Customer Engagement Strategy

We've launched our new Customer Engagement Strategy in partnership with our customers and approved by our Board. If you have any feedback on this document please email us at

A full pdf. of this report can also be downloaded -  Customer Engagement Strategy [pdf] 5MB

Our Engagement Strategy underpins the key purpose set out in the Corporate Strategy, which gives clear commitment to: 

  • work in partnership to improve the lives of people in our communities.
  • empower our customers to influence the services which that matter to them.
  • deliver high quality services and focus on what matters to our customers.

This strategy sets out how we will achieve this by committing to embedding our values in its delivery. Values such as being transparent and inclusive, showing empathy, and most importantly, listening, learning and acting. 

Our Customer Strategy provides the drivers for our Engagement Strategy. These is about how we communicate with both customers and employees and the need to tailor communication rather than a one size fits all model, ensuring easy accessibility. 

Customer engagement is an area which will evolve over the life of this strategy and transform the way in which we work in partnership with our customers, ensuring that we are held to account on our performance and service delivery. Our TPAS accreditation which was initially achieved in 2018 will also continue to challenge our ways of working to embed a truly customer centered approach in all areas of the business. 


Our vision is to be an organisation that genuinely places residents at the core and is rewarded with trust and confidence by changing the way we approach engagement. Engagement will vary from a two-way conversation with a customer and short task and finish groups which concentrate on certain areas of the business, through to more formal engagement and consultation. 

All levels of resident input and engagement will be actively considered to drive service improvement. Estuary will have a menu of accessible engagement options providing the opportunity for residents to get involved in a variety of ways and make a difference to the services which matter them. 

Although The Regulator of Social Housing regulates registered providers of social housing, Estuary is keen to co-regulate with a number of stakeholders including board members and customers. This is to reinforce that Estuary remains accountable for its performance is a transparent way. That we embrace constructive criticism within a learning environment, striving for continuous improvement. 

National Context

In November 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, published the Social Housing White Paper: The Charter for Social Housing Residents. This new charter sets out clear standards the government expects landlords with social housing to comply with; 

  1. To be safe in your home. We will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.
  2. To know how your landlord is performing, including on repairs, complaints and safety, and how it spends its money, so you can hold it to account.
  3. To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong ombudsman who will give you swift and fair redress when needed.
  4. To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants.
  5. To have your voice heard by your landlord, for example through regular meetings, scrutiny panels or being on its Board. The government will provide help, if you want it, to give you the tools to ensure your landlord listens.
  6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in, with your landlord keeping your home in good repair.
  7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership, so it is a ladder to other opportunities, should your circumstances allow.

We embrace the need for flexibility, creativity and innovation and strive for excellence. 

Local Context

Where we are now

This strategy has been steered by our current customers. We were keen to get as many customers involved in mapping our way forward with resident engagement. In August 2022 we held five Customer Voice Roadshows and reconnected with a number of geographical areas in person including; 

  • Southend
  • Colchester
  • Thurrock
  • Great Dunmow
  • Romford

We sought feedback from all our customers digitally to ask them about their priorities and preferences. 

Customer feedback showed that feeling safe and secure in their homes was most important to customers. This was in relation to Anti Social Behaviour as well as the maintenance of their communities and homes. Repairs was also highlighted by customers stating they were unhappy with the speed, communication and effectiveness of the repairs service they received. 

Many customers expressed that they would like to get more involved in shaping how we do things at Estuary, through virtual channels such as online surveys, social media channels and online meetings. They commented that email and text were the preferred methods of communication and found these easiest to engage with and refer back to. Although a number of customers also highlighted that they would like to see and hear more from Estuary staff and requested for more presence in the community. 

Based on the feedback which we have received our main objectives for the life of this strategy are the following; 

  1. Increase communication and engagement opportunities for all customers.
  2. Build trust and rapport with our customers.
  3. Implement opportunities and mechanisms to co-regulate.
  4. Improve our engagement on safety.

All these objectives work hand in hand. 

1. Increase Communication & Engagement Opportunities for All Customers

What We Need To Do and How To Do It
What How
Keep customers informed about the things which are important to them.  Establish a regular e-newsletter to keep customers informed about what is important to them and how they can influence change. Share the opportunities for, and the impact of customer involvement. 
Increase our engagement through social media.  Promote and drive uptake the use of social media to share key information. 
Share useful and helpful information with our customers in a proactive way. 
Continue our successful Roadshows. Visit different geographical areas and continue to have open dialogue with our customers and remain connected. 
Local engagement opportunities to speak with customers in their home.  Officers will be available to meet the needs of customers in their homes and communities.  
Hold a variety of events and activities within communities.  We will hold a variety of events as and when required to ensure we are flexible to the needs of communities and that we tailor engagement as required. 
We will communicate in different ways. We will use a range of communication methods available to us and continuously check that these mechanisms work for our customers. 
We will demonstrate that we have listened to what customers have told us. We will use a range of communication channels to share feedback and explain our decisions. 




Customers will have greater opportunities to have their voices heard regarding the subjects or areas that matter most to them, through a channel or format that matches their preference. 
Customers will have greater confidence that their feedback is being listened to and will receive updates in a swift and timely manner. 
Customers will be empowered to have their voices heard regarding the engagement events and activities that the Housing service offers, ensuring that these reflect good value for money and are aligned with resident priorities. 

2. Build Trust and Rapport

What We Need To Do and How To Do It

What How
We will engage with customers when we are proposing change that affects customers.  We will plan to allow enough times to include customers in our decision making. 
We will keep our website up to date and current.  We will monitor the content and external factors to ensure our content is current, timely and helpful. 
We will be transparent with our performance and how we are using our resources. We will publicise performance information, including areas which require improvement and opportunities for customers to be involved. 
Proactively engage with individual customers to ensure we are providing timely support.  Increase the number of property visits carried out and use data to identify individuals and groups which we do not hear from. 
We will tailor our engagement offer to meet the needs of our customers.  We will use existing data to identify and respond to the needs of underrepresented groups. Where this data does not exist we will undertake this research with our customers. 



Customers will have greater trust and faith that our services deliver value for money and we are responding to the needs of our customers. 
Customer knowledge and opportunities to influence service delivery will increase. 

3. Implement Opportunities to Co Regulate

What We Need To Do and How To Do It
What How
Demonstrate how co-regulation is embedded in our structure.  We will establish panels and activities that embed coregulation in our governance. 
We will have a menu of engagement opportunities.  We will monitor the content and external factors to ensure have a range of ways in which all customers can get involved in shaping services, irrespective of their location, commitment levels and background.
We will work with customers to monitor performance and promote transparency. We will provide clear and timely performance information on our website alongside calls to action for customers to provide feedback. 
We will ensure our most involved residents are trained and supported to understand performance information so they can effectively hold us to account.



Residents will understand their role and ability to hold Estuary to account and have increased opportunities to shape and steer the direction of Housing services. 
Residents will be better informed about the performance of Estuary Housing Association as their landlord, and they will be empowered to hold the organisation to account. 

4. Improve our Engagement on Safety

What We Need To Do and How We Do It
What How
Understand what safety means to our customers. Undertake proactive research to understand what safety means to our customers. 
We will demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding our customers. We will link in with our partners and topic experts to co-create policies and procedures which address a number of concerns such as ASB, DA, Hoarding. 
This will also include review of existing technical documents covering areas such as fire, gas, asbestos, electrical, lifts and water safety.
We will use these opportunities to deliver training and raise awareness. 
We will proactively engage with our customers to ensure that our building and fire safety information meets their needs.  We will use a range of communication methods with engagement activities to increase awareness of roles rights and responsibilities for safety. This will be specific to the needs of the customers at each building.
We will clarify our responsibilities and customers responsibilities to ensure that their homes remain safe. This will include proactively providing them with the information to help them understand the measures that are already in place in their home. As standard practice, this information will be displayed on our website and made available at the start of their tenancy. 
We will work with residents to identify the ways in which they would like to receive clear, concise information relating to the safety of their home. As standard, we will provide: 
  • The measures we have in place to mitigate potential fire risk.
  • Information detailing how customers can reduce the risk of fire.
  • Procedures to follow if a fire occurs within the building.
  • Key information and contact details for named staff, e.g. the Accountable Person.
We will enable customers to request additional information, such as fire risk assessments and maintenance schedules. 
We will encourage and empower our customers to get involved in decision making related to the safety of their homes.
We will have simple and easy mechanisms to report any safety concerns. 
We will ensure that all high risk residential buildings have specific engagement strategies that meet the specific needs of customers living at that property.



Customers feel safer in their homes and neighbourhoods, resulting in improvements to quality of life and more positive perceptions of the local area. 
Residents will be supported to better understand their homes in the context of building and fire safety to address any concerns they may have about the safety of their building and reduce the risk of harm in the event of any incident.

Measuring Success

An action plan will be developed to evidence the delivery plan for this strategy which will be reviewed and monitored by the Customer Engagement Manager along with engaged residents.

The progress of this delivery plan will also be monitored on an annual basis by the Customer Experience Committee. Further to this, we will co-produce an annual report with residents, highlighting each year’s projects and successes.