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CBH Service Standards

At Colchester Borough Homes, we pride ourselves on always delivering excellent services to all our customers. To help us achieve this, it is important that you, our customers, know the standard of service you should expect from us, and that our staff also understand what is expected of them.

We’ve outlined our core standards for each service area with what is to be expected. We monitor our performance to ensure we’re meeting these standards by using regular satisfaction surveys, audits, and various engagement methods with our customers.

Customer Care Standard

CUSTOMER CARE STANDARD

When delivering services to you, we will:

Customer Care

  • Train staff to ensure they have the relevant skills and knowledge
  • Work with you to build trust in our services
  • Be honest and act on what we say we’ll do
  • Protect your personal information
  • Carry out regular customer satisfaction surveys and publish the results
  • Try to address your request the first time you contact us.

Communication

  • Be polite, treating you with respect and as an individual
  • Explain things clearly
  • Communicate in the way that best suits you
  • Provide a staffed telephone service between 8.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • Answer your calls within 25 seconds
  • Respond to letters, emails, voicemails and web messages within 5 working days
  • Provide you with out-of-hours numbers to report emergency repairs,anti-social behaviour and homelessness emergencies
  • Publish an Annual Report to tell you how we are performing

Visiting Your Home

Our staff and contractors will:

  • Introduce themselves and show proof of identity
  • Be professional, tidy, polite and respectful
  • Minimise mess, noise and disruption and refrain from smoking and using bad language.
  • Take care of your home and possessions and always protect them from dust, paint and the risk of damage.

Complaints and Compliments

  • Provide the means to make a complaint via our website and by email, phone, letter
  • Aim to acknowledge within one working day of receipt
  • Tell you what will be investigated and who will investigate
  • Abide to the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code
  • Respond in 10 working days to Stage 1 complaints (unless extra time is required)
  • Respond in 20 Working days to Stage 2 complaints

Equality and Diversity

  • Treat people fairly and with respect
  • Not unlawfully discriminate
  • Help all our customers access our services
  • Provide translation and interpreting, large print and Braille
  • Meet our Public Sector Equality Duty
  • Meet our published Equality Objectives

Resident Involvement

  • Provide various and flexible methods for customers to get involved, so you can be heard and influence our services and decisions
  • Help and support you to get the skills and access you may need to engage with us
  • Work with you to scrutinise our services and performance
  • Publish a Resident Engagement Plan and impact assessments so you can see how we are doing and the difference your involvement makes

Applying for a Home

When delivering services to you, we will:

Housing Applications

  • Contact you within 5 working days of your new application to explain the process and likely waiting time for accommodation
  • Contact you within 5 working days where you notify us of changes to your application which will affect your existing banding.
  • Process medical and welfare requests within 5 working days of receipt of all requested information
  • Notify you of your banding assessment within 5 working days of receipt of all required documentation
  • Process all applications in line with the published Gateway to Homechoice Allocations Policy.

Homelessness and Housing Solutions

  • Provide an Out of Hours Emergency homeless service
  • Provide you with an appointment to see us at a time convenient to you.
  • If you meet the criteria, we will provide you with a personalised Housing Plan which will outline the actions we will take to prevent or relieve your Homelessness.
  • Respond to Streetlink rough sleeper referrals within 2 working days of receipt
Applying For A Home Standard

APPLYING FOR A HOME STANDARD

When delivering services to you, we will:

Housing Applications

  • Contact you within 5 working days of your new application to explain the process and likely waiting time for accommodation
  • Contact you within 5 working days where you notify us of changes to your application which will affect your existing banding.
  • Process medical and welfare requests within 5 working days of receipt of all requested information
  • Notify you of your banding assessment within 5 working days of receipt of all required documentation
  • Process all applications in line with the published Gateway to Homechoice Allocations Policy.

Homelessness and Housing Solutions

  • Provide an Out of Hours Emergency homeless service
  • Provide you with an appointment to see us at a time convenient to you.
  • If you meet the criteria, we will provide you with a personalised Housing Plan which will outline the actions we will take to prevent or relieve your Homelessness.
  • Respond to Streetlink rough sleeper referrals within 2 working days of receipt
Home Standard

HOME STANDARD

When delivering services to you, we will:

Lettings

  • Run our New Tenancy service fairly, explaining all stages of the process
  • Give transfer applicants a guide to the Transfer Incentive Scheme
  • Give you a copy of our re-let standards when you sign up
  • Give you appropriate support and help through the re-housing process
  • Help you if you need to complete a Housing Benefit claim form or make changes to your Universal Credit changes
  • Give you a welcome pack about your new home and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant

Repairs

  • Make sure a copy of our Repairs Policy is available to you, which sets out our standards and responsibilities as a landlord
  • Carry out repairs in the following timescales:
    – Emergency: 24 hours, 7 days a week
    – Urgent: 5 working days
    – Routine: 20 working days
  • Provide a range of ways for you to report a repair
  • Offer you convenient appointment times for day-to-day repairs and inform you of any delays

Adaptations

  • Provide you with guidance and support to obtain Occupational Therapist’s recommendations for required works
  • Fund minor and major adaptation works, subject to the availability of funds and inspect work to ensure it is completed correctly

Capital Programme

  • Carry out regular surveys of your home to establish what work is required
  • Consult you about any work we plan to do
  • Provide you with contact details so you can discuss any concerns you may have whilst the works are being carried out
  • Before the works commence our contractor will visit you to identify any special needs or requirements you may have
  • If you are having a new kitchen, a designer will discuss the layout with you and help you choose your preferred colour and fitting options
  • Start dates for works will be agreed with you
  • The contractor will protect your floor finishes and furniture as required throughout the course of the works
  • The contractor will keep your home secure and protect your property from damage
  • At the end of each working day the contractor will leave the property clean and tidy and ensure you have adequate facilities (for washing and cooking etc.)

Safety and Maintenance

  • Offer a range of appointments to carry an annual Gas Safety check
  • Service and maintain our equipment we use in line with legal requirements and good practice
  • Explain the nature and purpose of the job

Mutual Exchanges

  • Acknowledge your application and arrange to inspect your home
  • Arrange for an electrical safety inspection to be carried out
  • Inspect your home and report on its condition, noting any alterations and outstanding repairs
  • If another landlord is involved, we will contact them and exchange references about each tenant
  • Arrange for a gas safety inspection to take place once your new tenancy has started

From the point of receiving all application forms, we have up to 6 weeks to advise you if there are any grounds to prevent permission. Our aim is to complete all exchanges within 10 weeks and we will keep you informed throughout the process

We will not allow an exchange to complete if the property is in an unsafe and/or poor condition. We may require you to complete or pay for works to repair damage, replace missing fittings, or return the property to standard condition.

Tenancy Standard

TENANCY STANDARD

When delivering services to you, we will:

Managing Your Tenancy

  • Offer you a suitable tenancy based on your circumstances and our Allocations Policy
  • Explain your rights and responsibilities before you sign your Tenancy agreement
  • Make sure your service charges reflect the cost of providing the services you receive
  • Help you understand your responsibilities as a tenant and access the services you need
  • Let you know who your Housing Officer is
  • Have a proactive approach to exchanging your property with another tenant
  • Give you the Right to Buy your property in line with Government Legislation
  • Provide our new homes to our minimal lettable standard

Paying Your Rent

  • Send you rent statements once a year
  • Give you accurate and timely information
  • Give advice and help from the start of your tenancy to prevent you getting into arrears
  • Offer a variety of payment methods so that you can pay in a way that suits you
  • Provide advice and help to keep your payments up to date
  • If you’re in arrears we will offer arrangement terms to help you bring your account up to date in a reasonable time
  • Help you stay up to date with your rent and service charge payments by referring you to debt advisory services, benefits advisory services and other sources of helpful information
  • If you don’t pay your rent or service charges we will tell you in advance if we plan to take legal action to recover the debt
  • Try to make an agreement with you to pay the money you owe before taking court action
  • Seek possession of your home for rent arrears only as a last resort

Sheltered Housing

  • Provide fire, safety, and wellbeing checks on regular basis
  • Support you in being established in your independent living
  • Arrange social and involvement activities

Leasehold

Our Leaseholders’ Charter & Service Standards & Pledges

  • Keep the building in good condition to protect our investment and yours
  • Have staff available to deal with enquiries between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday – with an out of hours service available for emergency enquiries. Our staff will identify themselves and wear a name badge
  • Visit you at home by appointment if you request us to do so. We will show ID and treat your home with respect
  • Consult with you regularly – your views and opinions are important to us to help shape our future service
Neighbourhood Standard

NEIGHBOURHOOD STANDARD

When delivering services to you, we will:

Estate Services

  • Inspect the services provided on our large estates
  • Ensure a high standard of cleanliness in the services provided
  • Make sure all properties with grounds maintenance or a cleaning service are maintained to a good standard
  • Provide services that are good value for money by maintaining and occasionally re-advertising contracts and involving residents in this
  • Have community housing officers that support tenants and address their concerns on the estates
  • Remove all offensive graffiti from estates within 24 hours of receiving a report and that other graffiti is removed within seven working days, or as soon as possible if specialist treatment is needed

Assisted Gardening Scheme

  • Undertake the trimming of grass up to 9 times a year between March to November.
  • Ensure all grass cuttings are left but paths will be swept clear
  • Undertake hedge cutting twice a year usually between June-July and October
  • Remove all hedge trimmings

Community Caretaking

  • Carry out 40 stairwell health and safety inspections for three and two storey blocks every month
  • Carry out 7 garage area inspections a month
  • Support and meet our tenant volunteer quality assurance advisors quarterly

Anti-social Behaviour

  • Contact you within two working days of your complaint being received
  • Contact you within one working day if the incident involves incidents of a more serious nature, including hate crime

Our action will depend on the type of issue you are reporting. We can:

  • Speak with the person to explain the effect of their behaviour on neighbours
  • Refer cases to an independent mediation service, free of charge
  • Advise and help victims and witnesses on gathering evidence
  • Issue warnings such as Acceptable Behaviour Agreements
  • Refer you to relevant support agencies
  • Provide extra security measures where necessary
  • Consider taking more robust enforcement action
  • Ask you to download the Noise App to gather evidence relating to noise

You can find out more about the service we will provide you by reading our Customer Charter.