East Devon District Council was committed to being an organisation that listened to customers and worked closely with its main contractor, Ian Williams, to provide a quick responsive solution. Therefore, both customer feedback and the way that the Property & Asset responded to this feedback, whether negative or positive, were vital indicators of the overall performance of the Ian Williams contract, impacting KPI’s.
Property & Asset aimed to maintain a high level of performance and improve the quality of service offered to customers, who felt that they had not received a high standard. This included providing timely responses to complaints whilst continuing to learn and improve.
The Property & Asset team strived to ensure it responded to customer concerns in an open and transparent way within defined timescales that has been agreed with both the service and Ian Williams. The purpose of the Housing and Customer Business Improvement Manager’s report was to outline the complaints and compliments that had been received between 1st July 2019 – 31st December 2020, highlighting key themes and trends. The report also explained how Property & Asset, working hand in hand with Ian Williams had performed and included case studies demonstrating how the service had learnt from complaints received. This was the most important aspect of the complaints process.
It was noted that the format and overall presentation of the report was based over a year and a half of the contract. In future these reports would be produced on a quarterly basis to be presented at the core contract monitoring group meetings, alongside the monthly PDF reviews.
Whilst customer feedback provided a valuable insight into how Ian Williams were and had been performing, complaints and compliments figures did not reflect the full picture. Members were reminded that the report should be understood within the context of the number of customers interacting with our repairs service, averaging all repairs to 4200+ properties.
The priority areas of focus for 2021 would be:
· Increasing the number of compliments recorded. The Housing and Business Customer Improvement Manager would promote the procedure for reporting compliments via social media platforms and website to ensure that tenants were having an opportunity to relay positive feedback.
· Addressing current and upcoming issues, using complaints as direct customer feedback to make immediate service improvements, working alongside Ian Williams CLO, Business Manager and EDDC’s Contract Manager.
· Reviewing the way that the Property & Asset team highlight and consider learning from complaints to ensure that each complaint enquiry is fully considered and used to positively grow the service and improve customer relationships.
It was noted that the top three trends of complaints were:
· Lack of communication.
· Cancelled appointments/no shows.
· Repair timescales.
The top three trends of compliments were:
· Operatives work.
· Operatives manners.
Timescales appearing in both complaints and compliments highlighted the need for consistency with reactive repair timeframes and the need to ensure that larger jobs were dealt with as a project, and the tenant kept informed throughout the whole process.
Complaints were being proactively managed to provide a better service and ensure that tenants were being given the opportunity to be heard.
The Housing Business and Customer Improvement Manager was thanked for her report.
RESOLVED: that the Housing Review Board note the Ian Williams complaint and compliment report and the actions being taken.