My name is Jo Alphous and I am the Chair of the resident Scrutiny Panel.
Panel members are all Swan residents and we scrutinise Swan’s performance. We meet every two months and we look, in detail, at how Swan are performing, how they make sure they get value for money and at a service area.
The first area we looked at was how accessible Swan’s complaints process is. We chose this as we feel it is important that Swan receives feedback from residents to improve services.
How did we go about it?
We scrutinised reports, leaflets and the websites
We contacted fellow residents to ask their views
We interviewed staff
We ‘mystery shopped’ staff
We ‘shadowed’ the complaints team for a day to see how they logged complaints, how investigations happened and what they did with the results
What did we find?
Overall, we thought Swan handles complaints well; we found that the Service Improvement Team are very helpful and knowledgeable and that performance is monitored monthly through a comprehensive report.
We found some areas for improvement…
We found that there are lots of ways to make a complaint: by email, phone, in person etc. However, all the literature focused on customer “feedback” and we thought that it would be easier for residents if complaints were called complaints.
Swan have changed their website so that any search using the word ‘complaint’ will direct residents to the necessary information
We found that about 70% of complaints are about repairs and we thought that the systems between Swan and Axis could be improved.
Swan confirmed that when you make a complaint they will let you know who will be investigating and resolving the problem
Swan aim to respond to 50% of complaints within 24 hours
We found that not all staff defined a complaint in the same way and when we talked to residents some felt they had made a complaint when staff thought they were requesting a service.
Swan will train staff on what is and what is not a complaint
Swan will ensure that staff record all service requests to make sure these are dealt with
We found that Swan could provide more information to residents about how they learn from complaints.
In each edition of The Communicator Swan will:
Set out more detailed information on complaints received
Set out what Swan has learned
Show how complaints are helping Swan to improve the service for residents
As a panel we are delighted that Swan has taken our feedback on board. We will continue to monitor the improvements and, in about six months’ time, we will test if these actions have made a difference! We look forward to giving you an update then.
In the meantime, we are about to start our next review. As we hope you can see from this article, the Scrutiny Panel really does make a difference. If you are interested in joining us, please contact the Resident Involvement Team on 01277 844242.
Would you like to give something back to your community?
We’re looking for people from Romford, Hornchurch, Chadwell Heath and Poplar to join the London Residents’ Consultative Committee (RCC). RCC Members are an important part of Swan’s Governance structure and members play a key role shaping the services Swan offers residents.
If you would like to find out more give the Resident Involvement Team a call on 01277 844242.
Members of the hardworking Churchview RA in Basildon recently held their AGM where they thanked Community Development Officer Terry Webb for his continued support for their annual work plan.
During the past twelve months, Swan have donated just over £1,000 in Community Grants and Communal Grants to help fund community events on the Churchview estate.
Linda Cameron, Chair of the Churchview RA, reported that the money donated by Swan helped to fund five community events, all of which were attended by up to 100 people. The RA has a big focus on raising money for charities and has already donated just over £500 to worthy causes this year through events that brought the community together.
The Resident Involvement Team actively supports residents who want to set up a Residents’ Association on their estate or neighbourhood. For more information call 01277 844242.