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Lessons Learnt

GCH are constantly looking to improve and these are some examples of lessons learnt by listening to your complaints.

Performance

Gloucester City Homes (GCH) are an independent registered social housing provider. We currently own and manage:

  • 4,450 rented homes
  • 450 sheltered housing properties
  • 300 leasehold properties
  • 75 shared ownership properties
  • 26 commercial units
  • 62 homeless units.

We became an independent Housing Association in March 2015.

All GCH homes meet the Government’s decent homes standard. There is a 30 year financial business plan to deliver around £250 million investment in our existing and new homes.

Therefore we are highly valued and trusted by our tenants. For instance, GCH are recognised as one of the best housing providers in the country. This is through independent accreditation including:

  • The Sunday Times Top 100 non-profit making organisation
  • The Equalities Standard
  • British Standards Institute ISO 9001 recognition for quality management processes.

Above all, our Board, Management and Tenant Panel will continue to achieve better outcomes for our customers. Similarly, improving your homes and making your communities better places to live. We are committed to providing first class housing services to all our customers in:

Abbeydale, Barton, Cathedral, Chequers, Coney Hill, Elmbridge, Holmleigh, Hucclecote, Kingsholm, Linden, Longlevens, Matson, Podsmead, Quedgeley, Robinswood, Severn, The Lampreys, The Oval, Tredworth, Tuffley, Westgate and White City.

We also offer Lifelink, a Telecare Alarms and Responder Service. We offer a personal alarm and responder service to anyone living in Gloucestershire. Visit the Lifelink website for more information.

In conclusion, our mission is building homes and communities where people can thrive.

We improved the way diaries and timescales are managed and the amount of information provided to customers. Teams are regularly reminded of the need to keep customers aware of potential and actual hold-ups in work and are reminded to liaise with customers to “keep them in the loop” as much as possible. ​

A meeting was held with a contractor to address issues with delays in sourcing and replacing doors. We now monitor turnaround times as part of our key performance indicators and it is a standing agenda item at the monthly surveyor/contractor meetings ​

Complaint response letters were revised (and approved by Tenant Panel in May 2020) and The Housing Ombudsman’s February 2020 guidance on complaint letters was also reviewed.​

An Engineer was made aware that rudeness to a customer following a miscommunication between the office and an engineer (which led to no parts for job) was not acceptable and the expected standard of service was reiterated.​

To minimise delays for customers, where independent specialist Surveyors are required the team have been asked to ensure they are to be sourced at the earliest opportunity.​

A series of team briefing sessions (Tool Box Talks) were held for all operatives which included reminders about; use of mobile phones when in tenants homes, the importance of body language and the GCH customer service requirements to meet customer expectations.​

Rent Statements were amended to clearly show the “balance as at” date (and state it in two places) and ensure the documents are produced as quickly as possible once the data is available to minimise the amount of transactions not included.​

A contractor is no longer used due to their poor workmanship. ​

Training for all frontline staff to link infestations with potential property issues to be implemented along with procedural change to align.

The procedure and process for home safety checks in void properties was amended to include boiler testing.​

Process improvement work is being carried out with GCH Surveyors to standardise the process around customer contact and documentation as well as to introduce a revised suite of letters for contractors to use when communicating with customers. ​

When investigating tenant accidents which might have been caused by cleaning contractors, investigation meetings with customers will be carried out as a joint visit with Housing Officers present.​

When a customer has multiple complaints running at the same time, a co-ordinated case management approach has been implemented. This has been added to the complaints procedures.​

A reminder was issued to all ‘On Call’ out of hours staff, to ensure that for jobs involving serious incidents/police forced entry/deceased are reported to the Housing Management lead, to ensure effective communication with the customers family is appropriately co-ordinated.​

A reminder was issued to the Housing Services Teams to ensure that the full process for terms of notice, rent charges, housing benefit stopping and the estate being liable for the account is explained to the notifying customer or executor at the point of notifying GCH of a deceased tenant.​

A Tool Box Talk was held to instruct Engineers to park in the triangular area of Clapham Court which does obstruct the public and/or Emergency Services. Considerate and sensible parking messages were reiterated and Contractors have also been informed of the specific H&S issue this can cause at Clapham Court.​

Individual employee training needs were identified to support a staff member with Welfare Reform Offers. The Team Leader has agreed to work through the next application with the employee jointly and has reiterated expected email service standard timescales. ​

The Compensation Policy was reviewed and revised to make explicit that tenants can choose between work being carried out or a cash value.​

The Complaints Policy was revised and approved by Tenant Panel to include a case management approach for vulnerable tenants and/or for complex cases.​

The Tenancy Handbook was reviewed to make sure it very clearly set out new tenant rights and responsibilities (and GCHs). In particular, what GCH is and is not be responsible for repairing.​

The Director of Housing and Communities held a ‘Tone of Voice’ session with the Tenancy Service Manager and Team Leaders. Housing Officer processes have been reviewed and a session held with the team relating to ‘Tone of Voice’. All the team have also attended Trauma Informed service delivery training.​