When we shared our last quarterly report, we’d resumed most of our services but were restricting non-essential repairs within people’s homes. Our aim was to help reduce infections during the third lockdown by minimising our direct contact with you where we could.
Three months later, the national recovery is well underway and the roll out of vaccinations is continuing, but we know things are still very difficult for many people.
We’ve had another busy few months providing a range of services and support – and you can read more about our performance below.
But carrying out some services isn’t as easy as a year ago, so we want to be realistic with you about what this means for the next few months.
Social distancing and other safety precautions will continue. That means extra checks before repair jobs; more time to wipe down surfaces and change personal protective equipment between visits; fewer tradespeople working in a room or property: so much of our work will still take longer.
Less obviously, it means that recruiting and training our teams is slower – including key roles like our Customer Contact advisors who need to learn multiple systems to take calls, book appointments and answer enquiries. We’re sorry, as we know that this can mean a worse experience for you as customers.
We’re working hard to minimise this. The good news is that we’ve now reintroduced nearly all our services and are currently working through 1,000s of routine repairs postponed earlier this year.
To support this, we've also introduced twice-weekly Covid testing for employees who are visiting residents: an extra measure to help keep everyone safe.
Our plans are linked to the government’s ‘four steps’ so the next big change is from 17 May. As wider household mixing is allowed, we’ll start booking appointments for new non-urgent repairs and restart programmes like kitchen and bathroom refits. We’ll also allow more visitors and reopen communal areas at our housing for older people, supported and extra care schemes.
(You can visit these pages to find out more about all our support and services under Covid-19
When these services restart, we expect there’ll be a lot more calls and contacts from customers so please don’t be surprised if you have to wait longer when you ring us. And you may find that any repairs take longer too. (But don’t forget there are lots of action you can take on MySovereign as well.)
Thank you again for your continued patience and please stay safe.
Here are some highlights of our performance in January to March or see some other examples and detail in our short report.
Services and support
- We let 673 homes.
- We completed over 37,700 emergency and essential repairs, despite the third lockdown from early January which meant we haven’t been able to complete certain types of repairs or improvements as quickly as we’d like. You can read about our plans to restart remaining repairs here.
- Income teams continued to help and advise residents claiming Universal Credit: 246 cases.
- We supported 122 community organisations, 69 residents to get into work or better work, and another 202 with training. Other teams and specialist partners offered support and advice on a wide range of issues.
Role of residents
- Responding to the proposals in the housing white paper has been a key focus for our Resident and Board Partnership (RBP). They’re working with us to understand its recommendations and how we will respond.
- RBP members have also given a resident perspective on proposed developments and improvements to key service areas, such as tenancy management and lettings.
- The Scrutiny Coordination Group (SCG) has finished reviewing our community grants programme and made recommendations about how we can better promote this in our communities.
- The Youth Panel is a new voice for our younger residents. Its members have given their insight to several projects, including testing our new gas boiler ‘virtual assistant’.
- Six Sovereign residents were selected for the Housing Ombudsman’s new resident panel. They’ll join many others from around the country to discuss key areas of the Ombudsman’s work and help it develop its services.
- Our quarterly customer survey showed overall satisfaction slightly down at 79% but 81% for the year.
- Despite not being able to carry out routine repairs inside people’s homes, satisfaction with repairs was at 69% and satisfaction with your neighbourhood up slightly to 87%.
- The pandemic’s obviously had a major impact on some of our services at different points over the year. We really appreciate your support – and the extra efforts of our teams – to maintain these as far as possible.
Download the report
Click on the image to see the full report.
See the links below for other key pages on areas like building safety, how to make a complaint or give us feedback. The Residents – at the heart of business
section has the latest updates on how customers are influencing services.
It’s all part of being accountable, sharing more information and making sure we’re listening and acting on what you say. These are also key themes of our ‘Together with Tenants’ commitments and the government’s proposed ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’, so please get involved.