Repair Response Times
17/08/2009 12:36 pm
From the early 1990s the CIH recommended and guided social landlords to have shorter repair response times for vulnerable residents - for example in sheltered and supported housing.
Does anyone have any examples of these with any detail.
All of the management agreements I have come across fail to include shorter repair response times and simpy adopt the standard ones for general needs housing.
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21/08/2009 12:47 pm
Blimey 1990 - that was a while ago! I assume that this was guidance given in our old Housing Management Standards Manual which in the good old days was presented in a ringbinder folder. It's 21st century incarnation is practice online which contains a whole range of information, advice and practice. The advice below is adapted from this.
However, I think the principle remains correct and applies to overall service delivery, not just repairs and maintenance. We would encourage housing organisation to understand who their "customers" are and deliver services in a way that is appropriate to their needs and reflect their diversity.
There are a number of ways in which a responsive repair service can be tailored to ensure that it caters effectively for all customers. Housing organisations should regularly review the systems they have in place to support potential vulnerable tenants and to ensure that these remain relevant and appropriate. In order to do this, the housing organisation should have systems which record data on tenants’ special needs and attributes.
Access arrangements for responsive repairs need to accommodate any special needs that a tenant may have, for example where a tenant is incapacitated, access may need to be organised through relatives or neighbours.
Many housing organisations are now following the lead of the utilities companies and making use of password schemes for elderly and vulnerable tenants.
The following things could be factored into polices and procedures:
Repairs prioritisation for households with young children, elderly or vulnerable tenants, for example by setting shorter response times for these households
Routinely treating repairs to the homes of victims of harassment as emergencies
The extent to which the make up of the staff reflects the community generally and/or the make-up of the tenant group and should establish recruitment and retention process which work towards this
How information about the repairs and maintenance service is interpreted/translated for tenants whose first language is not English and how information is made available for those with visual or hearing impairment.
Housing organisations should also monitor satisfaction with the repairs and maintenance service to ensure that there is equality of access and of service delivery across all customer groups.
For info on practice online see http://www.cih.org/practice/online/
22/08/2009 4:18 pm
Debbie - thanks for that but it really doesnt answer the points I was making.
Its one thing agreeing that repair response times should be shorter, its very laudable, yet another thing to not have this as a policy by RSLs despite the longevity of this guidance.
In practice - how many RSLs have managing agent agreements with specialist support providers? Almost all. Yet how many actually have shorter repair response times? Very few if any. Why not?
Heres a practical example. A Refuge - obviously populated with women and many children. A spindle comes out of a communal stair handrail - in general needs housing the lowest priority of repair. Yet a refuge with 2-3 or more children to adult ratio it becomes a very significant risk of a child falling through the gap - a possible death in fact.
Try asking RSLs to consider this an urgent repair!!
They react with astonishment because their systems flag this up as thee lowest priority and some even want this to be rechargeable to the support provider.
I could give scores of other actual scenarios as the one above - all met with the type of reaction I have detailed.
So - deflecting this into some generic "lets-focus-more-on-the-customer" steer is why your comments havent answerd the question put.
They could try a look at the specific issues involved approach - such as the obvious practical matter above in a refuge - or in lay terms understand your so-called partners - now that is real listening to the customer that as ive described falls on deaf ears.