Customer Annual Report 2022/23
Welcome to your Customer Annual Report 2022/23.
Every year, we produce this report to share how we’ve been performing against the standards you can expect from us.
We want to be open with you about where we’re meeting our targets and where we need to improve. You can find out how we’ve been doing with repairs, fire and building safety, customer service, housing management and more.
- You gave us a customer satisfaction score of 80%. This was the average based on your experiences of our repairs, contact centre and complaints services.
- We supported more than 5,800 people to get help with their finances, employment and wellbeing. This was a key area of focus because of cost of living rises which have impacted so many of our residents.
- We also
built 745 much-needed new homes, with 64% of these affordable.
We always work hard to deliver our services to a good standard, but know that at times we’ve fallen short of the high standards that you, and we, hold ourselves to.
In July, our Chief Executive Ian Wardle wrote to residents to apologise to those affected and to explain our plans for improvement. What we’ve developed in our action plan is based on your feedback, along with our own insight and research.
Our priorities include
- Responding to your queries more quickly, without you needing to chase us
- Delivering your repairs faster, with fewer visits to fix issues
- Resolving your complaints more quickly
- Improving how we deal with anti-social behaviour
- Maintaining communal areas to a better standard.
We hope you find this report useful, and we’d love to hear your feedback.
Please take a moment to complete our short survey and, as a thank you for your time, you’ll be entered into a draw to win one of three £50 shopping vouchers.*
Thanks for reading.*Terms and conditions apply.
So, how did we do?
This is a snapshot of our performance over the past year. Why not read on for more information on how we’ve done and where we get our data from.
*What is social value? Social value is a way to measure the impact of our projects. The social value calculator, used across the housing sector, enables us to quantify the value of things such as support for wellbeing and mental health, and to measure the unseen financial value of our services to the people and communities who have used them.
More about this report
Where do our satisfaction ratings come from? Last year, 12,000 of you gave us your feedback, leading to these satisfaction scores. We invite you to give your feedback, usually by phone and text, after using our services. We share the results each month within our organisation to inform action and improvement plans. If you’ve not been receiving our surveys, it would be great if you opted-in by calling our Contact Centre on 0800 432 0077.
Our regulator: The Regulator of Social Housing requires us to provide information on our repairs and maintenance budgets, and you can find this information within this report.
Local performance information: We know some of you would like us to include performance information specific to your home and estate and we’re working on ways to provide this in the future.
Your feedback: We use your feedback given via surveys to help shape this report. For example, we include the topics you tell us are most important to you, such as repairs, safety, rent and service charge costs, and we explain where our satisfaction data comes from.
We’re committed to building strong relationships with you and delivering good quality services.
We ask you to tell us how satisfied you are with our services and use your feedback to understand what’s working well and where we need to improve.
Last year, our average customer satisfaction score was 80%, slightly below our target of 82%. This was the average of the ratings you gave us for our Contact Centre, repairs and complaints services.
Looking ahead - key actions
We want to keep improving your satisfaction with our services, and we’re:
- Getting more customers involved with scrutinising our work through our new customer engagement framework
- Updating our customer commitments in consultation with residents
- Refreshing our service standards to provide more clarity on what you can expect from us
- And, from next year, we’ll be publishing our performance against the government’s new Tenant Satisfaction Measures.
Looking after your home
We’re really committed to making sure your home is safe and maintained to a good standard. We want you to trust us and know that we always strive to do the right thing.
When you report a repair to us, we work hard to resolve it quickly and to a good standard. Last year, we carried out more than 85,000 repairs.
This was a significant increase compared to previous years. We spent £38.1m last year completing these repairs.
Our goal is to complete your repair within 15 days. Last year, our average time was 20 days, below our target and slower than the previous year’s 13-day average.
We were disappointed not to meet our target. This was due to a number of challenges we faced, which included:
- A significant increase in the volume of requests we received
- Lack of availability of skilled tradespeople
- An on-going backlog following covid
- An increase in calls about damp and mould.
Looking ahead - key actions
We need and want to improve our repairs service, and to achieve this:
- We’ve created a repairs improvement plan. This will help us to complete repairs faster, deliver more first-time fixes, and provide clearer information for you along the way
- We’re also making it easier for you to get in contact with us and empowering our customer-facing teams to respond more quickly.
Improvements in your home
We’re continually investing in delivering improvements to the homes we manage. This includes upgrading bathrooms and kitchens, major works such as roofs, redecorating homes and installing aids and adaptations for those of you who need them.
In 2022/23, we spent £56.7m on improvements, major works and aids and adaptations.
We completed improvements to more than 3,000 homes, installing 338 kitchens and 276 bathrooms, replacing 578 doors, 486 windows and 84 roofs. You gave us a 95% customer satisfaction score for these works.
We completed 80% of the works that we’d planned to deliver.
Last year, 99.87% of our homes met the Decent Homes Standard. There were 26 homes remaining that needed work, with these either within a programme of works or where residents have declined the improvement works.
We’re working hard to improve the sustainability of our homes, to make them warmer and more affordable to run.
In 2022/23 we spent £700,000 on reducing carbon emissions. We did this through upgrading heating systems and installing wall and loft insulation in many of our customers’ homes. This continues to be a priority for us. We’ve allocated £1.7m to deliver further works in 2023/24.
Last year, we produced 2.05 tonnes of CO2-emissions per home, against a target of 2.024. We’ve got a target for all homes to be EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rated C and above by 2023.
Keeping you safe
Building and fire safety
Keeping you safe is our top priority. Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent government review, we launched a multi-million-pound programme to deliver fire safety works for our tall buildings.
In the last year we’ve:
- Completed inspections at 140 of our buildings
- Applied for government funding to cover the costs of fire safety works, with £8m of funding approved and a further six applications worth £17.5m to be decided
- Responded to 6,500 of your enquiries relating to building and fire safety.
- 100% of our homes have an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment (target:100% target)
- 99.7% have a valid gas safety record (target:100%)
- 83.2% have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Certificate (target: 85%).
Keeping you safe
Damp and mould
We want all our homes to be free from damp and mould, and we welcome the new government legislation to address this across the social housing sector.
In the past year, we’ve created a specialist team to tackle damp and mould. Like many other housing associations, we received a high volume of feedback from customers in the wake of the government’s announcement, and at the time we were under resourced to manage this as effectively as we would’ve liked.
However, our Damp & Mould Customer Liaison Team quickly developed robust plans to diagnose and remedy cases of damp and mould.
Over the last year we’ve:
- Started an accelerated programme of inspections and repairs
- Made changes to our processes and call handling, for example, ensuring we’re getting more information from you the first time you contact us. This allows us to respond more quickly and effectively with inspections, cleaning and repairs
- Launched a communications campaign to encourage you to let us know of any damp and mould issues as soon as possible. We’ve also provided support with tackling condensation, damp and mould.
Last year, we also set up an Enhanced Housing Management Team, responsible for around 90 of our schemes with the most complex building and fire safety issues.
Our Property and Safety Managers have a smaller portfolio of homes to manage. This means they can provide a more intensive approach, ensuring we’re meeting the requirements of new building and fire safety legislation and being on-site more regularly to meet with residents.
Looking ahead - key actions
- We’re continuing to deliver our fire safety programme to repair and improve the safety of our tallest buildings and those with higher risks
- We’re addressing disrepair, damp and mould in our homes, responding to customer concerns through proactive inspections and outreach
- We’re also strengthening our communications about customer safety, to ensure you have the information and support you need.
Supporting our customers
Cost of living rises meant it was more important than ever last year to support those struggling with finances.
We helped 2,200 customers to claim more than £7m in financial support during 2022/23. Our dedicated Tenancy Sustainment Team helped residents to access discounts on utility bills, with Universal Credit applications and government funding.
- Accessed £115,000 in charitable grants for residents
- Approved 135 applications to our Tenancy Sustainment Fund to help with buying white goods, furniture, school uniforms, and paying debts
- Provided support to residents with no means of topping up electric and gas meters or buying food. We issued 166 energy vouchers and 117 supermarket vouchers between December 2022 and March 2023.
If you’re worried about money, we’re here to help. Call us on 0800 432 0077 and ask to speak to our Tenancy Sustainment Team. There’s also more information on our website.
We saw a 57% increase in referrals for help with money management last year. However, because of the many support schemes on offer, the number of our customers in rent arrears remained relatively low at 3.6%. Whilst this was marginally higher than our 3.4% target, it was among the lowest level in the G15, a group of London’s largest housing associations.
Our Employment Advisors help customers regain financial stability by supporting them back into work or to change their career path, through our Pathways Programme.
Dawn McWhinney, an A2Dominion resident in south west London, had been feeling that her previous role as a HR Officer just wasn’t bringing in enough income.
Following a conversation with one of our Income Officers, Erica, she was referred to our employment team.
Erica said: “With the current financial crisis, we need to support our customers the best we can. From an income point of view, if our service can help our residents find employment or find better employment, it can help with financial stability and overall wellbeing.”
Yasmeen, one of our Employment Advisors, supported Dawn with her CV, interview skills and job applications.
Dawn said: “What I’ve really appreciated about this service was being encouraged so much. Yasmeen set me weekly objectives and held me accountable to developing this change. I was also given help and positive feedback on my applications.
“But mostly it was having someone who believed in me and did not limit my expectations or vision. Thank you so much for this amazing journey and achievement, it has been awesome.”
Managing your estates and neighbourhoods
We know you want your home and neighbourhood to be a safe and peaceful place to live, which is why we’re committed to tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB).
Last year, you reported 549 cases of ASB to us. This included issues with noise nuisance and aggressive behaviour.
We resolved complaints of ASB in an average of 83 days, ahead of our 90-day target. However, complex cases of ASB, such as those involving legal action, can often take longer than 90 days to get a resolution. If you’re experiencing ASB, find out how we can help.
Fly-tipping, or dumping of rubbish, is an illegal activity and we encourage you to report any incidents to us. This allows us to investigate and take action where possible, such as enforcement action, which can result in a resident losing their tenancy with us.
When fly-tipped rubbish needs to be cleared from our homes and estates, these costs are covered through service charges. Last year, £1.2m was spent on clearing dumped items. We continue to raise awareness of how waste should be removed responsibly.
When a home becomes empty, we want to get it back into use as soon as possible. Last year, we took an average of 38 days to re-let homes between tenancies, slightly above our 30-day target. There were a number of reasons for this, including employee shortages, a continued backlog following covid, delays with local authorities providing nominations and a high level of people refusing properties.
However, we began to see improvements in our turnaround times from November 2022 onwards, after employee levels returned to normal. We upskilled people across our organisation to help drive down the turnaround times and new processes were put in place to better manage and prioritise customers. By March 2023, we had achieved a new record of 13 days.
Your rent and service charge costs
With costs increasing last year due to higher prices for things such as energy, services, insurance and materials and other factors, we wrote to tell you in advance because we wanted to make sure you were well-informed.
We produced a raft of information and Q&As, and hosted resident webinar events to guide customers through the changes and answer any questions.
Last year, our social housing rents increased by 7%, in line with rules set by the government.
Shared ownership rents were due to rise by 13.1% (in line with the Retail Price Index plus 0.5%). However, we decided to cap these at 7% to protect our shared ownership customers from rising inflation.
Service charges also increased. This was due to rising prices for gas and electricity, services such as cleaning and lift maintenance, buildings insurance and the price and availability of materials and trades for repairs.
We don’t make any money from service charges, only recovering the costs of providing the services and we look to achieve value for money through our contracts.
Because of the increases with costs this year, we saw a 53% rise in service charge queries from customers, from April 2022 to March 2023. In total we responded to 1,855 queries. We did this within an average of 6.9 days, much quicker than our 20-day target.
Resolving your complaints
If you’re unhappy with a service you’ve received from us, we want you to let us know so that we can investigate and resolve the matter.
We’ll always do our best to put it right as quickly as we can. We aim to learn from every complaint we receive, no matter how big or small.
Last year, we received 4,337 complaints. Most of these related to requests for repairs, along with gas and electrical issues. There were themes relating to how long it took us to complete works, the quality of works, keeping appointments, and making sure customers were kept informed.
- We responded to 73% of your complaints within 10 days. This was below our 90% target, although a slight improvement on the previous year’s 70% score
- We resolved 93% of your complaints at the first stage of investigation, slightly below our 95% target
- You gave us an average 79% satisfaction rating with our complaints service, below our 83% target
- 1.2% of complaints were escalated to the independent Housing Ombudsman Service for further investigation, slightly above our 1% target.
We regret there were nine cases where the ombudsman issued Complaint Handling Failure Orders. This was because we took too long to respond or provide information to the ombudsman.
There were also two cases that had severe maladministration. This was where we had taken too long to address issues and we were required to provide higher levels of redress. We’ve offered our sincere apologies to the residents affected. We fully accepted the ombudsman’s findings and recommendations, using what we’ve learnt to drive improvements.
Looking ahead - learning lessons & key actions
We’re improving the way we handle complaints, which will mean we resolve them sooner and more effectively. This includes:
- Building a bigger customer scrutiny group to oversee our approach
- Increasing our targets for responding on time and introducing new weekly meetings to review complaints reaching their due date
- Introducing case reviews for complaints that have been escalated
- Using a customer scrutiny panel to review the responses we issue, with the quality of responses rated at 85% to 98%.
With the majority of your complaints relating to how we respond to your repairs requests, we’ve developed a number of initiatives to improve our performance in these areas, including:
- Procurement of a new repairs provider and improvements to how we manage our contract with them
- A detailed end-to-end repairs improvement plan
- Improving our accuracy with how we first diagnose what repairs are required in your home. This allows us to schedule our repairs appointments more effectively and fix more of your repairs on our first visit to your home.
Other learnings from your complaints have resulted in:
- Updates to our complaints and temporary accommodation policies to we have clear timeframes and that temporary accommodation inspections are carried out
- A new damp and mould policy and strengthening of a taskforce to manage damp and mould cases
- Changes in the way contractors and third parties are managed on specific sites to be clearer on responsibilities and reduce delays
- The introduction and expansion of an Enhanced Housing Management Team to support some of our larger schemes focused on improving the customer experience and reducing the number of complaints.
We’ve also made it easier for customers to find out how to make a complaint
What does my rent pay for?
If you rent a home from us, the rent you pay covers a range of costs involved in maintain in your home and building, and for services provided including repairs and buildings insurance.
The difference we make
We’re proud of the work we do in local communities. Last year we reached thousands of people through our projects designed to help with finances, health and wellbeing. We also delivered care and support services and invested in building new homes, many of which are affordable.
Last year, our work in local communities generated £11.2m in social value. This exceeded our £9m target. This included:
- 5,800 customers supported to access help with finances, employment, health and wellbeing
- 2,668 customers participating in community projects such as sports activities, volunteering and afterschool clubs
- 896 customers accessing cost of living and health and wellbeing support on a one-to-one basis
- £524,000 of external funding secured to support initiatives such as holiday activities for families, befriending schemes and community events
- More than £300,000 of grant funding distributed to help customers and communities with career pathways, neighbourhood improvements and to support community organisations
- Bursaries provided to 40 of our young residents aged 14 to 24 years old to support their pathways into education, training and employment
- £12,800 worth of food and household energy help secured through our partnership with the charity Charis.
Chloe, 20, moved into Bramlings House in Newbury, a specialist scheme for young people and young parents aged 16-24. At the time, she was pregnant with her first child and had unfortunately experienced a family breakdown. As a result, she had at times found herself sofa-surfing.
Chloe and her son now have a safe and secure place to call home and our team is on hand to provide support.
“The staff are very welcoming, it’s easy to get along in here. And it's just a nice community to be a part of.”
Bramlings House provides 27 units of accommodation, and our team supports young people to develop the life skills they need to move on, either to privately rented accommodation or social housing. In 2021, it was awarded the TPAS Excellence in Engagement in Support and Care.
Care and support
Our Care and Support Team worked with 2,500 customers last year. We delivered support for more than 1,500 people who contacted our domestic abuse service, 80 people who were experiencing homelessness and 1,135 people living in our retirement schemes.
We received a 95% satisfaction score from our care and support customers. This was based on feedback from 152 residents.
- Grew and retained more than £1m worth of contracts for support services
- Secured a tender to remain as the key provider of domestic abuse services in Oxfordshire for the next three years
- Provided £44,395 of funding for customers in specialist housing, for items such as TVs for communal areas, garden furniture, art supplies and resident events.
Jacob is one of our youngest residents living at Matilda House in Oxford – a supported housing scheme for those who have experienced homelessness.
The 22-year-old moved into Matilda House in September 2022. Through the support of our team, he’s managed to overcome many obstacles. Since being referred to us, Jacob has completed an alcohol detox, cleared his arrears, and set up his own bank account.
Jacob is full of praise for staff onsite and highlights the vital role supported accommodation plays in society. He said: “Services like Matilda House are very important for the community, otherwise a lot of people would still be living on the streets.”
Jacob now aspires to get back into education and is meeting with an employment specialist to assess his options for the future. “I’m looking to get my own place and looking at college courses as well. I’m particularly interested in studying engineering and business,” he said.
Our team is also supporting Jacob with the search for permanent accommodation and preparing for independent living.
Developing new homes
Last year, we built 745 new homes across London and southern England. Of these, 477 (64%) were affordable. These included homes for shared ownership, key workers and affordable rent. We’ve got 1,748 homes in the pipeline for the next two years.
We reinvest 100% of our profits from sales back into developing more housing and delivering services for our customers. Take a look at some of our development schemes.
Thank you for reading
Thanks for taking the time to read our Customer Annual Report.
Please tell us what you think by completing our online form and we’ll use your feedback to improve future reports. Give us your feedback by 27 October 2023 and you’ll be entered into a draw to win one of three £50 vouchers.*
You can also give your feedback over the phone. Please call our Customer Contact Centre on 0800 432 0077 phone and one of our team will be happy to help.
For further information about any of our services and the support we offer, search the Help section on our website
You can also speak to your Neighbourhood Officer or Property & Safety Manager or contact us by phone.
And, if you know anyone who’d like to receive this report in a printed or alternative format, this can be requested by calling us on our freephone number 0800 432 0077.
We’re a housing association with a history going back more than 80 years. Our goal is to provide homes people love to live in.
- Social and affordable homes
- Key worker, student, intermediate and homebuying offers to help people in different situations and life stages
- Market sale homes
- Temporary accommodation and support services.
We also run a range of community projects and support customers with health, wellbeing and finances.