A small in-house team with a big heart
The UK Housing Awards recognise and reward the very best in the UK housing sector. Over the next few months, organisations and individuals shortlisted for a UK Housing Award are giving an insight into their work and why they have been nominated. In this blog, Melissa O’Donnell, head of operations at Golden Lane Housing talks about the brave step they made to start delivering their own property repairs, earning them a place on the shortlist for the direct labour organisation of the year.
In 2015 Golden Lane Housing (GLH) was struggling to get the repairs service it wanted from the contractors it was working with. As a small housing charity for people with a learning disability with a dispersed stock of under 1000 properties in 150 local authority areas, we were not an attractive proposition to any contractor. Our tenant satisfaction for repairs was at an all-time low of 57% and jobs completed within our agreed timescales was at 59%.
GLH decided to take a brave step and start delivering our own property repairs.
Five years on, Resolve Solutions, our in-house team has 13 operatives positioned around England and Wales. They deliver an average of 200 reactive repairs a month as well as voids, planned and compliance jobs to support the GLH property function. Our customer satisfaction on repairs has increased to 98% with 97% of jobs completed within our agreed timescales, and 96% completed at first fix.
People with a learning disability are some of the most vulnerable in society. We understand that a reliable and friendly repairs service is essential to keep our tenants safe and happy in their homes.
Our team have had both Makaton and safeguarding training and are encouraged to spend time in the properties, they get to know the tenants in their regions and as a result build up trust between them.
Our tenants know our operatives by name as well as how they take their cups of tea! At Easter they take chocolate eggs out to properties they visit, at Christmas, our vans wore antlers for our ‘Vandeer selfie’ competition - the vans were stocked with chocolates and our operative’s sported Santa hats. Some of our tenants have got involved and joined members of the team out on the road for the day, and the team have given back by delivering a number of garden makeover projects for our tenants.
The Resolve Solutions team are truly inspirational in their approach. Ben, one of our operatives in the south, took his dog Dixie to visit tenants following a discussion with the support team who wanted to introduce animal therapy. Since her first outing, Dixie has become a Resolve Solutions mascot visiting several tenants and sporting a branded vest!
The team have won several industry awards in the last five years for our personalised approach, but the biggest award for us in the feedback we receive from our tenants.
What GLH tenants say:
“He was very nice, and I had a talk to him whil he was here. Always on time, polite and always does an excellent job.”
“Chris and Sean are very polite and keep the house nice and tidy and are always on time.”
“Window repaired now, bedroom resealed and good work. Wayne and Paul were helpful to me.”
“Brian is friendly and helpful and the service has definitely improved.”
“Gavin is fantastic: the tenants enjoy him coming round, and no job is too small for Gavin.”