Working with our customers: engagement update Oct-Dec 2021

Engaging with our customers and listening to their views is very important to us. Customer feedback makes a difference to the way we deliver our services, drives improvements for everyone who lives in a First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) home and local communities, and helps us as we strive to be an excellent landlord.

On this page you can see all the ways we’ve worked with our customers to make positive changes from October - December 2021…

FCHO Customer Voice Panel

Our Customer Voice Panel (CVP) is made up of customers from across our neighbourhoods and has been set up to give a real voice to those who live in our homes, so they influence our services and bring about improvements.

  • 68 customers now part of the CVP
  • 17 customers attended October's CVP meeting
  • 17 CVP meetings and other engagement activities held this quarter
  • We have engaged with 290 customers across different service reviews and engagement activities. We held virtual meetings for customers to review and feedback on our current sustainability strategy. Customers also gave feedback on our current right-to-buy and shared ownership policies
  • We held an event at Daisy Hill Community Centre to discuss the re-opening
  • We carried out our quarterly round of neighbourhood inspections
  • We began our pilot customer void inspections, holding in-person and virtual training sessions and carrying out void inspections across two days. Following this we held a meeting with the involved customers to discuss feedback.
  • We launched our 'waste working group' pilot project, hosting two skip days and surveying seven different estates to gain feedback on the current process
  • We held an event to give customers the opportunity to meet one another following lockdown and discuss visions for the CVP over the next year

Customer void inspections

In July 2020, we consulted with 203 customers on the revised lettable standard, lettable standard checklist, customer 'Your Home' booklet and cleansing team property checklist.

Following this review, we consulted with customers about the development of a customer voids inspection process, utilising the revised standard.

The Stronger Communities team recruited five customer volunteers from the CVP. Three customers agreed to visit the properties in person and two agreed to inspect properties at home via a video link. The Stronger Communities team facilitated the overall inspection process.

Customer Void Inspectors received basic training and were provided with a handbook, risk assessment, inspection checklist prior to the inspection dates of 1 and 2 December 2021. Over two days, seven properties were inspected and their findings were reported back to the Voids and Neighbourhood teams. A further meeting will be held to discuss our customer recommendations.

This scheme will be developed over the coming months and we would love more of your to get involved and share your views on our void standard.

FCHO Neighbourhood Champions

Our Neighbourhood Champions carry out quarterly neighbourhood inspections and report back on the condition of their neighbourhood including grounds maintenance, communal area cleaning, litter and flytipping.

  • 24 customers took part in the October inspections

Following the launch of the waste working group, we aim to increase the number of Neighbourhood Champions and encourage them to become involved in working with the group.

FCHO Funding Awards

Our Stronger Communities team supports community and voluntary groups in Oldham with a number of funding streams.

  • ROCA (Respect Our Community Awards)

    From our 2021 round of ROCA grant applications, four are in monitoring or evaluation stage. Plans to re-launch ROCA for 2022 with a slightly different process (have targeted funding windows but submissions accepted all year round) in pipeline.

    Community funds

    Two community engagement innovations delivered (graphic facilitation – West Street, and engagement through community interests – West Street)

    Funding and Partnership Development

    19 currently active community partnerships/proposals in development for external funding opportunities.

    Five community partners signposted to external funding opportunities in Dec 2021 (since we obtained a license to use 'Grant Finder').

    Locality Plans

    Active involvement in two Oldham Locality Plans (One Glodwick/Big Local).

    Community/Place Based Research

    Three community/place research initiatives planned in reporting period (Barker Street, Alt, Sholver & Moorside).

Community Groups/Networks

Our Stronger Communities team is involved in multiple community partnerships and networks. It supports community groups with activities like grant funding applications outside of ROCA and our community awards.

  • We are currently working on the reopening of our community centres, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and have held launch events to re-open three centres so far. We have also hosted consultation events with local residents to enhance the services that the centres offer to the local public.
  • We are looking forward to reopening three more community centres in January 2022

West Vale redevelopment

West Vale is our project set to transform the area where Crossbank House and Summervale House currently stand and build 88 high quality, new homes to help meet local housing need. We are working with local people and organisations for the benefit of the community as the West Vale project progresses.

  • A further consultation has been planned for 27 January 2022 to gain feedback from residents on the proposed regeneration of the area
  • Digital Historians project RaFFT launched in December with an online meeting featuring a reading from the Oldham Coliseum and a presentation of the history of the area around West Street. We welcomed 16 people to the event which led to the first of many residents coming forward to share memories and stories of the area.

You said, we did

During this quarter we asked customers to review our Sustainability Strategy. They told us they would like a simplified PDF accessible to customers which has been actioned.

Here’s some of the things customers told us …

"Being involved with FCHO means I can give my honest opinions on the different services FCHO offers and help improve them for the better for fellow tenants.’’ - Ghzalh

"Recently we see a positive change in some areas of FCHO (as a result of our feedback). So if FCHO continue to involve us in decisions and use our feedback to shape their service to benefit tenants - we believe our feedback will have made a huge difference to FCHO in three years and they’ll be a better, more customer-focused landlord.’’ – Jessica Rigby and Kendall Rhodes

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Get involved with our Stronger Communities team

If you would like to get involved with our Stronger Communities team, please get in touch.

Telephone: 0161 393 7117