
  • Strategy meetings
  • Lettings Appeal Panel
  • Tenant Annual Report Panel with The Communications Team
Costs and Impact
Resources and Costs – VFM

Cost: £6030.04

Staff Time: 205 hours - Facilitating meetings, administration, providing training, support through projects, 121’s and appraisals.

Resident Time: 240 hours
Strategy Priority Links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
2020/21 Level of Impact Rating: 5 stars

 

FER AGM and Big Day Out 2020

The Federation of Estuary Residents Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place in September every year to elect the FER committee. The FER worked with us to plan their 2020 AGM, although it was very different to the event that the committee and residents are used to due to the pandemic.

The secretary and Customer Engagement Team attended webinars on how to ensure a legal and fair AGM whilst in the middle of a pandemic. The AGM took place as a hybrid meeting where the Chair, Secretary and staff were on site live and the rest of the committee were on a video link. We streamed the meeting through Facebook Live and had some brilliant feedback. As this year was challenging for everyone, the committee decided to give each Estuary Resident that placed a vote a free wristband and meal voucher for Adventure Island.

In the run-up to the AGM, we created an interactive webpage where residents could see and read about candidates, watch videos from the Chief Executive and the Chair of the Board, vote for candidates and vote for the changes in the FER Constitution. We had 76 households from all over Estuary stock interact with the webpage and vote online for the candidates they feel best represent them.

7 new residents were voted onto the committee, giving a full committee of 15 members.

Feedback was received from residents that attended the online event. The comment that stood out the most was from a resident that lives in Rendlesham. He stated, “streaming is helping this to be far more inclusive for us residents that live and work outside of the Southend area”. From this comment, the FER agreed that more events are to be livestreamed going forward to enable us to be more inclusive by reaching residents from all over Estuary’s stock.

Costs and Impact
Resources and Costs – VFM

Total staff time: 96 Hours

Involved resident Time: 23 Hours

Cost £357.45

Planning time (including consulting with FER) estimated at 75 hours.

 
Event length 3 hours including set up etc.
Priority Links 1 and 2
2020/21 Level of Impact Rating 3 stars

 

Estate Improvement Budget

The Estate Improvement Budget of £5,000 is controlled by the Federation of Estuary Residents. Its purpose is to give residents the chance to introduce small improvements to Estuary’s communal areas. The fund is available for all residents to apply. The FER have an Estate Improvement Budget Panel within the committee that receive the applications and quotes in order to approve or decline requests.

We received 12 Estate Improvement applications from residents across 10 local authority areas: Colchester, Maldon, Romford, Southend, Dunmow, Epping Forest, Tilbury, Clacton, Basildon and South Ockendon.

4 applications were funded by the Estate Improvement Budget totalling: £4994 and are listed below.

 

Buggy Shelter

Carlile House, Southend-On-Sea

Buggies were stored in the corridor causing a fire risk. A secure buggy store was placed outside the main entrance door for residents to lock up their buggies.

 

Resident Only Parking Signs

Ken Johnson House, Leigh-On-Sea

The reason for the request was to deter people other than our residents from parking in the small car park. There is a gym under the flats and their customers would often park in the car park, leaving no spaces for our residents.

 

Transformation Of An Old Bin Store Into A Bicycle Store

Granary Court, Colchester

The building was going to waste and residents had nowhere to store their bicycles. Now they have a safer place to store their bicycles, so they no longer need to use communal areas or their own hallways.

 

Gate Added To A Large Communal Garden

Willow Road, Dunmow

Residents wanted to make it safer for the children to access the park as they were having to walk through a car park. It also gives some privacy to the residents who live near the end where the initial gate is.

 

The full report can be found at www.estuary.co.uk/estate-improvement-budget

Costs and Impact
Resources and Costs to the EIB budget (for some of the costs the Property Services team agreed to fund) – VFM

Costs: £4,638.57

Resident time:45

Staff time: 160
Priority Links 1, 2
2020/21 Level of Impact Rating 5 stars

 

Resident Awards 2020

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic alternative plans were made for the Resident Awards 2020 as the nomination process had already started. In order to keep residents and staff safe, we rebranded the event as ‘Awards on the Road’ and arranged for a courier to deliver prize hampers to the winning residents and staff at their home address.

As we were unable to offer a sit-down meal, the winners were presented with a ‘Just Eat’ takeaway voucher where they were able to treat themselves and their family to a takeaway, so they did not miss out on the meal we would have provided. Winners were announced across all social media platforms and the Estuary website.

There were 6 awards categories this year, as we decided to introduce a Covid-19 Hero award to recognise all the wonderful things residents were doing for their vulnerable neighbours. The other categories were:

  • Good Neighbour
  • Making a Difference
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Staff member of the year
  • Resident of the year

Nominations and votes from residents have significantly increased this year and covered a wider range of local authority areas from previous years.

  • 209 nominations for an award were received from residents and staff
  • 189 votes were received online to decide the winners.

Winners were from Romford, Southend, Wickford, Westcliff and Southchurch and were varying ages and tenures.

Costs and Impact
Resources and Costs – VFM

Cost £4294.00

Funding £2,000

Resident Time: 320

Staff Time: 280
Priority Links 1, 2
Level of impact rating 4.5 stars

 

Scrutiny Bootcamps

Scrutiny Lead: Julia Davis

Deputy Scrutiny Lead: Lynda Buckley

FER Scrutiny were not able to actively plan a Scrutiny Bootcamp due to Covid-19. They also needed to prioritise ensuring recommendations from the complaints and feedback review are implemented. The feedback team in Corporate Services are working through the recommendations and their current profess can be seen in Appendix 4. We are still working closely with Estuary to help us improve services for residents. We have kept a log of ideas for future Scrutiny Bootcamps, and are at this time planning to use the situation we are in to put together an impact report on past scrutiny projects by actively testing the changes that have been made. We plan on making this an interesting and interactive project that will hopefully bring Scrutiny to life for residents by showing them the real-life changes it has made and, of course, picking up on any areas where the impact has not been as anticipated.

Other key areas FER Scrutiny have their sights on are:

  • Talking about Scrutiny and interacting with other Housing Associations, so our knowledge remains up to date. Members have attended two TPAS events,  one was a live discussion which was posted to YouTube about Scrutiny, and a member has also completed the Power of Scrutiny training.
  • Taking increased ownership over writing the reports, and in what format they are published
  • The new Repairs Contract with Axis - we will likely conduct a scrutiny within this area in future to ensure it is working for residents
  • To be involved with the development of the new Customer Services Strategy, and again to consider conducting a scrutiny project within this area
  • To continue working with Estuary to implement and hold them to account in the implementation of the new Complaints policy
  • To work with Estuary to implement the new Social Housing Charter/White Paper.

 

Wider Scope of Scrutiny

Scrutiny functions as part of the Federation of Estuary Residents. Our focus and priorities are therefore aligned and we also recognise the importance of:

  • The #PlanToPay campaign is on scrutiny’s radar to consider residents that may need some support with rent payments
  • The #SafeToSay safeguarding campaign is also on scrutiny’s radar.

These will very likely be areas towards which future scrutiny projects will be directed.

Cost and Impact
Resources and Costs - Value for Money Cost: £0
Priority Links 1, 2, 3, 4
Level of Impact Rating To be determined

 

My Digital Voice and Resident Consultations

We have over 4000 households subscribed to our emails which gives increased confidence that we are giving more residents the opportunity to have a voice and connect with us. This has increased due to engaging with more residents through our varied activities over the last year.

Before the pandemic, over 100 residents were using our laptops/Wi Fi in our Southend office, offering privacy and dedicated support from our staff. However, this had to go on hold due to the pandemic.

36 consultations were sent out for residents view on services and changes that may affect them or their home. Consulting online has enabled us to efficiently ask residents for their views on:

  • The Estate Improvement budget applications
  • Parking management in their area
  • Their satisfaction rating on the handling of Anti-Social behaviour
  • Their satisfaction on their new home
  • Mail box solutions where mail had been tampered with
  • Bike storage solutions
  • Fencing solutions and satisfaction
  • CCTV installation
Cost and Impact
Resources and Costs – Value for money Costs: £300 Resident Time: 265 hours Staff Time: 210 hours
Priority Links 1, 2, 3
Level of Impact Rating 4 stars

 

Resident Training

Involved residents are offered the following training sessions to support and empower them in their role. The sessions were based around general housing knowledge, current affairs in housing and topics identified in the FER member’s appraisals. The courses offered were:

  • Being an Effective Committee Member – How to ask challenging questions
  • Introduction to Social Housing and Tenancies
  • Welfare Reform – Impact on Residents and Social Landlords
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Value for Money
  • Income collection - How we collect rent and service charges
  • Allocations: How allocations and nominations work
  • Property Services Q&A
  • Compliance – Social Landlord’s statutory duties
  • Star Survey workshop
  • Sustainability workshop
  • Team building

 

Training undertaken from external providers

  • TPAS chair training
  • TPAS 2-day conference
  • HQN conference
  • TPAS Maximising the power of scrutiny
  • TPAS Planning community events
  • Safeguarding training

The team collects feedback after each training session. With one of the questions being: What have you learned that you will use in future?

Some responses are listed below:

“It was surprising that some of the information I already knew and didn’t associate with Safeguarding. I have learned to be more vigilant of strangers in the community, to have concerns for other people especially if vulnerable and to act when vulnerable people been are being taking advantage of”

“The Built Environment organisational chart was extremely helpful to see who to contacted and when”

 “I  now have the ability to read the reports and understand the Repairs tracking process. I will be able to use this going forwards in FER work and helping any residents who may need some help”

Costs
Resources and Costs - VFM Total Cost: £1,600
Staff time: 100 hrs Residents time: 200 hrs.
Priority Links 3, 4, 5

 

Estuary in Bloom

In 2020 we had 35 entries for the Estuary in Bloom competition which was the highest amount of entries to date.

We secured sponsorship from the Royal Horticultural Society who donated seeds for every resident that entered the competition.

Shopping vouchers were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners of each of the 6 categories. We also sent a certificate and seeds to all entrants for taking part and to encourage them to enter next year.

Cost and Impact
Resources and Costs – Value for Money

Staff time: 25 hours

Resident time: 33 hours

Cost: £480
Priority Links 5
Level of Impact Rating 3.5 stars

 

Youth Projects (8-16 years)

There are two Youth Clubs at our Centre Place office in Southend-on-Sea. We work with our local partners to provide youths in the area the opportunity to make friends and learn key skills whilst having fun! The clubs also give youngsters the chance to participate in new activities such as first aid, beach cleans, Southend United stadium tour, trip to London and learn more about the place they live through visits to local organisations and services.

The Federation of Estuary Residents funded a day out to Adventure Island for Turning Tides including free lunch to give them a fun day out in the summer. They also supplied arts and crafts sets for the children.

68 people aged between 8 and 16 years regularly attended our Southend Youth Clubs.

Cost and Impact
Resources and Costs - VFM

Staff time: 240

Resident time:200

Costs: est. £2,000 for venue costs

External funding from Local Council and Children in Need.
Priority Links 1, 2, 5
Level of Impact Rating 5 stars