Get Involved - Residents Engagement GroupsEngaging our Customers will enable Colchester Borough Homes to arrive at informed and cost-effective solutions. Solutions for improving services. Saving money. And bringing real and long-lasting change to our community.
At Colchester Borough Homes, we want to move on from just involving tenants in what we do, to ensuring that you have real influence in what we do and what happens in your community.
To help us with this, we need to understand more about what is important and relevant to you – so that together we can improve our services. You can tell us how you want to be involved by answering these questions and/or making your own comments.
Are you, or do you know, someone who goes the extra mile to make their local area better? Whether it’s through helping others, encouraging wildlife, or creating a beautiful display in their garden, CBH would like to recognise residents who give up their time to make their neighbourhood attractive and welcoming. Residents of all ages who live in properties managed by CBH have the chance to win up to £100 of vouchers through our two annual competitions: the Good Neighbour and Your Garden Awards.
Good Neighbour Awards
Developed in 2008, our Good Neighbour Awards celebrate those tenants and leaseholders that go the extra mile to help, contribute and make a difference towards their local community
These awards celebrate tenants and leaseholders who look after others in their community. Nominations are now open and this year the our Good Neighbour Awards has four categories:
- Neighbourhood Achievement Award (individual or group) – This award recognises a person or a group of people who have achieved something that you would like to see recognised or has had an impact on your neighbourhood. They may have helped organise activities for other people such as street parties, litter picks or setting up singing groups etc.
- Sheltered Neighbour Award – This award specifically recognises the dedication of tenants over 60 years of age who go out of their way to help the people who live around them.
- Good Neighbour Award – This award recognises people who are always there when you need them; they may look after your house or pet while you are away, help tidy your garden or help with your shopping.
Your Garden Awards
This competition is for residents who take pride in their property and put in extra effort to make their outdoor space attractive and welcoming. The categories are as follows:
- Best Small-Space Garden or Balcony
- Best Wildlife Garden
- Best Vegetable Garden or Plot
- Most Improved Garden
- Most Fun/Artistic Garden
- Best Communal Space (open to gardens which are looked after by tenants/leaseholders only)
Flexibility of Resident’s panel – There are 4 meetings each year, and Residents are invited to attend with the meeting open to those who have a interest in the topic. The meeting dates, topics and a summary of outcomes will be available on the CBH website. We welcome open discussion on the topic, and individual issues should not be raised during the meeting but can be discussed with a member of CBH staff at the end of the meeting.
Who can join the Panel?
The Panel doesn’t have a set size, but will include at least three Board Members and at least three tenants or leaseholders. CBH wants to engage with a wide group of interested tenants and have a semi-formal membership for the panel. This allows different members to attend the meetings which discuss the issues of interest to them.
There are no set rules for how many Panel members must attend a meeting. Board Members on the Panel must attend every meeting (unless there are legitimate reasons why they can’t) but resident members may attend as many or as few meetings as they want. The only requirement we have is that Panel members must let CBH know if they will (or won’t) be attending upcoming meetings.
Although the Panel is scheduled to meet four times each year, extra meetings can be called by the Chair of the Panel, if they think this is necessary. The Chair and the Board Assurance Officer will ensure that all Panel members are told of extra meetings at the earliest possible point.
Chair of the Panel
The Chair of the Panel will be chosen by the Board of Colchester Borough Homes.
Support for the Panel’s work
All officers at CBH will support the Panel’s work when they are called upon, and members of the Directors’ Management Team will attend meetings, present reports and ensure that the Panel has everything it needs to be informed and effective.
The Chair of the Board will work with the Chair of the Panel to ensure that it’s effective at both representing residents’ views and at improving our services.
Open to all residents to attend and have their say
Although CBH residents are encouraged to attend full Board meetings and voice their views, we know that this can be a daunting prospect for many.
To give a more informal way for residents to bring their views to Board attention, each meeting of the Panel will be open for all residents to attend, and residents may put their concerns and issues to the Panel for consideration and to have these then put before the full Board for consideration.
The Reading Panel
CBH looks to continuously improve its service, in response to the changing needs of the customers. This improvement can include the review and amendment of the policies that underpin the work of the group. Any change/amendment to a CBH policy requires the input and feedback from a pool of customers, before the proposal can go before the board. The Reading Panel will read and consider proposed improvements/amendments and offer their own feedback. The report authors will then and in turn, consider all feedback before presenting to the board. Panel members receive papers by email, so can consider, review and feedback in their own homes.
The CBH Board has the strategic responsibility for the whole organisation and supports the CEO in the decision-making process. The Board membership includes CBH Customers, to ensure the wider customer base are represented and views considered. We have a live recruitment process looking to identify and support new resident board members. The Board Meetings and AGM is partially open to the public to observe, details of which can be shared.Being a Board member gives you the opportunity to have direct involvement in the way we deliver services.
We are keen for the Board to reflect the diverse nature of our community, and we welcome applications from individuals whatever their background. Our Board consists of:
- Three Council Board Members (usually appointed by the Council at the annual meeting in May/June)
- Three Independent Board Members (appointed for three-year terms following an open recruitment process)
- Three Tenant Board Members* (appointed for three-year terms following an open recruitment process, which may involve an election)
- The Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Homes
*One Tenant Board Member may be a Leaseholder, providing they live in the property they lease from the Council.
If you would like to find out more about joining the Board, or to register your interest in the next round of recruitment, please contact Mark Healy, Resident Insight and Engagement Officer, on 03300 538022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
STAR surveys were introduced in 2011 and continue to be an invaluable resource for landlords to assist in their understanding of how tenants and residents feel about the services they provide and to inform business planning and resource allocation. Survey of tenants and residents (STAR)
Every 2 years we carry out a Survey of Tenants and Residents (STAR) to find out what our customers think about the services we provide, their homes and their neighbourhoods. We ask similar questions each time so we can also track whether we are improving and take action if we are not. It is a standard survey which is used across the country by housing organisations so we can compare our results with other landlords.
The headlines from the 2018 STAR survey were:
- 83% of tenants are satisfied overall
- 87% think that their rent is good value for money
- 93% of sheltered tenants are satisfied overall
- 82% of tenants were satisfied with the safety of their homes
- 78% of tenants are satisfied with the quality of their home
- 75% were satisfied with repairs & maintenance
- 68% of leaseholders were satisfied with our services.
We are very pleased that satisfaction with the value for money ratings was high, with CBH being amongst the very best landlords on the questions of rent for tenants, and service charges for leaseholders. Satisfaction with the quality of homes was lower than it had been in 2016, and we recognise that it is more important than ever to focus on maintaining your homes in an environment where we have less money to spend. Repairs and maintenance is very important to our residents, so there is more to do in order to match the average of 79% satisfaction amongst similar landlords.
You can read the full report and summary to the right of this page.
Our previous Survey of Tenants and Residents (STAR) was held in 2016. The results showed that 85% of our tenants were satisfied with the services that they receive, an increase of 2% from our previous STAR in 2014 and up 7% since 2010. You can view the results of previous surveys on the right hand side of this page.
What we do with the results
Our Customer Plan sets out our aim of being among the top 25% of similar landlords for satisfaction by 2022, and we will use the results of the survey to help us plan improvements to our services. You can see our Customer Plan on the right hand side of this page. (link to customer plan and previous report).
QAA: Quality Assurance Advisors
If you would like to make an important contribution to the quality of the environment where you live then consider becoming a Quality Assurance Advisor (QAA).
What is a Quality Assurance Advisor?
They are tenant or leaseholder volunteers who monitor the communal areas of 3 and 2 storey blocks of flats.
What does a Quality Assurance Advisor do?
As a QAA you will be asked to monitor the quality of maintenance and cleaning contracts within the blocks and surrounding grounds. This is achieved by completing a simple monitoring form to record and report any issues such as: communal repairs, the cleaning standards within the blocks, grounds maintenance, graffiti and fly tipping. You will also work closely with our Community Caretakers in ensuring the communal areas within your block are to the highest standards.
How much time is required?
No more than 30 minutes two or three times a month, and the opportunity to attend meetings.
How to Apply
To apply to become a Quality Assurance Advisor, contact Gill Lewis or call 01206 282910.
BEING INVOLVED MEANS:
- You receive an initial one to one meeting to introduce you to the service where you will be provided with an information pack and contact details.
- You will be invited to regular quarterly meetings, where you will meet the Colchester Borough Homes Staff and Service Providers and the opportunity to celebrate the successes you have achieved.
- You will have opportunities to attend free training and development courses
- We will use your involvement to shape the services we deliver and feedback on any changes or outcomes.
- Refreshments whilst attending meetings and events plus expenses including travel and child care will be paid.