Inside your Link
• Join the Link editorial panel
• New service standards
• Conversations with Viridian
• We are Viridian
• Green lights
• London head office move
• Tenancy variation reminder
• LGBT history month
Greening Viridian 8
• Cavity insulation programme
• Green awards
• Green strategy
Resident involvement 10
• Co-regulation update
• Viridian community grants
• The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
• East Midlands scrutiny panel
• West Sussex scrutiny panel
Around the houses 13
• West Sussex
Spotlight on services 17
How are we doing? 22
In the last edition of Link you should have
received a copy of our rent calendar. We
wish to apologise for an error that occurred
in the design and printing stage which
meant St George’s Day was not printed in
the calendar. This was in no way intentional
and we would like to apologise to anyone
who may feel offended by this oversight. St
George’s Day is 23 April every year and is a
day to celebrate English heritage, if you are
planning on holding an event to celebrate
this day we would love to hear about it, so
get in touch.
London & South East
Housing 0330 123 0220
Minicom 0330 123 0221
Repairs 0330 123 0220
Housing 0121 444 6666
Repairs 0330 123 0220
Housing 01604 745 100
Repairs 0330 123 0220
Housing 01903 734 339
Repairs 0845 602 4286
Link magazine enquiries
Phone: 0330 123 0220
Printed on Evolution Satin 75% recycled paper.
Manufactured using 65% de-inked post consumer waste,
30% mixed waste and 5% mill broke. The paper is produced
without the use of chlorine.
2 Link Spring 2011
Be part of your magazine – join Link
It is important to us that Link is informative, educational and an all round good read
for our residents. We are currently recruiting new volunteers to be part of our editorial
committee. You don’t need any experience, and you can participate by either coming
to our London office or via email.
If you are interested in being part of the committee and having a say in how your
magazine is put together, then please contact us on 020 8307 7996 or email the
communications team on firstname.lastname@example.org
New service standards –
Over the last few months, residents have
been voting for the service standards they
want Viridian to report on. The list below is
the top ten selected and approved by the
National Residents Forum (NRF), scrutiny
panels and resident service inspectors.
These service standards will come into
force from 1 April 2011, with the first report
for Quarter 1 2011/12 (April to June 2011)
available on the website in July and printed
in the next edition of Link. The service
1. We will answer 80% of your telephone
calls within five rings (20 seconds)
2. We will return 90% of your telephone
calls within 48 hours if you have left us
3. We will send a written response to 90%
of your letters, faxes or emails within 10
4. We will greet you within five minutes of
your arrival at our offices
5. If you have an appointment at our
offices, we will not keep you waiting for
more than 10 minutes
6. We will write to everyone on the transfer
list at least once each year to check
they wish to remain on it and their details
are up to date
7. We will review your rent and service
charge every year giving you adequate
notice of any changes, and will consult
with you on the services which make up
your service charge
8. We will carry out 100% of emergency
repairs within 24 hours, ensuring they are
left safe and secure
9. We will respond to 90% of new reports
of domestic violence, hate-based
harassment and violent behaviour within
one working day
10. We will acknowledge receipt of 97% of
complaints within three working days
If at any time you feel that we are not
meeting any of these standards, please
contact our customer services centre on
0330 123 0220 and let us know where we
have gone wrong.
Link Spring 2011
In the winter edition of
Link we told you about
the key findings of the
conversations we had
with over 1,180 residents
to find out how services
should be delivered
locally. We have
been working hard to
turn your feedback
to make sure we get
things right or make
a difference to you.
are known as local
offers, and can now be
viewed on our website
org.uk. If you would like
us to send you a copy
of your local offers,
please contact the
customer service centre
on 0330 123 0220.
We will be consulting
with residents again over
the summer to make
sure the local offers
are still relevant, and
to begin to understand
what your priorities will
be for 2012. Thank you
to everyone who has
taken part so far, and
we look forward to
meeting you again over
4 Link Spring 2011
We are Viridian!
As you may be aware, Viridian has traditionally provided its
repairs and maintenance service through Viridian Facilities
As part of our ongoing efficiency drive, we made the
decision to bring this service ‘in house’ so that it forms part
of the main organisation with our other key service delivery
We are forming a property directorate which will be
responsible for maintaining our homes, improving them and
planning for their long term future. This new directorate will
also be responsible for the new homes we build. In doing
this, we will further ensure that the homes we build are as
easy to maintain as possible and meet the highest possible
The service you receive whilst we undertake this change
will not be affected, and you will receive a seamless service.
There are no cost implications to residents and we hope that
you will see the benefits in the years to come.
We expect that the major parts of this transfer will have been
completed by July and we will keep you updated through
Link and your resident involvement panels.
As with all our major decisions, we have involved residents
and listened to your feedback. The National Residents
Forum and various resident panel members are supportive
of this decision.
If you would like more information about this change
or would like to talk to us about it, please contact
Ben Atkins on 0330 123 0220 or by email on
Green lights for Viridian
The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) published its Viability Report on Viridian
and we are delighted to say that they have increased our rating to
the highest grade possible, a full green traffic light. This is a tremendous
achievement for Viridian and our residents at a time when the TSA has
continued concerns for the housing sector in the difficult economic climate.
There are four gradings used by the TSA, full green, light green, amber and
red. We moved from amber to light green in July 2009. We have achieved
our new full green light by getting our finances right over the last three years
and making sure that our budgets and long term financial plans are realistic.
London head office move
Our Aura House office in Balham and Estra House office
in Streatham are moving to Colwell House in Clapham.
From Friday 13 May 2011 Aura House will be closed to
the general public, the new address is: Colwell house,
376 Clapham Road, London, SW9 9AR.
The office will be open as of Tuesday 17 May 2011 from
8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Our customer service phone number and opening
hours have not changed. Please call us on 0330 123
0220 Monday to Friday from 8am – 6pm. For emergency
repairs that are a safety issue, please call 0330 123 0220 outside our normal hours.
There will be limited phone service on Friday 13 May and Monday 16 May. We are sorry for any
The nearest tube stops are Clapham North on the Northern line and Stockwell on the
Victoria line. More public transport information and a map can be found on our website
www.viridianhousing.org.uk by clicking on ‘contact us’.
Time to sign and return your tenancy variation
A reminder for those residents who haven’t already signed and returned their new
agreements, you should do so now. In brief, some of your rights have changed but
services will stay exactly the same. There are better clauses to protect you from antisocial
behaviour from others, and we encourage you to sign it.
If you would like more information about what rights specifically have changed contact
your housing officer or our customer services centre on 0330 123 0220. You will have
been provided with two copies, make sure you read them, sign both, and then send
ONE back to us in the pre-paid envelope.
Link Spring 2011
AMRAG needs you!
The Asset Management Residents Advisory Group (AMRAG) is looking to recruit a minimum
of three new resident members. The group is keen to expand its membership in order to
establish a number of sub-groups to assist employees in the following areas of work:
• responsive maintenance/mechanical and electrical business improvement
• major works business improvement
• resident testing panel.
The group meets every two months with meetings normally held at the Balham office
(and will move to the new Clapham office) starting at 6.30pm. Should the group
be successful in establishing the above sub-groups, resident members will also be
expected to take part in other meetings from time to time. We pay for normal travel and
If you are interested in becoming a member of AMRAG please send Tony Clark,
director of asset strategy and planning a brief expression of interest.
Post: Viridian Housing, Kings Heath Office, 41 Poplar Road, Birmingham B14 7AA
Telephone: 0121 441 6013 if you have any questions
Please be aware that we have recently received an e-mail from a resident saying
that a Viridian employee had contacted them through Facebook. The message
said that they wished to talk to the resident about a late relative, and they were the
only one contactable.
We would like to make all residents aware that Facebook is not our usual method
of communicating with residents on matters like the above. We believe this to
be a possible scam e-mail. Please just delete any such emails and report to us
immediately if you receive anything similar and we will try to investigate it. Please
call the customer service centre on 0330 123 0220 to report any similar incidents.
6 Link Spring 2011
Viridian celebrates LGBT
(Lesbian Gay Bisexual
Transgender) history month
LGBT history month takes place every year
in February and celebrates the lives and
achievements of the LGBT community. All over
the country different events were held. Both
residents and employees celebrated, as part
of raising awareness of equality and diversity
At one London event a group of employees
and residents celebrated by joining together
for tea and cakes and to listen to guest
speaker Sue Sanders, chair of LGBT history
month UK. Sue was impressed by the event
and commended us for our efforts saying:
“I was delighted to attend events with
Viridian employees to celebrate LGBT
history month. Getting safe housing
is not easy for anyone, when you are
a member of the lesbian gay bisexual
transgender community it can be very
hard. Homophobic hate crime is rife so swift
action needs to be taken to make LGBT
people safe. It was great to meet so many
enthusiastic staff and I trust that they will
transmit that into good practice.”
Link Spring 2011
Cavity insulation programme
You may remember from a previous Link that we had won a grant of more than £1m to fit
cavity insulation to our homes. This grant was from the Homes and Communities Agency,
and part of its £84m Social Housing Energy Saving Programme.
We have been working with a number of contractors over the last six months to
complete this work in all our regions. We can now confirm that we have fitted cavity
insulation to over 1,100 homes.
This work will allow residents to save money on heating bills, and make their homes
warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. This work also helps reduce fuel poverty for
residents. Fuel poverty is when home occupiers spend more than 10% of their income on
heating their home. Reducing fuel poverty for our residents is a key priority for us within
our housing energy strategy.
We are proud to announce that we have been awarded a bronze
award from the Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow (SHIFT).
A SHIFT assessment focuses on four criteria – strategy and management,
offices, existing stock and new build. We will continue to develop our
green credentials and be more energy efficient in how we work. Our
ambition is to go for the top award of gold in the coming years.
If you are interested in finding out more information on SHIFT you can visit their
website www.sustainablehomes.co.uk/sustainablehomesindex or contact
our environmental manager on the contact details on page 9.
8 Link Spring 2011
Green strategy launched
We manage a wide variety of homes
and accommodation and are conscious
that quality of life comes from more than
bricks and mortar. Effective environmental
management – in other words, being green
– plays an important part in what we do and
our residents lives.
In order for us to be green and move
forward our green agenda, we have
been asking residents and other key
stakeholders to identify priorities. From these
conversations we have established our
priorities to be:
• increasing your spending money despite
high utility bills – with the cost of energy
and water set to double over the next
five years, it is essential that we build new
properties that are energy efficient and,
where possible, we make our existing
properties more efficient
• effectively managing resources – we
will, where possible, reduce unnecessary
waste by using recycled products,
providing recycling facilities and
encouraging employees and residents
to use them. We will also promote the
efficient use of water in all the buildings
we construct, own or manage.
Through the green strategy we will set
targets to achieve these green ambitions
across the whole organisation in the
following key areas:
• Energy/carbon management (housing
and office stock)
• Water management (housing and office
• Waste management and recycling
• Sustainable procurement/resources
• Adaptation to the effects of climate
If you want to find out how to be greener in your home and to see other ways we are
tackling green issues visit www.viridianhousing.org.uk/getting-involved/greenviridian
If you have any questions about the articles on the Greening Viridian pages
please contact Geoff McDonnell, Environment manager by email
email@example.com or phone 01604 745 136.
Link Spring 2011
– residents summit
We have been working hard with residents
to set up our new co-regulation framework.
The aim is to make sure we listen to
resident views about how well we deliver
services to you, make the changes you
want to improve services, and provide an
opportunity for residents and employees
to talk about how to resolve any ongoing
In February we held our first residents summit
to look at how we can make co-regulation
work. We invited everyone who has been
active over the last year in our key resident
groups. Residents from around the country
and from the different types of housing we
provide took part. The meeting was chaired
by Shaun Lansfield from the National Residents
Forum and the following was agreed.
The key groups for co-regulation will be the
regional scrutiny panels, these will report to
the National Residents Forum every three
months about how well Viridian is delivering
services in their region. The National Forum
will discuss this feedback with senior
employees and then report to the Viridian
If there are any serious concerns about
services these will be monitored and
employees will be required to provide a
date these will be resolved and a plan as
to how the service will be improved.
To help make this work we would like more
residents to take part in the regional scrutiny
panels alongside the existing members. The
panels meet every three months to look
at what’s happening in your local area. To
make sure they are successful Viridian has
made the following commitments to support
the panels work:
• We will provide training and support for
everyone who takes part
• We make sure that the right employees
who have the authority to resolve issues
attend the meetings
• We will keep a record of all the issues you
raise and provide feedback by an agreed
• We will provide feedback about the
meetings to all residents in Link and on our
• We will make the meetings accessible and
pay expenses of residents who attend
We see this as a very important part of
getting our services right and meeting your
needs. We need to work with you to make
Interested in joining the scrutiny panel?
Contact Robert Cooper, Resident involvement manager
Telephone: 0330 123 0220 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Link Spring 2011
Viridian community grants
We are happy to announce Viridian is launching a community grants scheme. The aim is
to provide the opportunity for residents and local communities to improve their quality of
life through local action and activities, and to encourage and support existing initiatives.
We could give grants for the following sorts of things:
• A social event that brings you and your neighbours together
• A workshop or sporting activity for young people and children
• A recycling or gardening project that improves your estate or scheme
• Equipment for your local community group
These are just some suggestions but we expect the real creativity to come from you, so
let’s hear your ideas. Grants will be up to £2000 but a typical amount would be £500.
To apply all we need to know is your idea, how it will improve the quality of life for
you and your neighbours, how much you want and what you will spend it on. Grants
will be at the discretion of the Grants steering group who meet every three months.
Application forms are on our website (under ‘Getting involved’ and ‘Resident
involvement’). For help and to talk about your idea please contact the resident
involvement team, contact details on page 12.
Stand out amongst the crowd
Would you like to make a difference and be
noticed for your achievements?
We are proud to announce that we will be delivering the
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) for young people ages
14 to 24. The aim of the DofE is to provide an enjoyable,
challenging and rewarding programme of personal
development for young people. The programme is divided
into three levels; bronze, silver and gold, and participants
take part in four sections; skill, volunteering, physical and
expedition. All young people who complete the programme
are guaranteed an expedition in Europe. All gold level
participants must also complete an additional residential
section. The DofE is highly regarded by schools, universities
Get in contact
To take part in this amazing programme contact DB Crawford on 0330 123 0220
or mobile/text 07903 847 004 or email: email@example.com.
Link Spring 2011
The main role of the scrutiny panel is to
assess performance and question where it
has dipped. The East Midlands panel has
some long standing members who always
give Viridian valuable insight into how well
we are performing.
At the last meeting the panel discussed in
depth the reinvestment works taking place at
some of our properties in Milton Keynes and
Northampton. The scrutiny panel members
came up with the idea of showing residents
what work is going to be carried out for the
window replacement scheme at Bedford
Mansions in Northampton. This helped the
residents at this scheme see what work
would be carried out and have a better
understanding about what is involved.
The East Midlands panel is very keen to hear
from other residents who might be interested
in joining the panel. The panel agreed that
new members were needed and said “This
is your chance to come and see that your
rent money is being spent efficiently and
appropriately. This is your opportunity to come
and influence how Viridian performs for you.”
Interested in joining?
We need new members for the East
Midlands panel, and would particularly like
to hear from residents in the Milton Keynes,
Northampton and East Northamptonshire
areas. Please contact the resident
involvement team on the contact details
below to find out more.
Six members of the West Sussex scrutiny
panel met in Littlehampton on the 15
February; Steve Sandell, Christine Worsley,
David Worsley, Wynn Woon, Shirley Woon
and Frances Rainey. Steve Sandell, our
resident chair was keen that we invite local
speakers to come along, as it helps to
keep the meeting interesting for all those
This time Heather Grant, a consultant
working with Arun District Council, came
along and gave a short presentation
followed by a discussion on proposed
changes to Arun’s allocation policy.
Everyone agreed that they found it
informative, and as a result of the
consultant’s attendance, Steve Sandell and
Frances Rainey were invited to attend a
local focus group to discuss the changes in
more detail. All feedback will be taken into
account before the final policy is drafted.
The panel also looked closely at local
performance information on our core
services including; ASB, rent arrears, lettings,
repairs and planned maintenance. The
panel was happy with the performance
achieved in the region over the last quarter,
with the teams exceeding targets in all
For more information about any of these stories in the resident involvement section
contact the RICE team
Phone – 0330 123 0220
Email – RICE team:
– National Resident Forum members:
Write – Viridian Housing, Aura House,
53 Oldridge Road, London,
Web – viridianhousing.org.uk/involved
12 Link Spring 2011
Around the houses
Working together to improve
properties and communities
Late in 2010 we secured the possession of a house on Woodlands Road in Birmingham
following years of anti-social behaviour by the former resident who had been violent and
racially abusive to her neighbours. Not only had the resident abused her neighbours, she
had also vandalised the property. When we finally regained possession the real work began.
We had to repair the property and try and bring the community back together so residents
could enjoy living in their neighbourhood again.
After we regained possession of the property, an inspection revealed damage amounting
to £15,000. The tenant and her sons had vandalised the inside of the property by punching
holes in walls and ripping out fixtures and fittings.
Our maintenance team had a major job on their hands to
get the property ready to re-let to the next resident. All of the
properties on this road have recently had
new boilers fitted and will also have
new kitchens fitted in 2011/2012 under
the asset management reinvestment
programme. New metal front fencing
has also been erected to improve the
appearance of the front gardens.
At the same time housing officers have
identified the area as being suitable to
develop an estate action plan. We first
need to appoint estate representatives
for the area who will act as the link
between residents and Viridian. Then we
will be able to move forward with the
estate action plan.
Link Spring 2011
Around the houses
Reinvestment continues at a good pace
We are making good progress to carry out improvement works to our general needs
properties in the Midlands to ensure our residents enjoy living in properties maintained to
a good standard.
In 2010/11 the following works have been carried out:
Windows and doors
0 20 40 60 80 100
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
0 3 6 9 12 15
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Pictured: Pam Khan in her newly
Fighting against anti-social behaviour
Over the past nine years one Birmingham resident had been causing major anti-social
behavior towards their neighbours. Usual measures did not seem to work with the
resident and we had no other choice but to take legal action against them. In total
we had to issue the following; four injunctions, two powers of arrest, one exclusion
order and three claims for possession, one of which resulted in a suspended possession
order which became a landmark case in the legal world. However after significant
negotiations, the most recent possession claim was settled when the resident gave us
a notice to quit and ended her own tenancy.
This not only saved the 27 witnesses from giving evidence but saved Viridian significant
amounts of money in legal costs. The claim was dealt with using our in-house legal
team. The legal department considered this to be the largest and the longest antisocial
behaviour case it had dealt with and is really pleased with the outcome. The
defendant’s neighbours said: “I feel like I can have my life back again” and “thanks to
Viridian, my faith in justice has been restored.”
14 Link Spring 2011
Around the houses
Are you a Viridian resident
in West Sussex?
Are you currently looking
for a job in construction?
If you answered yes to both these questions then
we may be able to help you. We recently started
developing some new houses on Clun Road in
Littlehampton. The contractors are looking for local
people to work on the site, all construction jobs for the
development will be advertised on site as well as the
Viridian website. If you are interested in getting
some onsite construction experience, then keep
an eye out for the adverts, which will appear on
www.viridianhousing.org.uk/jobs. If you do not
have internet access, have a chat with your housing
officer and they will make sure that you receive
notifications of any jobs that become available.
Contact details for the West Sussex office can be
found in the front of this newsletter.
Calling all football players in the Littlehampton area
We have teamed up with Brighton & Hove
Albion in the Community and are running
a football club at the Littlehampton Sports
Field, St Flora’s Road, every Wednesday
morning for male youths aged 16+ who
are not employed, looking to get back
into football, or interested in sportsrelated
qualifications which could lead to
The sessions will help you get fit and build
self-esteem. You will also be encouraged
to sign-up for a variety of courses so you
can gain qualifications. First up will be a
Community Sports Leaders Award course.
Following this award you will be signed up
for a Personal Best course. The Personal Best
course Elizabeth is for Prout adults Gardens who lunch are afternoon 19+ years old
who are currently out of work and looking
to gain employment. The course looks at
a number of areas and is based around
becoming a volunteer for the London 2012
In addition, every participant is given an
Albion Goals Passport as an incentive. Each
attendance means a stamp in the passport,
each stamp is a way of earning prizes, for
example match tickets or an Albion kit.
Want to join?
Contact the West Sussex office on
01903 734 339
Link Spring 2011
Around the houses
Residents at the meal with Julie King and Pauline Sheppard, scheme manager standing at the back, and
Christine Shepherd from Waste Watch on the far right.
You are what you eat
The residents at Palladino House have
been taking part in a series of interactive
workshops focusing on society’s changing
relationship with food. The workshops
came about by our partnership with the
environmental charity, Waste Watch.
The workshops have included talking
about how our attitudes have changed
about food since World War II to now. A
‘supermarket sweep’ of local markets and
shops was followed by food tasting and
discussion, as well as making orange curd.
The project ended with a celebratory meal
of home cooked food supplied by the
residents. This has been a very interesting
project and has been a great opportunity
for our elderly residents to look at our
attitudes to food and learn more about the
value of food.
Palladino residents making orange curd
in the communal lounge
16 Link Spring 2011
Moving to a smaller home is worth it
We have an under occupation scheme
available to those residents that live in a
property that is too big for them due to family
changes. You may be eligible to move under
this scheme if; you are finding your home
too costly to run and difficult to manage,
the number of people in your household has
reduced because children have left home,
or you want to move to a different location
to be nearer to family or work.
We understand that moving home may feel
like a very daunting task but we are here to
help if you choose to move home under this
scheme. If you agree to move to a smaller
property, we will:
• Give you additional priority on the transfer list
• Offer £1000 where one bedroom is given up
• Offer £2,000 where two or more bedrooms
are given up
• Arrange for removals to be complete by a
Viridian contractor, or give you up to £500
towards the cost of removals
• Help with redecoration, redirecting post
and reconnecting utilities and appliances
such as cookers and washing machines
Please note: the above incentives are only
available for under occupiers and not
Does this scheme sound like something
you could benefit from?
To apply for a smaller property please
contact your local office and have
a chat with your housing officer. All
contact details can be found on page
2 of Link magazine.
Link Spring 2011
If you need to move home due to
a growing family or changes in your
circumstances then you might want to
consider exchanging your home with
another Viridian resident or a resident from
another housing association or council
anywhere in England or Wales. Under the
mutual exchange scheme you can do
just that, to register for a mutual exchange
please visit www.homeswapper.co.uk. You
can also contact your local office to get
further information about homeswapper.
Housing waiting list review
In order for Viridian to keep up to date
records, a review form for our home seekers
was sent out in December 2010.
The reasons for the review include:
• Making sure we have an accurate list of
the number of home seekers waiting for
• Making sure that the details held on home
seekers and their current priority on the
waiting list reflects their current housing
and medical needs
• Making sure that our waiting list allows
us to support our policy of providing
properties to those who need them most
and making best use of our stock
• To create efficiencies by minimising the
number of offers made to home seekers
who no longer wish to move
• To provide clarity on the level of detail
that needs to be added to each home
seeker’s application on our database
The review covered all applications
for family accommodation and
accommodation for older persons, residents
requiring a smaller or larger property (due
to family changes), applications for nontenants
for accommodation where we have
open waiting lists and internal and external
requests for retirement accommodation.
A deadline for responding to this request
was January 2011 however if you have not
received a form or have any additional
questions please contact your local office.
18 Link Spring 2011
Suspect a housing cheat?
You maybe eligible for a £250 reward
We are committed to being fair when it comes to housing
and re-housing people and we stick to the rules. We need
your help to identify and deal with those who are occupying
a Viridian property without our agreement.
We have set up a dedicated anonymous telephone
answering service for any tenants who are suspicious that a
Viridian property near them is being occupied unlawfully.
Your help is so valuable to us that we are offering up to £250
reward for information that helps us to recover a home as
part of tenancy fraud.
Tenancy fraud can involve:
• Subletting whole or part of the property
• Failing to notify us when the legal tenant moves out or passes away
• Key selling - where the tenant moves out and sells the keys for a one-off payment or favour
• The legal tenant not occupying the property as their principal home
If you suspect anything unusual, please call or text:
0330 123 0220 or 07540 122 767
email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can complete the form below. You don’t have to tell us your name but if you would like
to be considered for the £250 reward then please fill in your contact details.
All information received will be treated in confidence
I believe that the property below is being sublet.
Optional: I am willing to give you my contact details and would like to be considered for a
reward if you are able to recover this property
Return this form to: Daniel Heavey, FREEPOST RRUZ-UXRE-AUCE, Viridian Housing, London, SW12 8PP.
Link Spring 2011
Joining forces with a
local community forum
We recently joined forces with the newly
formed Wandsworth Council’s Hate Crime
Forum to better deal with hate crimes. The
forum is made up of agencies (such of the
police and the council) and community
groups (such as Balham Mosque and
Wandsworth Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay and
Transgender Forum). The group has come
together to discuss the incidence of
hate crimes in Wandsworth borough and
identify ways to deal with them better, as
well as prevent them. At the last meeting
discussions included the harassment of the
Muslim Ahmadiyya community.
The forum also discussed ways in which
residents could report hate crimes other
than directly to the police. We offered our
offices as a place to receive reports of hate
crimes (these are known as ‘third party
reporting’ sites). Attending the forum also
helps us get a better service from other
organisations for our residents when they
report hate crimes.
Wandsworth residents can report hate
crimes to a national 24 hour phone helpline
run by Stop Hate UK. Stop Hate UK will
take details of incidents and will offer
ongoing support. Callers can also remain
Contact Stop Hate UK
Telephone: 0800 138 1625
Supporting victims of
We successfully obtained a court order
called an anti-social behaviour injunction
against a Wandsworth resident who started
harassing his neighbours as soon as he
was released from prison after a racially
aggravated assault on them. We acted
immediately by arranging emergency
accommodation for the victims whilst
we monitored the police response to the
incident. When the police advised that
they were unable to arrest the perpetrator,
we applied to the court and obtained an
emergency anti-social behaviour injunction.
The perpetrator was ordered not to threaten
or harass or cause noise nuisance to his
neighbours. The injunction has ‘a power
of arrest’ attached to it which means that
if the perpetrator breaches the order he
could be arrested and imprisoned. We had
tried to exclude him from his home but the
judge was not prepared to give us an order
To support the victims we accompanied
them throughout the court process and kept
in daily contact with them. The victims were
very concerned to return home. We were
also concerned how the perpetrator would
react to receiving the order so we arranged
for an out-of-hours support service. The
residents were able to call out the service to
attend to any incident throughout the night.
The residents found this very reassuring.
We are currently closely monitoring the
situation for any incidents that could mean
the court order is breached and have
started action to evict the perpetrator.
20 Link Spring 2011
Problems with your neighbours?
Don’t wait till breaking point before you tell us!
When people think about anti-social behaviour (ASB) often drug dealing and ASB
orders spring to mind. Whilst some of the work of our ASB service involves obtaining
court orders and dealing with serious crime we do so much more. Most of our work
involves taking action without the need for court orders. Whatever your concerns about
ASB we are keen to hear from you and offer assistance.
A confidential chat
Sometimes people put up with problems for
a long time before contacting us. If you are
experiencing ASB it’s important that you tell
us as soon as possible. The earlier we hear
about ASB the sooner we are able to deal
with it and stop things from getting worse.
Our officers have lots of experience with
dealing with residents affected by ASB. We
take your concerns seriously and discuss
what can be done with you. We only take
action we have agreed with you. When you
first contact us we agree an action plan on
what we do next. You will be sent a copy of
the action plan to refer to.
Early action gets results
Research has shown that early action by
the landlord is enough to stop the ASB in
over three quarters of all ASB cases. Often
the action of an officer investigating ASB or
issuing a warning letter is enough to stop the
ASB. If it isn’t, we’ll take more serious action.
Where an officer obtains evidence of ASB
they will agree further action with their line
manager to decide what is considered fair
but sufficient to stop the ASB.
At the end of the ASB case we use an
external organisation to get residents’ views
on how well we handled their case through
phone surveys. The survey results allow us to
compare the performance of the service
and identify ways we can improve.
Ways to report ASB
Face to face
You can report anti-social behaviour
in person at any of our offices. If you
prefer we can visit you in your home.
We can take your report over the
phone by calling 0330 123 0220
You can report ASB at
Link Spring 2011
How are we doing?
The performance areas
covered in this edition are:
• Anti-social behaviour
• Repairs and
• Customer feedback
• Informal complaints
• Service standards
Number of anti-social behaviour (ASB) cases closed between April 2010 and December 2010
Cases resolved at closure Cases unresolved at closure
Number Percentage Number Percentage
East Midlands 27 9% 17 16%
West Midlands 48 16% 2 2%
North London 46 15% 7 6%
South London 141 46% 35 33%
West Sussex 44 14% 46 43%
Total 306 107
Jargon buster - Resolved means we have taken action on an ASB case and we are satisfied
that the ASB has stopped, we then close the case and categorise these cases as resolved.
Unresolved means we have investigated reports of ASB and either could not prove the ASB
occurred or do not consider the reported issues to be ASB. Or where we cannot take any
further action due to lack of contact from the person complaining. We then close the case
and categorise it as unresolved.
Repairs and maintenance
Repairs completed in target
Quarter 1 (Jun-10) Quarter 2 (Sep-10) Quarter 3 (Dec-10)
We benchmarked our quarterly performance against housing associations of a similar size.
This is how we compare.
Housing association Emergency repairs Urgent repairs Routine repairs
Top performer 99.7% 99.6% 99.6%
Viridian Housing 87.4% 93.6% 91.8%
Bottom performer 87.4% 93.6% 91.8%
The failure of a scheduling system we were using last year led to a sharp fall in performance
in our repairs service. The system has been replaced, we have a new manager for our
repairs service, and we have reorganised our teams with the aim of achieving all our repairs
in target and to a satisfactory standard.
If you wish to report a repair please call us on 0330 123 0220, or 01903 734339 if you live in
West Sussex. Or visit our website: www.viridianhousing.org.uk.
22 Link Spring 2011
How are we doing?
Here’s what you told us… Source Here’s what we did…
Carry out post-event surveys to fully
understand what residents do and do
not enjoy about attending events and
make changes from suggestions.
Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents
are less satisfied with the value for
money they are getting from their rent.
Customer service employees should
listen to a sample of their calls with their
team leaders to understand how they
sound to the caller.
Make it easier to make a complaint
This has now been introduced as a
standard at all events.
A BME focus group has been set up to
engage with us and offer advice on
issues that affect all our BME residents.
Team leaders now listen to five calls
with employees each month and
arrange further coaching or training
A 'Make a complaint' link has been
added to both the home page and
contact us page.
If you would like to get involved in shaping our services, please contact the RICE team on
0330 123 0220.
We started recording informal complaints in July 2010, following the recommendations from
the Audit Commission Short Notice Inspection. An informal complaint is a complaint that
we can resolve for you immediately, without the need for a formal investigation. We record
these informal complaints to learn where we can improve our services.
Since then, we have received 171 informal complaints. Of these complaints, 24 (14%)
progressed to formal complaints requiring investigation by a manager. The remaining 147
(86%) informal complaints were resolved at the first point of contact. This is because we do
not contact residents to resolve informal complaints. These complaint types are resolved
when residents call us up. Anything beyond this will enter the category of a formal complaint.
Breakdown of informal complaints
Anti-social behaviour 6
Commercial services 1
Estate services 3
Home ownership 5
Rent and service charges 1
Repairs and maintenance 115
Resident involvement 1
Staff and customer services 1
Supported housing 1
Tenancy management 20
Link Spring 2011
How are we doing?
We began capturing compliments in October 2010 and have received 26 compliments from
Repairs and maintenance 17
Staff and customer services 8
Allocations and lettings 1
If you wish to make a complaint or pay us a compliment, please call us on 0330 123 0220 or
visit our website.
Service standards for Quarter 3, 2010-11
We will always provide a named
officer and full contact details in our
We will give all new residents a
handbook at the beginning of their
tenancy with information on our
policies and procedures.
All new residents will be sent a
questionnaire within four to six
weeks of moving into their new
home to check how satisfied they
are with it and the lettings process.
We will send you an easy to read
rent statement every three months.
We will contact you within two
weeks of your rent account getting
behind to agree repayment of the
We will tell you when you report
a repair what priority it has been
given and the target time for
80% of complaint responses quality
checked included the correct
A random check showed that 100%
of new residents had signed the
checklist confirming receipt of their
The new lettings survey has been
outsourced and is now collected
on a sample basis by an external
10,722 rent statements were sent
out for the period October to
During 2010, 425 new agreements
to repay rent arrears were set up
compared to 246 in 2009.
49% or residents surveyed said
they were told what priority their
repair was, with 43% being told the
timescale for completion.
We will provide a 24-hour
emergency repair service every
day of the year.
87.4% of emergency repairs have
been completed on time so far
24 Link Spring 2011